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How Organizations Can Overcome the Lack of Tech Talent

Organizations are turning to automation, citizen development, and skills intelligence to address the tech talent shortage.

Amit Saxena, ServiceNow

September 20, 2023

5 Min Read
IT professional working on laptop

Given the eye-watering number of layoffs across the tech sector in the past year, you may assume that companies are awash with excess technical talent.

In reality, things are more complicated. Despite the many job cuts we've seen, the demand for IT professionals is rapidly growing. In fact, IDC predicts a shortfall of four million developers by 2025, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows almost 200,000 developer jobs will need to be filled each year through the end of the decade. Further complicating matters is the reality of today's economy and market environment, which is pressing organizations to do more with less. The focus on developer productivity is more important than ever.

Recognizing these challenges, more organizations are investing in technology such as low-code, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), generative AI, and skills intelligence to address and grow their businesses while adjusting to a smaller, more streamlined workforce.  

Empowering Employees to Innovate via Low-Code Development

"Employees don't leave companies; they leave managers," goes the saying.

Not quite. It turns out that employees do in fact leave companies, particularly those that don't offer them continuous opportunities to learn and grow. In fact, over 75% of employees say they're more likely to stay at organizations with adequate training, according to a recent report from The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Related:Software Engineering Talent in Strong Demand in 2023

Indeed, one of the most exciting trends in upskilling is the increasing number of organizations that have introduced "citizen developer" programs to their teams. Leveraging low-code tools, these programs put innovation in the hands of every employee, empowering them to solve their biggest and most persistent day-to-day problems. It's a powerful lever for keeping employees engaged, productive, and prepared for the future of work. According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of the world's labor force will need to upskill by 2025 to keep pace with technological advancements and automation.

These kinds of programs offer organizations a powerful way to help address the tech talent gap. For example, one medical device company I spoke to said they used citizen development to quickly create business apps that would normally take 80 to 100 hours to develop. Today, their developer program has garnered about 30 citizen developers after the first year, with 56% of demands being satisfied through citizen development.

Reducing IT Burnout Through Greater Investment in Automation

Related:IT Labor Market Still Tight as Hiring Picks Up in July

With more organizations forced to work with less, we're seeing increased investment in technology designed to help them do more.

Consider hyperautomation. Combining traditional AI, generative AI, low-code development, process discovery, API integrations, and robotic process automation, it's become a powerful way for organizations to streamline operations and increase agility. For example, a major pharma manufacturer recently shared that, by streamlining significant portions of their 1,000-employee legal compliance function, they've automated the resolution of over 30,000 requests across their organization. Another leading data platform company has implemented RPA to meet the needs of their business while in a new growth stage. Manual handling was proving to be increasingly costly and difficult to scale effectively, and RPA enabled them to reduce millions in costs annually and gave their employees the ability to better allocate strategic skills on higher value work.

As with citizen development programs, investment in hyperautomation and AI plays a critical role in freeing up developers to focus on bigger, more strategic projects. This, in turn, also decreases their risk of burnout and increases their job satisfaction, both of which are significant drivers of retention.

And this is just a start. With the implementation of technology such as generative AI, companies using these powerful automation tools can lower the barriers for developers to comprehend other technologies, thus fostering a more versatile skill set among professionals. This has the potential to expand the pool of developer resources, putting innovation into the hands of every employee. With text-to-flow, text-to-app, and text-to-process capabilities coming in automation platforms, IT developers can gain efficiency that wasn't feasible before.

As a citizen developer or a recent college graduate, you may be wondering how to keep up with the ever-evolving world of technology. Luckily, with the help of generative AI, you can easily implement automations that will enhance cross-team collaboration and streamline your daily routines without needing to be a coding expert. By utilizing the power of AI, you'll have more time to focus on developing skills such as communication, collaboration, innovation, and analytical thinking. These holistic skills will become even more crucial in the tech industry of tomorrow.

Engaging the Workforce and Driving Performance with Skills Intelligence

To succeed in this challenging economic climate, leaders must also seek out new approaches to ensure they are unlocking the full potential of their workforce.

For leaders, this means having a more comprehensive understanding of the existing talent and skills within their workforce and harnessing new data and insights to assemble the most effective teams. For employees, this could mean having a unified platform where they can seamlessly access information, accomplish tasks, learn new skills, and connect with relevant resources within their organization.

By gaining clarity on the current skill sets of their employees and identifying the necessary competencies, companies can better enhance their ability to develop new offerings all while ensuring employees are working on gratifying projects and teams.  

To combat the skills gap, companies should look for a platform that offers no-code/low-code RPA, app development, generative AI, and skills intelligence as capabilities so that they can pick and choose what they need to optimize operations, automate repetitive tasks, improve decision-making processes, and more effectively use the skills and potential of their current employees. This proactive approach will enable organizations to confidently navigate the evolving business landscape with agility.

Amit Saxena is VP and GM, Automation Engine, at ServiceNow.

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