The digital skills gap has been well recognized and written about for years. This conundrum is now coming to a head for employers across the board as companies have made the move to a digital-first approach with cloud computing at the heart of their IT infrastructures.

Improved speed and agility, cost reduction, energy savings, and business continuity are just a few of the business benefits enabled by the cloud. Still, until recent years, some industries were hesitant to adopt the cloud due to the complexities of their legacy systems.

We can confidently say that is no longer the case. Enterprises who were biding their time have had their hands forced by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, where a remote workforce sustained the digital economy. To meet customer demands and compete amongst expectations of efficient, globalized service delivery, the cloud native world is here to stay — and the need for qualified tech talent is on the rise.

Upskilling vs. Hiring – How to know what to do?

The ability to attract and retain workers with the right skills has become a key differentiator for winning organizations. Even for those who hire well, the speed at which technology is advancing makes it difficult for employees to keep up with, and for employers to have a line of sight into where gaps may lie.

Hiring cycles for specialty tech talent are both long and expensive. It’s been reported that the cost to hire one software developer (excluding onboarding, ramp time, and the unexpected cost of turnover) can exceed $50,000. This has made skills development a critical piece of the success puzzle for technology leaders. But to know who is ready, willing, and capable of learning new skills to take on a new role remains a unique challenge on its own.

In the recently published 2021 Technology Leadership Survey, Cloud Academy found that the majority (55%) of IT leaders either listen to anecdotal feedback from team leads or simply have no idea where the individuals on their team stack up. This information is critical to make decisions on whether upskilling can take an organization to where it needs to be, or if finding talent on the open market — a much more expensive and risky option — is required. 


The fact that less than half of enterprise technology leaders can report a concrete understanding of the talent they have versus what they need is troublesome. To learn how IT leadership is addressing the problem, we asked them to rank what resources they need to reach their goals through 2021 and beyond.

Tech Talent is Priority #1

In response, nearly 75% of leaders said that upskilling their current employees to perform new roles is a key component to achieve tech goals, and more than half (51%) say they will need to bring in new talent to do so. 

Just like hiring costs money (though a significant amount more than upskilling), so does a proper training program. To that end, we asked tech leaders how much they predict they’ll invest in improving digital skills for their teams in 2021, compared to last year.


It’s great to see that management recognized the importance of skills development to not only keep up with evolving technologies, but to compete in the marketplace. More than 80% of tech leaders are investing more in skills development in 2021.

Join Us and See the Full Results

The full results of the 2021 Technology Leadership Survey provide many more key insights around enterprise investment in the cloud, current IT architectures, and the biggest technology concerns facing tech leaders today.

Join Cloud Academy’s interactive webinar on June 30th at 9 a.m. PT | 12 p.m. ET | 6 p.m. CET. Attendees will be asked polling questions to see how their results compare to survey respondents’, and we’ll dive into what the results mean for you and your business. Don’t miss out!


Written by

Ben Keylor

Ben is a Sr. Content Manager at Cloud Academy. He is a veteran marketer for late stage tech start-ups.

Posted by Editor