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There’s a talent shortage underway, and it’s global.

What’s more, a new survey of senior executives finds that the staff shortage is now the top emerging risk that organizations face. More risky than privacy regulation, the pace of change or anything else, for that matter.

The survey, conducted by research and analysis firm Gartner, garnered responses from 137 senior executives in the fourth quarter of last year. The results were publicly released this week.

This is the first time the talent shortage has topped the list in the risk survey, as the following table (courtesy of Gartner) shows:

Gartner table - top risks

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents to the Q4 Gartner survey said the talent shortage was a key concern for their organization. That was the highest response rate of any risk.

In several industries — including financial services, manufacturing, government and retail — the problem is even more severe. Here, more than two-thirds of respondents said the talent shortage was one of their top 5 risks.

Most valuable, least available

And it’s not just any talent that’s at stake. The most critical talent needs are precisely those that are hard to find and expensive to hire.

That includes data scientists to work on big data analytics, and privacy specialists to help organizations comply with the EU’s far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“Organizations face this talent crunch at a time when they are already challenged by risks that are exacerbated by a lack of appropriate expertise,” says Matt Shinkman, leader of Gartner’s risk practice. “Addressing top business challenges involves hiring new talent that is in incredibly short supply.”

In other words, this talent shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Two ways out

What to do about it? Well, companies could pay more as a way to attract talent in short supply. But that's expensive. So Gartner has another idea — actually, two ideas: One, train the people you already have, and two, apply “risk-mitigation strategies” for critical talent shortages.

Training is straightforward enough, if costly and time-consuming. But what does talent risk-mitigation look like?

Gartner says the best organizations are moving away from traditional engagement surveys to understand their talent risks. Instead, they are building robust talent data-collection and analysis techniques. They’re also listening to their employees and identifying real-time risks.

None of this will be easy. But if you’re struggling to hire technical talent, at least now you know you’re far from alone.


Blog Category: 
Cloud and Data Centers