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Digital leaders predict what 2022 has in store for technology teams

The Harvey Nash Group, a leading global provider of talent and technology solutions, published its Digital Leadership survey results earlier this month. As part of the group, Crimson is a contributor to the report. 

The 2021 Digital Leadership Report is the world’s largest and longest-running senior technology decision-makers survey. Launched in 1998 and previously called the CIO Survey, it has been an influential and respected indicator of significant trends in technology and digital for over two decades. This year a survey of over 2,100 digital leaders took place between 8th July 2021 and 11th October 2021, across 87 countries. In the UK, 823 digital leaders were surveyed.

During the last 12 months, we have seen demand spike for tech professionals as investment in IT skyrocketed to enable agility, meet customer demand, and provide new products and services. However, candidates have had a monopoly over the market with so many new opportunities, and many organisations have faced ‘The Great Resignation’. The Digital Leadership survey found that four in ten employers are struggling to retain their employees, and only one in three (38 percent) of organisations have revisited their employee offer to make it more attractive.

Aside from attracting skilled candidates’ digital leaders cannot find the talent they need. Even though more than half of the professionals surveyed said they were looking to hire regardless of location, 66 percent admitted they could not keep pace with technology trends because of a lack of skilled individuals. For example, the demand for Developers is extraordinarily high; in fact, it’s in the same league as HGV drivers and Nurses. As a result, more than half of those surveyed (52 percent) said they would be offering more apprenticeships to help plug the skills gap.

Let’s take a look at some more of the headlines from the much-anticipated report;

Tech investment is up, as is IT headcount

  • Despite a surge in investment during the pandemic, 60 percent of organisations expect another budget increase in the next year.
  • The majority of organisations (62 percent) are also planning to increase the headcount of their tech teams.
  • For the first time, ‘Creating new products and services’ is in the top three board priorities for IT address.
  • Half of organisations surveyed are expecting major or radical transformation within the next three years.

Remote working is a double-edged sword

  • 58 percent of organisations indicated that staff would work from home for most of the week. Three days is the average number. 45 percent have or will reduce fixed office space.
  • Work-life balance improved for 60 percent of organisations, and productivity increased for half.
  • 58 percent of organisations said that mental wellness, staff engagement (43%) and cross-organisation collaboration (41%) decreased.
  • 49 percent of digital leaders have increased their investment in health and wellbeing programmes.

Skills shortages remain high

  • More organisations than ever before have said that they are suffering from a skills shortage (67 percent).
  • The skills most in demand are cyber (43 percent), big data / analytics (40 percent) and technical architecture (34 percent).
  • Over half (51 percent) of organisations are expecting to increase cross-training to fill the gaps.


Sustainability is still an after thought

  • More than half (51 percent) of organisations recognise that tech is crucial to improve their carbon footprint, but it features second to last on the list of board priorities.
  • For 58 percent of companies tech is being used to reduce the need to travel and for 57 percent tech is improving operational efficiencies, but only 22 percent are improving the carbon footprint of the technology itself.
Gender diversity progress is very, very slow
  • Just 12 percent of survey respondents described themselves as female, which is a one percent increase on last year’s respondents.
  • The average proportion of females in tech teams is just under at quarter (24 percent).
  • Mandatory quotas on shortlists of candidates and on hiring decisions don’t seem to work with less than 10 percent of organisations trying them successfully.
  • Having a clear vision and transparent reporting led to success for 36 percent organisations and 33 percent enjoyed better results with inclusion training and inclusive communications.

Security a recurring issue

  • Almost a fifth (19 percent) of those surveyed said they allocated more resources to InfoSec.
  • Although the number of organisations that suffered a major cyber-attack in the past two years has dropped to 24 percent, cyber is still the most sought-after skill. Demand for skilled cyber professionals jumped by more than a third in 2021.
  • 30 percent of organisations believe they are very well equipped to deal with cyber-attacks.

Cloud technology is now seen as a necessity; it jumped from 54 percent in 2020 to 92 percent in 2021. In addition, IoT implementations increased by a third, Robotic Process Automation have doubled since 2019, and Quantum Computing testing or implementation has more than doubled from three percent to seven percent.

One thing is for sure; technology leaders will need to rapidly assess the marketplace to discover what solutions will drive their organisation forward. The report is designed to help leaders evaluate their options and consider the challenges they could face in 2022.

Download the full report here

Crimson is an IT consultancy, an IT solutions provider, an IT recruitment agency, and a Microsoft Gold Partner operating across the UK.