Why IT departments will be unrecognisable come 2020

Six in ten IT leaders believe the ‘traditional’ IT department no longer exists in modern business, a study has revealed.

The optimum IT teams of 2020 will be vastly different from the ones we know today – with a rise in contingent workers, wider skill sets, and a shift in team age range and gender balance, according to the research.

IT resourcing firm Experis surveyed 1,000 IT workers and 200 senior IT managers to explore the current and future strategy for the UK’s IT department.

The findings revealed that IT leaders are seeing rising demands placed upon their teams to deliver additional services – such as cloud computing (61%), offering greater strategic input for critical business decision-making (57%), and increasing use of mobile apps (53%).

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To meet these demands and help plug the current skills gap in this sector, 69% of IT leaders believe they will become more reliant on temporary and short-term contingent staff, as they think such candidates can provide greater flexibility (52%), fresh perspectives (49%) and unique skills (44%).

Further, 59% of IT leaders and workers combined expect to see an increase in people from non-tech backgrounds entering IT departments over the next two years.

The research also found that IT departments plan to employ a mixture of both male and female workers from different age groups who possess different skills.

In particular, the ratio of male and female workers is predicted to shift substantially, with more women entering the sector. Currently, the percentage is 71% male and 29% female – this is expected to shift to 59% male and 41% female.

To support these anticipated team changes, IT leaders believe they will have to alter their approach to tech recruitment, with 37% expecting to see an increase in social sourcing (i.e. through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and a further 33% predicting that crowd-sourcing candidates (using wider online networks, forums and communities) will become commonplace.

“Today’s tech team dynamic is unsustainable,” says Geoff Smith, managing director at Experis. “Businesses and their IT teams need to think about building 2020’s optimum team now to support changing demands and achieve digital transformation.

“It’s encouraging to see a rise in female and millennial workers anticipated, as businesses address the current imbalance and recognise the essential skills they can bring.

“While contingent workers will become increasingly important to deliver short-term change, IT should also look for people who have the aspiration to sit at the boardroom table, contributing ideas on how IT can support future transformation, bring innovative projects to fruition and enable business growth and competitive edge. But, the right candidates for the job don’t necessarily need a strong tech background.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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