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Digital transformation projects are failing due to lack of 'job-ready' talent

The shortage of skilled employees is an "existential threat to businesses around the world", according to an Udacity report

A shortage of "job-ready" digital talent and a lack of sufficient in-house training is stalling enterprise innovation across the UK, Europe, and the US. 

More than 2,000 managers and 4,000 employees from companies in the US, France, Germany and the UK took part in a survey conducted by training platform Udacity, and the findings paint a concerning picture about enterprise transformation. 

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The report focuses on four key points of digital transformation: why projects are currently failing, the effectiveness of in-house training, its uncertain future, and the importance of learning new skills. According to the report, 46% of participants - from all four regions - suggested their company's digital transformation projects were failing due to a lack of talent available.  

Of the UK-based participants, 36% suggested they were losing talented people to high-tech companies, while 34% said they had let people go because they didn't have the skills the company needed. When it came to recruitment, 52% said they had found it hard to find people with the necessary experience, 51% couldn't find the right technical skills, and another 51% ended up hiring workers without the skills they needed for the role. 

The overall picture was also muddled when it came to in-house training; across all four regions, 80% of employers felt their learning and development programmes were moderately successful, but only 45% of employees said they were "satisfied" with the training. The difference increases when only viewing the UK participants, with just 20% of employees happy with in-house training opportunities. 

Keeping up with emerging technologies 

A number of reports have highlighted a growing skills deficit across the UK, with many concerned the country doesn't have the capacity to develop specialists for advancing technologies. Although the Udacity report avoids naming specific areas, there are a number of technologies that frequently appear in similar research. 

64% of IT executives from a recent Gartner report also pointed to a lack of talent hampering a number of emerging technologies. This, it suggested, was proving to be a barrier for business adoption of computing infrastructure, networking, cyber security, automation and storage technology.

"The talent shortage has reached a crisis pitch," said Gabe Dalporto, the CEO of Udacity. "If companies do not invest in talent transformation, they are destined to fail. The lack of job-ready digital talent has become an existential threat to businesses around the world."

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