The current economy is driven by science and technology, and because of this more and more businesses need IT professionals to help keep their organization adaptive to the newest innovations.

Unfortunately, building a workforce with skilled IT professionals is easier said than done. It’s no secret that the tech industry has been suffering from a talent shortage, but according to a recent survey conducted by IT outsourcer Harvey Nash and auditing firm KPMG, it may be worse than you think.

3,000 technology leaders were questioned for their annual CIO survey, and when asked if IT hiring challenges were hurting the industry, a surprising 65% responded yes. This is a 6% rise from last year when only 59% believed that the shortage was hurting the industry.

So, how can CIOs bridge this talent gap?

Top 5 Ways to Bridge the Talent Gap

1. Determine Your Business’ Needs

Every business’ talent gap is different. While one company may need a qualified data analytics expert, another company may not. Determine what skill set you need to fill your team.

What kind of IT staff does your organization currently need?

Look ahead: what kind of IT staff will your organization need in the future?

Don’t simply think about now, make sure you have enough IT professional to fill the skill set you need for the future. Where do you want your company to be next month? Next year? Decide what your future goals are and determine the skill set you will need to make this happen.

2. How Big is Your Gap?

Once you’ve determined your business’ IT skill set requirements, it’s time to figure out where the gaps are in your team. Do your employees have all of the skills necessary to your business for future growth? Are there holes you need to fill?

To find out what gaps you have in your workforce, a skills analysis is a great tool. With this tool you will be able to see your teams strengths and weaknesses. This is not only a great tool for CIOs but for IT professionals as well. A skills analysis helps to let employees know what the companies goals are and what skill sets are needed to achieve them.

A skills analysis when done properly, and well before your direly need a certain skillset, is a good way to help your current employees succeed.

3. Set Up Training Programs

Thanks to the skills analysis, rather than trying to find a new employee with the perfect skill set you will have the time to train your current team for the skill sets you will need in the future.

With the IT talent shortage it’s more important than ever to do all you can to retain your current talent. By offering learning programs to your current employees, you not only help fill the skill gaps in your workforce, but are investing in the futures of your employees. This investment is crucial to talent retention.

4. Allow For Growth

One thing that IT professionals note as being important to job satisfaction is the ability for growth within their company. Examples of employee growth within a company would be mentorships, skill training, and ensuring there are opportunities for advancement within the company.

Retaining talent and being enticing to new talent relies heavily on creating an environment that allows IT professionals to remain relevant and marketable by growing their skill sets.

5. Help Cultivate the Next Generation

Simply having your own house in order doesn’t mean there isn’t still a talent gap problem. A great way to do your part in truly closing the talent gap is by helping to shape the next generation of talent.

A few ways you can do this is by joining a local school board to influence the schools curriculum, exposing students to the latest trends and technology, and offering internships or part time employment to high school students to ignite their interest in the industry.

How are you bridging the talent gap in your organization? Let us know in the comments below.