Technology Analysts Predict Widening Cloud Skills Gap for IT

Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:00am EST

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Research projects as many as 7 million new cloud-related IT jobs globally by
2015, with fewer qualified candidates to fill open roles, according to global
hiring managers.
REDMOND, Wash.,  Dec. 19, 2012  /PRNewswire/ -- Demand for "cloud-ready" IT
workers will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015, with as many as 7 million
cloud-related jobs available worldwide, according to an  IDC  White Paper
sponsored by  Microsoft Corp. and released today. However, IT hiring managers
report that the biggest reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7 million open
cloud-related positions in 2012 is because job seekers lack the training and
certification needed to work in a cloud-enabled world, according to the IDC
White Paper, Climate Change: Cloud's Impact on IT Organizations and Staffing
(November 2012).


In  the United States, the IT sector is experiencing modest growth of IT jobs in
general, with the average growth in IT employment between 1.1 and 2.7 percent
per year through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, amid modest growth of IT jobs, cloud-sector jobs are increasing
swiftly. With the workforce unprepared to take on these jobs, there is an urgent
need to retrain existing IT professionals and encourage students to pursue
cloud-related IT trainings and certifications, according to the IDC White Paper.

"Despite modest growth of the IT sector overall in the U.S., cloud-ready jobs
are increasing as we head into 2013, but with this increase comes the harsh
reality that workforces around the world are steps behind when it comes to
attaining the skills necessary to thrive in the cloud computing industry," said
Cushing Anderson, program vice president, IDC. "Unlike IT skill shortages in the
past, solving this skills gap is extremely challenging, given that cloud brings
a new set of skills, which haven't been needed in the past. There is no
one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing. Therefore,
training and certification is essential for preparing prospective job candidates
to work in cloud-related jobs."

The IDC White Paper investigates the impact that cloud computing will have on IT
employment around the world and its influence on the way organizations staff
their IT departments. IDC interviewed more than 600 hiring managers across the
globe for this study.  

General Findings  

General findings of the IDC White Paper include the following:

* Globally, almost two-thirds of enterprises are planning, implementing or using
cloud computing, and more than 50 percent of businesses agree that cloud
computing is a high priority.  
* However, more than three-quarters of businesses have apprehension about the
security, access or data control of cloud computing.  
* Lack of training, certification or experience are the top three reasons why
cloud positions are not filled.  
* However, cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities
in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by
26 percent annually through 2015.

Regional Findings  

Regional findings of the IDC White Paper include the following:

* Although the growth of IT jobs in  the United States  is slow, the growth
picture is better outside the U.S. The overall number of IT positions in
end-user organizations globally will grow at a 4.3 percent compound annual
growth rate between 2011 and 2015 and reach 29.3 million in 2015, according to
* North America  (U.S. and  Canada).  According to IDC's regional forecasts, the
U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services
last year, compared with 35 percent of worldwide IT spending in general.  Canada
 will be a much slower adopter of public IT cloud services but a more aggressive
adopter of private IT cloud services. Due to  Canada's smaller job base, though,
cloud-generated jobs will grow 30 percent faster in  Canada  than in  the United
* Emerging markets.  The emerging markets of  Latin America, Central and 
Eastern Europe, the  Middle East, and  Asia Pacific  will be home to more than
40 percent of new cloud-related jobs. These markets are predicted to grow at 34
percent annually until 2015.  
* Europe, the  Middle East  and  Africa  (EMEA).  Last year, EMEA's spending on
public IT cloud services was approximately 40 percent of  North America's;
however its investment in private clouds was equal to or more than that of 
North America, illustrating an aggressiveness in moving to private clouds as
compared with other regions. In EMEA, IDC forecasts that cloud-related IT jobs
will grow by 24 percent per year to about 1.4 million by 2015.  
* Asia Pacific  (APAC).  APAC will adopt private IT cloud services more
aggressively than either EMEA or  North America. Cloud-related IT jobs will grow
at 32 percent per year to more than 2.3 million in APAC by the end of 2015.

Full results of the research, including additional details on global findings
and survey methodology, can be found  here.

Training and Certification Key to Overcoming the Lack of Cloud-Ready Workers  

The shortage of appropriate skilled job candidates to fill cloud jobs is the No.
1 challenge for companies looking to bolster their cloud capabilities, according
to the research.

"Cloud computing is crucial to the bottom line of the company - it creates cost
savings and efficiencies for companies and their customers," said IDC's
Anderson. "Therefore, a cloud-savvy workforce is essential to the success of the
IT industry's financial health. In anticipation of the technology evolution to
the cloud, Microsoft recently announced that it  reinvented certifications
specifically for the cloud  including the forthcoming certifications in Windows
8, which have cloud computing focus areas. These are more important than ever
for current and future technologists who want to gain the skillset needed to
work in the cloud and for companies looking to benefit from the cloud."

For the current workforce,  Microsoft launched the  Microsoft Virtual Academy 
making it simple for the active professional to add critical skills. The
Microsoft Virtual Academy is a program for IT professionals to gain access to
free self-paced training resources using combinations of video and text.

Microsoft is also helping fill the future workforce pipeline by providing
training and certification through the Microsoft IT Academy. Ensuring that the
next generation of technologists is prepared for the new IT jobs in the cloud,
the Microsoft IT Academy program provides middle school, high school and college
students with the technology-based skills needed for successful careers in
tomorrow's IT cloud environment. More details on IT Academy are available at

"Our Microsoft Virtual Academy and Microsoft IT Academy are examples of our
commitment to the current and future workforce," said Lutz Ziob, general
manager, Microsoft Learning. "The opportunity that the cloud presents is
significant, and we want to be certain that the workforce has the skills to
share in that opportunity. Our goal is to continue to prepare the existing
workforce and students for the jobs of tomorrow and empower them to develop
their skills as future IT experts, innovators, software developers and beyond." 

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full

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