Almost two thirds of CIOs are increasing IT headcount at their organisations to bring important skills in-house, and a similar figure say are finding it difficult to recruit the skills they need to drive transformation at their organisations according to the 2016 edition of the CIO 100.
Some 62% of CIOs recognised in the annual celebration of the UK's leading CIOs, CTOs, IT directors and digital executives told CIO UK that they were finding it difficult to recruit the talent they needed to drive transformation, while 65% responded they were increasing headcount to bring important skills and to ability to react in-house.
An overwhelming 79% responded that recruitment and retention had risen up the CIO's management agenda, although this is nine percentage points lower than the 88% who were placing greater emphasis in this area in 2015.
One solution CIOs across every industry were turning to was in offering apprenticeship schemes, with 74% of the 2016 CIO 100 saying they operated an apprenticeship scheme or were developing a programme for 2016/17. Organisations planning to start up an apprenticeship scheme included large public sector organisations like Manchester City Council and its new CIO Bob Brown, non-profits like British Council, financial services firm Arthur J Gallagher, rail construction project HS2 and Welcome Break under its long-serving Director of IT David Willock.
Organisations from universities to large retail and FMCG organisations, including John Lewis IT director Paul Coby and Unilever CIO Jane Moran, have established technology apprenticeship schemes. CIOs Moran and Coby were also among the 38% responding their organisation was not finding it challenging to recruit the skills required to drive transformation, and indeed there was a very strong correlation between organisations training apprentices and those who were not finding it difficult to recruit the right skills and talent.
The number of institutions offering an apprenticeship scheme or were planning to introduce one is an increase from the 62% who responded in 2015 they ran such a programme to develop new talent within the organisation.
Speaking in 2015, Newham and Having Borough Council CIO Geoff Connell said that it was imperative for public sector bodies to "grow their own" because of a moral obligation to serve the local community it serves, and because it was not always practical to compete for highly-skilled technology professionals. CIO 100 judge and columnist Ian Cox said at the time that attracting younger people into the profession was a key part of ensuing IT functions develop a talent pipeline to meet the needs of the business, a sentiment backed up by the CIO 100 numbers which show an anecdotal correlation between those with formalised technology training programmes and those less likely to respond that recruitment was a problem for their organisation.