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 Dan Blake, Managing Director EMEA, Claris
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COVID-19 caused a major shift in organisational processes, as businesses across all industries have turned to digital transformation (DX) to improve business operations. As organisations put in place the necessary technology to maximise performance outcomes and overall user experience, teams have had to reassess how best to scope, scale, and lead their new digital initiatives. However, one of the main challenges companies in the United Kingdom (UK) now face is there are just not enough people equipped to drive their organisations' digital transformation initiatives.

The ever widening tech talent gap

As job vacancies soar, reaching record levels and exceeding 1 million this year, the talent gap is widening in the UK workforce. Following companies’ shift to working from home, information technology (IT) job vacancies dominated the London hiring market, and a recent study by Accenture has found that demand for tech professionals in the UK increased by 10% over the first six months of 2021.

As demand for tech-related skills increase, especially as businesses across all industries digitalise, salaries have also become ever more competitive. High salaries are now one of the biggest barriers for business tech adoption as wage growth within the tech sector climbs at pace. For example, the average salary for software developers has now increased by 16% to £60,751, from 2019 to 2021. This will likely have a long-term impact on a business’ ability to adopt technology, and according to Gartner, IT executives now see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier, up to 64% of emerging technologies.

Turning to training opportunities as a viable solution

UK businesses are increasingly raising the alarm about the growing digital skills gap and the lack of government support to effectively address this problem. Earlier this year a group of UK tech businesses called on the government to take immediate action to address a shortage in digital skills, as lack of talent could hinder the speed of the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The UK Government has already taken some steps to close IT skills gaps through various programmes including the Lifetime Skills Guarantee program, which aims to transform the training and skills system in the UK. This instruction includes Skills Bootcamps and intensive courses in various tech subjects, such as data analysis, digital marketing, web development, and cybersecurity. However, whilst training opportunities are crucial to addressing the skills gap, this doesn’t offer an immediate solution. Rather than looking to hire software developers, organisations should consider using their current staff as citizen developers, who can help a company transform and pivot to digital solutions.

Citizen developers hold the key to closing the digital skills gap

Citizen developers are employees who create applications or services for consumption by themselves or others using software tools, such as low-code technologies. In today’s fast-paced digital world, low-code allows businesses to shorten the development cycle and reduce costs through tools like drag-and-drop and code-generators, which allow non-technical users to achieve what was previously only possible with coding knowledge. This can significantly improve a businesses agility, as low-code platforms can provide direct integrations with major vendors and accelerate the pace of integration and deployment, allowing businesses to stay ahead of market trends and consumer preferences.

Low-code platforms are also ideal for hybrid and remote workforces. Employees can deploy low-code applications to a remote workforce quickly and easily as the applications exist across a cloud or an on-premises network, perfect for a more distributed workforce post-COVID-19. The benefits of low-code technology are far reaching, so it’s no surprise that the low-code market is growing by almost 40%. It’s also predicted that 80% of tech could be built outside IT by 2024, thanks to low-code tools. .

Low-code technologies are crucial to closing the UK’s growing skills gap and democratising software development. Digital transformation is now essential for businesses across all sectors to adapt to changing consumer demands, especially amongst small and medium-sized businesses whose resources may be limited. As we become increasingly digitally focused, businesses can eliminate countless hours of manual work, streamline operations, and improve productivity without the need of software developers. It’s now vital we address the skills gap and ensure existing employees can meet the growing demands of businesses by ensuring access to low-code platforms, such as claris.com, which make app and service development easier and quicker.

By: Dan Blake, Managing Director EMEA, Claris

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