Careers and Hiring Guide menu >

The digital skills gap

Whatever the Microsoft Cloud role, use our guide to benchmark your salary or contact rate, or to uncover what you should be paying employees in your team.

Demand for Microsoft cloud talent remains at record highs, and while much work has been done in the past few years to increase supply, getting access to the right people with the right skills remains a challenge for Microsoft end users and partners alike. So what’s preventing businesses from sourcing the talent they need to make the most of Microsoft cloud solutions?

In this section, we’ll look at how this shortage is impacting businesses, and most importantly, what organizations in the Microsoft sphere are doing to bridge skills gaps.

Does an IT skills gap exist in the Microsoft community?

A skills gap occurs when the current workforce’s skill set doesn’t align with the skills needed to do their jobs.

57%

Yes, there is a skills gap

21%

No, there is no skills gap

22%

Not sure

Currently, 57% of hiring managers (down from 68% in our previous survey) acknowledge the existence of an IT skills gap within the Microsoft community. Of those respondents, 54% indicate that the skills gap has increased in the past 12 months; this is up from 46% in our previous findings. Taken together, this paints a confusing picture about the skills shortage, showing that there is still work to be done.

Expert Insight

Mark Christie is a Microsoft MVP, MCT, and Managing Director at Proximo 3. With over 17 years in Dynamics CRM and the Power Platform, he’s worked as a consultant and solution architect. Now, he is a highly regarded business leader.

There was a time, not too long ago (yes I have aged myself right away), when being proficient in Microsoft Dynamics CRM was all you needed. It only focused on the Sales and Services modules. But the landscape underwent a seismic shift with the emergence of the Power Platform in the last six years. This platform unveiled five new products: Dataverse, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Bi, and Power Virtual Agent. Additionally, there are more model-driven apps added to Customer Engagement. This expansion calls for a higher number of technical and functional consultants, either by enhancing the skills of current professionals or by inducting new ones. Sounds simple? Far from it.

An inherent challenge lies in the career trajectory of seasoned consultants. As they climb into more senior roles, their day-to-day hands-on engagement with the tools diminishes. This creates a skills vacuum that isn’t promptly addressed. In the UK, this is exacerbated by the absence of initiatives to motivate university graduates or those pursuing modern apprenticeships to explore a career in Microsoft Dynamic and Power Platform Technology. Here is where the Norwegian journey of Proximo 3 can set a standard in the UK.

In collaboration with Microsoft and Glasspaper in Norway, we’re part of the Microsoft University program, operational since 2007. Annually, Microsoft partners hire over 100 freshly-qualified graduates. These young minds are immersed in 6-week boot camp-style training, tailored to their technological roles and responsibilities. Such a sustainable approach guarantees a consistent stream of eager consultants and developers, all primed to join exciting Microsoft-led technology projects.

Reflecting on the UK’s situation, the urgency to bridge this skills gap is huge. As the Managing Director of Proximo 3, I’m convinced that the remedy resides in robust training programs and transparent career paths.

However, the true challenge isn’t just the act of hiring. It’s in anticipation. Progressive companies predict their project resource requirements up to two years ahead, aligning with future skills and resource needs. Yet, a recurring trend is the last-minute offshoring of configuration and developmental tasks. While seemingly economical in the short term, the eventual costs – in exhaustive revisions and intricate requirement discussions – are considerable.

So, how do we pivot? Here are three steps:

The onus is on us to ignite the next generation’s enthusiasm for Microsoft technology. Microsoft has laid the groundwork with its platforms. Now, it’s our turn to prepare for the upcoming wave.

What is your organization’s biggest challenge in closing the digital skills gap?

Among those who believe there is an IT skills gap, 46% highlight the time taken to find talent as the main challenge in bridging the skills gap in their organization—the main issue reported in our previous study was attracting candidates with the right industry skills.

Finding the right talent is time consuming 46%
Attracting candidates with the right skills for our industry is difficult 43%
There is a lack of qualified/experienced candidates in the marketplace 37%
Technology innovation is outpacing skills development 33%
There is too much competition for talent 21%
An over-inflated market rate for candidates 15%
Other 3%
Finding the right talent is time consuming 46%
Attracting candidates with the right skills for our industry is difficult 43%
There is a lack of qualified/experienced candidates in the marketplace 37%
Technology innovation is outpacing skills development 33%
There is too much competition for talent 21%
An over-inflated market rate for candidates 15%
Other 3%

To what extent is the skills gap affecting organizations’ strategic objectives?

10%

28%

50%

11%

1%

To what extent is the skills gap affecting organizations’ strategic objectives?

10%

28%

50%

11%

1%

How is the skills gap impacting businesses’ strategic objectives?

Increased workload of current staff 47%
Difficulty keeping up with demand for services 40%
Missing project deadlines 39%
Less growth than expected 35%
Increased staff turnover (e.g. as a result of employee burnout or losing staff to competitors) 35%
Increased costs due to hiring contractors 29%
Decreased profitability 15%

A third (33%) of hiring managers expressed concern about the impact of the skills gap on their organization’s performance.

How are organizations looking to address the skills gap?

Building skills in-house

54%
Hiring new permanent staff

41%
Hiring contractors

26%
Not sure

14%
Other

4%
Other’ responses include working with a nearshore partner.
Professionals listening to a discussion in an office. Group of happy business people having a team meeting.

Need help finding the right skills for your Microsoft team?

Finding the right candidate when Microsoft skills are in high demand isn’t easy—but Nigel Frank can help you find your next hire. Our extensive database of pre-qualified Microsoft professionals means we have access to an unrivalled network of cloud talent with the skill sets you need to succeed—connecting you with your ideal candidate in no time.

Conclusion

Though fewer hiring managers than last year believe there’s a significant skills gap in the Microsoft community, the effects of this talent shortage are still being felt across the space. A massive 87% of respondents said that the skills gap was having a moderate-to-severe impact on their organizations’ ability to achieve its objectives. What is promising, however, is that more than half (54%) of respondents are now turning to in-house upskilling to help bridge this skills gap, investing in existing employees and developing their own Microsoft talent using the resources they have.

Want the highlights from this year's Careers and Hiring Guide at a glance? Our key findings report contains our top level insight and salary tables, so you can compare your own salary or benchmark your teams' across the Microsoft ecosystem.