CIOs Still Want Bigger IT Teams Even As AI Marches On: Gartner

Lisa Johnston
Editor-in-Chief, CGT
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IT tech teams

Most CIOs at large companies are growing their IT teams, according to Gartner, and are relaxing some requirements in order to fill their ranks. 

Eighty-one percent CIOs at large enterprises ($1 billion in annual revenue or more) plan to increase their IT headcount this year, while just 14% expect their IT staff to decrease. Five percent expect their headcount to remain the same.

For the CIOs who intend to grow, two-thirds of them want to grow IT head counts by at least 10% to support their company’s digital initiatives.

As for those worried about AI shoving tech workers out of the way? Although the study was conducted before generative AI hit full frenzy mode, tech workers can likely assuage their fears a bit for now. Just 4% of CIOs reported an AI-augmented worker as a resource producing technology work today. Full-time IT employees perform 56% of today’s tech work, while automation and AI-augmented work account for just over 9% of work.

“Attracting and retaining technology talent remain critical areas of concern for CIOs,” said Jose Ramirez, senior principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “Even with advances in AI, Gartner predicts that the global job impact will be neutral in the next several years due to enterprise adoption lags, implementation times, and learning curves.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the organizations remain hampered by hiring challenges. Forty-one percent of the CIOs have reported slow hiring for IT roles, according to Gartner, while 35% reported decreasing overall IT budget and 29% cited an IT hiring freeze. 

As a result, CIOs are being proactive by relaxing geographic and role requirements to expand their IT talent pipeline, Ramirez said. “Some organizations have found success by hiring early-career technologists and providing upskilling opportunities to fill critical technology needs.”

See also: 7 Costly Innovation Mistakes CPG CIOs Make

Operational excellence and customer/citizen experience have been the most popular digital initiatives undertaken by the companies over the last two years, according to Ramirez, but they often don’t meet enterprise needs quickly enough. 

Nearly half of CIOs plan to invest in training programs to upskill and reskill IT staff, and 46% also plan to establish fusion teams. Forty-six percent also plan to automate workflows to free up IT time.

“Recruiting the right IT expertise takes time and planning, especially for skills in architecture, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and agile software development,” said Ramirez. “Ensure that IT has relevant roles, skills, and capacity to meet enterprise objectives. This may require embracing a blended workforce model of IT and business domain roles.”

The survey was conducted October through November 2022 among 501 respondents in North America, EMEA and APAC. 

This story originally appeared on CGT, a sister publication of RIS News. 

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