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In with the IT crowd

IT professionals know they need to grow. But they also expect employers to support them in doing so.

The labor market situation in the ICT and IT industry has been more dynamic in recent years than before the pandemic. There is still a high demand for workers, but the barrier to entry into this market has increased. Above all, people with experience and skills are in demand. IT professionals are aware of these challenges and the need for development, a recent GoodHabitz survey showed. Fortunately, they can count on employer support in this regard. 67% of them say they have the opportunity to pursue development programs during working hours. This is in line with their needs. What other development expectations do IT professionals have from employers?

Development out of necessity?

McKinsey experts have estimated that by 2030 AI and automation could replace as many as 30% of the world’s jobs. Among the professions expected to be particularly vulnerable to replacement by artificial intelligence, IT specialists are often noted. However, this does not mean, contrary to popular opinion, that they will be deprived of their jobs. On the contrary, the development of artificial intelligence opens up many new opportunities for them. Not surprisingly, terms such as reskilling or upskilling, i.e. retraining or upgrading skills, are becoming increasingly popular buzzwords in the IT industry.

A recent GoodHabitz survey conducted in 17 countries around the world (including Poland) shows that IT professionals and specialists are aware of the challenges of continuously upgrading their skills. Therefore, among the main factors encouraging them to acquire new skills are most often those based on intrinsic motivation. 

“The dynamic development of AI-based technologies is not the only challenge facing IT professionals today. While demand for AI roles in the market is still high, the barrier to entry has increased. And that means upgrading skills to remain competitive in the eyes of employers. That’s why professional development and upskilling are so important from the perspective of IT professionals and specialists, perhaps more than ever before, when the situation in the ICT and IT industry was far more stable,” says Daniel Idźkowski, Country Director at GoodHabitz Poland.

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The GoodHabitz survey found that for 22% of IT professionals, the main factor encouraging them to grow within their own organization was further specialization in their chosen area. 18% indicated that it was a desire to continue building a career within their current company, and 15% wanted to continue achieving professional success. The same number want to grow in order to derive professional satisfaction. 13%, in turn, wanted to better position themselves in the job market. Only 4 in 100 respondents admitted that they are motivated by their employer’s expectation. Employers, however, actively encourage the development of new skills, 59% of surveyed IT professionals said so.

Interestingly, the case is somewhat different in Poland. The percentage of people who want to develop due to the expectations of their current employer is significantly higher (21%). This is the second most frequently indicated by Polish respondents as a factor motivating them to develop professionally. 

Respondents surveyed by GoodHabitz explicitly admitted that improving their professional qualifications positively affects their position on the labor market. As many as three out of four (74%) agreed or strongly agreed with such a statement. 65% of respondents, in turn, feel the need to upgrade their skills in order to continue to succeed professionally.  

Not only hard skills

The GoodHabitz survey shows that although IT professionals and specialists would like to focus primarily on developing digital skills in the coming years (39%), so-called soft skills also rank high. Respondents are therefore aware that their role is becoming and will continue to become increasingly important in the technology-dominated ICT and IT industry as well. This may also have to do with the aforementioned development of AI – while artificial intelligence is able to automate certain tasks and take over some of the technical responsibilities of IT professionals, soft skills remain a human strength.

33% of respondents would like to develop management skills in the coming years. 30% plan to focus on developing creativity and 29% plan to focus on abilities in the area of communication. 

Among the areas that are important to respondents from a developmental point of view, taking care of mental and physical health and well-being also rank high – globally, 31% of IT professionals and specialists plan to focus on it in the coming years, while in Poland it is 41%.

In Poland, however, these results differ significantly. Only 14% of respondents agree with the statement that they have the opportunity to develop hard skills and soft skills only 10%. Only 14% believe that the organization treats employees equally in terms of providing access to training, and the main differentiating factor here is age, which is indicated by 30% of respondents (globally the percentage is 54%).

Expectations of the employer

IT employees believe they are responsible for their own development equally with their employer (63%). Thus, the organization plays a big role in planning the development path and generally does it properly. The vast majority (69%) of IT professionals, however, already have such a plan, which they discuss with their supervisor – 29% do so once a month and 25% once a quarter.

“The organization’s role in employee development is a big one. As the survey showed, IT professionals are aware that they themselves also need to engage in improving their own skills, because this translates not only into their career at the company where they are currently employed, but also simply into their position on the labor market and competitiveness. However, they still have expectations of employers, which boil down not so much to taking the initiative for development, but to offering support and a variety of tools, as well as freeing up some of their time from tasks and allocating it to development,” Idźkowski adds.

The GoodHabitz survey shows that it is space for on-the-job training and development that tops the list of IT professionals’ needs for skill development, with 43% of respondents expecting it. More development opportunities related to their area of specialization would like to see 39% of them. In turn, 29% need a wider range of quality training opportunities. 

The fact that an employer should offer support first and foremost, rather than planning an employee’s development path on their own, is evidenced by the fact that as many as one in four IT professionals surveyed expected to be able to choose their own training platform (27%) and support in creating their own development plan (26%).

Sylwia Ziemacka
Sylwia Ziemacka
“I believe our unique selling point is that we focus on what brings us together. Poland Weekly offers something you will not find anywhere else: a truly international and unifying perspective focused on content that builds cooperation and mutual understanding. This attitude doesn't make us naïve, but it allows us to focus on mutual understanding and a search for solutions. There are so many new challenges that we are all facing, such as energy transformation, climate change and supply chain disruption, to name but a few. By working together and sharing good practices, we can achieve so much more.”