77% of UK organisations, including marketing agencies, say they are finding ways for technology to do jobs formerly performed by people in the face of hiring and skills issues.
That’s according to new research from Rackspace Technology, which shows two thirds (64%) of UK companies are downsizing their staff, facilitated by technology, out of a necessity, with roles in customer service the most likely to be automated, as identified by 70% of business decision makers – followed by IT operations (62%), sales and marketing (57%), business operations (56%), and HR and admin (56%).
Half of UK companies (47%) have increased their IT investment due to the current economic climate, recognising the crucial role technology will play in improving performance and plugging skills gaps.
Almost two thirds (63%) are looking for technology to drive greater efficiencies, such as through moving infrastructure to the cloud, but the motivation for increased investment also extends to talent issues, with UK companies now investing 1.5 times more money in roles performed by technology than those performed by people.
This reflects the challenging labour market, with two thirds (65%) of companies finding it difficult to fill technical vacancies and a similar proportion (62%) struggling to retain IT staff.
This commitment to technology to combat talent shortages, and the consequent trend for an increase in IT investment, is also being driven by growing confidence in return on investment among senior leaders. Three in five (58%) organisations acknowledge established ROI on technology is encouraging further financial commitments.
It is also shifting the requirements for all staff, not solely those working in IT. The vast majority (85%) of UK companies now prefer non-technical staff to have a degree of technical proficiency, regardless of whether it’s a core element of the role.
Mahesh Desai, Chief Relationship Officer, EMEA, at Rackspace Technology, comments: “In times of economic uncertainty, committing increased spend to technology is a risk a majority of companies simply must take in the face of technical skills shortages across the board.
“Not only can technology offset the reduced workforce available but it is a well-established way of driving business efficiencies as well – though only if used effectively.
“Three quarters (73%) of UK organisations also said cloud operations would be a key investment area over the next 12-18 months and while they have correctly identified an important tool in improving their operations, they will need to optimise these investments and strategies to feel the true benefit.
“It should also be noted that technology itself is very different to technical-proficient staff. A tough labour market and therefore necessity might be driving the growing role tech is playing within companies but finding and retaining capable staff will remain crucial for businesses to thrive.”
To download the full report, click here.