Business units are hiring more technology workers than IT departments are hiring. How will this impact IT budgets, CIO influence, and the future of the IT department?

by Jessica Davis
Date Published April 14, 2022 - Last Updated January 20, 2023

This article first appeared in Information Week, a partner publication.

In a tipping point for IT organizations and CIOs, more technology workers are being hired by business units than are being hired by IT departments, according to new research from Gartner.
This shift will have major ramifications for IT budgets, the influence of CIOs, and the roles of IT leaders as organizations head into a future where technology underpins the infrastructure of the business itself and so many entry level workers in every department arrive at their first jobs with significant technology skills.

“CIOs can no longer afford to own the entire organizational technology estate,” says Darren Topham, senior director analyst at Gartner. “In fact, it’s dangerous.”

Topham says that these skills in the up-and-coming workforce are a major reason driving this change, joining another major force that had already been in play for some time -- the availability of applications for purchase, licensing, and use by individual business departments -- what used to be more commonly known as shadow IT. The tech savvy of entry level workers is a newer trend driving the change.

“This is not just in comp sci and STEM subjects,” Topham says. “This is the arts and the humanities as well.”

Topham presented the research findings and some recommendations for CIOs in a recent webinar.

Between March and May 2020, Gartner looked at total jobs posted in the top 12 countries ranked by GDP and found that in the data science and data analytics fields, 306,783 pros were recruited by IT departments while 697,140 were recruited by other business units. Gartner found similar disparities in recruitment numbers for AI pros and robotic process automation pros -- business units were recruiting more of these professionals than IT departments were recruiting.

Why are business units doing this? Do they have a problem with how the IT organization operates? Not according to Gartner’s conversations with the stakeholders.

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Tag(s): supportworld, best practice, business intelligence


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