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Technical expertise is the top investment priority for the channel, Sage study finds

Research finds that 40% of recruiting UK IT resellers are struggling to attract skilled entry level talent

New research by payroll technology specialist Sage has concluded that the channel ecosystem is increasingly prioritising technical expertise in both hiring and investment.

Data collected from 1,000 US and UK IT resellers between April and May revealed that the channel is currently facing challenges in finding and retaining talent.

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In fact, half of all US respondents currently in the process of recruiting said they had difficulty finding skilled management level staff, while 49% also cited difficulty attracting skilled entry level talent. In the UK, the figures were only slightly lower at 46% and 40% respectively.

In terms of skillsets, over half of US respondents cited cloud computing as a desired trait (53%), followed closely by data engineering (52%), cyber security skills (48%), coding (45%), and AI/ML development (44%).

In the UK, just 39% of those surveyed felt the same way about both cloud computing and cyber security skills, while 35% flagged coding skills as a key skill.

UK reselling companies may also be focusing more on the running of their businesses due to the external business climate, Sage said, with 36% actively recruiting for essential roles.

“Customers are looking to their channel partners to help make digitalisation a reality as they embrace new revenue streams and invest with an eye on the future,” commented Aziz Benmalek, president of Sage North America and EVP Global Partner Organization.

“They are being asked to provide expertise in the most complex technological areas – from protection against the latest cyber threats to the enablement of AI and ML. This requires the channel workforce to shift.”

Over the last 18 months, 39% of surveyed resellers said they have made investments to upskill their workforce technically, while 36% have adopted greater ecommerce functionality during the same period.

Sage says this investment in technology is unlikely to slow down. Resellers stated that by 2024, services requiring more specific technical expertise such as cyber security service provision (40%), SaaS application management (38%), and public cloud consumption (33%) will be among those most demanded by clients.

Additionally, almost a third (30%) also believe that customers will be looking to specifically increase the efficiency, intelligence, and automation of their business processes or operations.

In terms of predicting future areas of investment for their customers, 49% of resellers said customers will look to grow their data management revenue, while 40% pointed to revenue generation from data analytics and AI software enablement.

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