CIOs are enjoying more face time with their CEOs, suggesting that technology executives are growing more influential in the workplace. Over a third of CIOs (34 percent) report directly to the CEO, a 10 percent rise over last year, according to the latest Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey of over 3,300 CIOs and technology leaders.
The bad news is that a majority of CIOs are having a tough time finding talent for their IT initiatives.
Sixty-five percent of CIOs said that an IT skills shortage – the biggest since the Great Recession rocked the global economy – is stymying their efforts to keep up with the pace of technological change. The most in-demand IT skill is data analytics (39 percent). Digital strategy and security also saw big jumps in demand of 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively, since last year.
Apart from staffing their IT departments, many CIOs are also having a tough time with securing their data and keeping cyber-attackers at bay.
Twenty-eight percent of CIOs reported that they had to respond to a major security incident in the past two years on behalf of their organizations. Nearly half (49 percent) said data privacy and loss pose the biggest challenge in transitioning to the cloud.
Overall, CIOs are growing more concerned about the state of their organizations' security readiness.
Only 22 percent of CIO said they were confident that their IT departments could thwart cyber-attacks. By comparison, a nearly a third of respondents said they were convinced their organizations could repel hackers.
"From grappling with an increasing cyber security threat, to working with the board on innovation and digital transformation, CIOs in 2016 are dealing with a more varied range of challenges than ever before, many of which are far, far away from traditional IT," said Albert Ellis, CEO of the Harvey Nash Group, a talent recruitment specialist, in a statement. Adaptability, influencing skills and an ability to keep a clear head in uncertain times are becoming increasingly important business skills for today's CIO."
Women are making gains in IT leadership roles, moving up from 6 percent to 9 percent in a year. For the first time in the survey's 18-year history, women made up more than a tenth of all respondents (11 percent). A third of CIOs said their organizations have formal diversity programs in place.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.