CIO Community Pulse on Talent Strategy

October 2023

In the midst of this year’s economic uncertainty, CIOs in Evanta communities remained focused on digital business, innovation and increasing productivity and efficiencies across the enterprise. As the year progressed, artificial intelligence strategies and return-to-office policies presented both opportunities and challenges for C-level executives.

With near-constant disruption, we wondered what it might mean for CIOs and their need to recruit and retain skilled talent at their organizations. Here is what more than 300 IT executives told us about their talent strategies now and in the future.

Are Skilled Roles Hard to Fill?

Nearly half of CIOs – 49% – say that the skilled roles in their organizations seem harder to fill than in years past. Thirty-four percent believe it’s about the same as in past years, and 18% believe it’s not more difficult to fill roles currently.

Is Recruiting a Challenge?

61% of CIOs are finding that recruiting is somewhat challenging, and another 34% report that it’s very challenging. Only 5% of technology executives say that recruiting skilled workers is not challenging right now.

Is Retention a Challenge?

69% of CIOs feel that retaining skilled workers is somewhat challenging, and 12% report that it is very challenging. Nineteen percent say that it is not challenging for their organization currently.

What’s Impacting the Strategy?

When asked about factors that could be contributing to their recruiting challenges, 33% of CIOs cited the need for specific skills, such as in cybersecurity. Twenty-five percent attribute it to a lack of resources, and 22% say that their organization’s workplace policies are a factor. 

In their open-ended comments, other factors impacting their talent strategy ranged from “economic conditions” and “executive disconnect” to “lack of visa sponsorship.”

What Are the Focus Areas?

CIOs have a multi-faceted strategy to find and retain talented workers, with 23% saying their focus is on upskilling or reskilling, and 20% reporting that retaining key roles is a tactic. Equal percentages of CIOs – 15% – are focusing on quiet hiring or internal promotions and outsourcing or contract roles. 

In the comments, CIOs added that they were “focusing on interns,” “apprenticeships,” and “recruiting from within the organization.”

Can They Upskill the Workforce?

61% of CIOs are either very or somewhat confident in their organizations’ ability to upskill and reskill the workforce. About a quarter of executives – 27% – remain neutral in their views on how their organization will perform. Only 2% of IT leaders say that their company does not have a strategy in place to upskill workers.

What Are Executives’ Forward-Looking Talent Strategies?

In recent years, we surveyed CIOs in our communities on all workforce disruptions and talent shifts, from The Great Resignation and Race for Talent to economic uncertainty and generative AI. Each event has potentially changed the way executives think about recruitment and retention strategies.

In our final survey question, we asked CIOs about their forward-looking approach to talent and whether or not it had changed over time. Here is a sample of their responses:

Developing talent internally as much as possible, and filling the gaps with outsourced talent and targeted searches/fills.”

Hire with our 3-year plan in mind. Hire ahead of need. Focus on retention and development of internal skills and talent.”

Finding the right skill sets at the right time is challenging, so broadening informal networks and connections is imperative, as well as consideration for upskilling or hiring less experienced personnel with plans to upskill them.”

It really hasn't changed. Try to cultivate the talent you have... giving opportunities and allowing them to grow. Hire people with existing experience from the outside when it's necessary and ensure they are compatible with team dynamics.”


Are you a CIO trying to navigate the evolving talent landscape amidst constant change and disruption? Apply to join an Evanta CIO community or explore an opportunity to collaborate with your CIO peers at an upcoming gathering.


Based on 320 responses to Evanta’s Community Pulse Survey, October 2023.


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