In an increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever for Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses to have strong IT staff on board. However, the findings of a new report have highlighted a worrying skills gap in this area.

According to the research conducted by cloud specialists Node4, many SMEs in the UK are unable to find employees with the necessary IT skills and qualifications to fill crucial roles. Out of 250 SME leaders from across the UK questioned by Node4, around half said they were struggling to recruit the right people in the IT field.

Figures suggest that the largest skills gap is in the South East, with 65% of businesses surveyed admitting that they had been unable to fill in-house positions. This was followed by 60% in the North East and 46% in London. On top of this, 79% of those surveyed said they’d experienced IT frustrations of some kind due to a lack of resources.

SMEs in the UK are having to outsource their IT demands

When businesses fail to recruit the right staff, they have no choice but to find other means to fill the skills gap. This has led to more and more SMEs opting to outsource their IT infrastructure, despite this not necessarily being the cheapest or preferred method.

With the pool of adequate IT employees appearing to be seriously lacking, there’s been a 5% year-on-year rise in the number of businesses making the decision to fully outsource their IT operations.

Paul Bryce, Business Development Director for Node4, said: “The nationwide struggle for skilled talent is a major concern for businesses.

“With a large number of SMEs frustrated with technical limitations and the day-to-day administration of their infrastructure it’s hardly surprising that local outsourcing has become a preference so that organisations can continue to win more business, beat the competition and succeed.”