Channeling the Future: New Sage Study Puts Upskilled Workforce as the Number One Investment Priority for Channel

  • 46% say cloud computing expertise is now a desired skill set in new hires. 40% say coding experience is wanted.

  • Just under two fifths (39%) of partners surveyed say they invested in the technical upskilling of their workforce in the past 18 months

  • By 2024, 40% of resellers believe customers will increase revenue from data analytics, AI software enablement

A study by Sage (FTSE: SGE), the leader in accounting, financial, HR, and payroll technology for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), shows the channel ecosystem is increasingly prioritizing technical expertise in both hiring and investment.

The new study shows that challenges in finding and keeping talent are hitting the channel sector, with US resellers mostly feeling the pinch. Half of all US respondents currently in the process of recruiting noted difficulty finding both skilled management level staff, while 49% also cited difficulty attracting skilled entry level talent. Competition was only slightly tapered within the UK, with 46% and 40% also struggling to source these levels.

Over half of all US resellers cited cloud computing (53%) and data engineering (52%) as required skillsets, while just under half listed cyber security skills (48%), coding (45%) and AI/ML development (44%) as desired skills.

By contrast in the UK, just under two fifths of resellers placed cloud computing (39%) and cyber security skills (39%) as desired traits for new talent, while 35% are looking for coding skills. Interestingly, the current external business climate may have forced UK reselling companies to focus more on the running of their business, with 36% actively recruiting for essential business roles.

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“Customers are looking to their channel partners to help make digitalization a reality as they embrace new revenue streams and invest with an eye on the future. 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,” said Aziz Benmalek, President, Sage North America, and EVP Global Partner Organization. “This requires the channel workforce to shift – at Sage we are prioritizing providing our channel partners with the tools and technology tools needed to thrive.”

Upskilling the workforce

Over the past 18 months alone, 39% of the 1,000 channel resellers surveyed have invested resources to technically upskill their workforce, while 36% adopted greater eCommerce functionality during the same period.

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This investment in technology is unlikely to slow. Resellers surveyed predicted that by 2024, services requiring more specific technical expertise such as cybersecurity service provision (40%), SaaS application management (38%) and public cloud consumption (33%) will be among those most demanded by clients. Almost one-third (30%) also believe that customers will be looking to specifically increase the efficiency, intelligence and automation of their business processes or operations (BPO).

When predicting areas of investment for their customers over the coming months, almost half (49%) believe customers will look to grow their data center management revenue, while 40% have a sharp focus on generating revenues from data analytics and AI software enablement.This research was shared with partners at the annual Sage Partner Summit event designed exclusively for Sage’s worldwide partner community, taking place in Dallas, Texas, from June 7-10, 2022.


‘The Channel Landscape – Partnering for Success’ report by Sage included 1,000 responses from decision-makers in the tech industry whose company resells tech and IT supplies/ services, 500 within the UK, 500 within the US. Survey respondents were provided by Onepoll. Field dates: 20 April – 3 May 2022.

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