But big companies are prioritising AI skills as well, says the Spiceworks report.
Cybersecurity expertise will be the number one skill set that enterprises will look for in new hires, according to a new report.
IT company Spiceworks surveyed 1,000 tech professionals in businesses in North America and Europe for its IT Careers report.
Nearly one in three organisations are planning to increase their IT staff in 2019, it said –of those that are, 47 percent cited IT security and IT cybersecurity skills as most sought after.
This was followed by infrastructure hardware, 35 percent; end-user hardware, 34 percent; networking solutions, 32 percent; and software deployment, 27 percent.
Cybersecurity hires was cited as the top priority across all company categories broken down by size, apart from those with between 100 and 499 employees, where it was third down the list, behind end-user hardware and infrastructure hardware.
Spiceworks also found that companies with more employees are more likely to seek AI expertise than the smaller ones.
Companies with 5,000 and more employees had AI tech and management skills as their second most in-demand skill set, at 35 percent, after IT cybersecurity expertise (57 percent).
Large enterprises are “jumping on the latest tech trends”, such as AI, IoT, and automation, at faster rates than smaller ones and will face more obstacles, the report said
“Companies looking to maximise efficiencies and grow profits understand the potential artificial intelligence has to automate tasks and reduce the cost of doing business,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks.
“But to effectively deploy and manage AI-enabled tech, organisations need workers with relevant AI skillsets and experience, and large enterprises, which often have resources dedicated to R&D, are already ahead of the game when it comes to experimenting with and getting the value out of AI.”
Mid-sized companies, defined as having between 500 and 999 employees, are more likely to seek candidates with DevOps skills. They also experience problems convincing business leaders to prioritise important IT projects, the firm said.
Smaller businesses, meanwhile, struggle adhering to best security practices and are more likely to be looking for hardware and infrastructure experts.
European Companies More Concerned by GDPR
The report added that in the UK, 38 percent of IT pros plan to find a new employer next year, compared to averages of 28 percent and 24 percent in Europe and North America, respectively.
This is possibly due to digital tech jobs being on the rise it the UK, it said, citing figures from the Tech Nation 2018 report that UK digital employment increased by 134 percent between 2014 and 2017.
For businesses in North America, keeping IT systems up to date and replacing outdated software tops the list of the biggest challenges companies expect to face next year.
In Europe, meanwhile, businesses are more concerned about complying with GDPR regulations – more so than their American counterparts.
Other IT challenges that organisations in both Europe and North America expect to face next year include providing security training, managing on premises and cloud services, implementing new tech innovations, providing security training, and convincing business leaders to prioritise IT.