A new report from Rackspace notes that a lack of cloud expertise is not only preventing companies from innovating, it is costing them an estimated 5% of global revenue annually. For large enterprises, this amounts to approximately $258 million in lost revenue per year.

In the ‘2017 Cost of Cloud Expertise‘ report, a survey of IT professionals and decision makers in large, global enterprises showed that 71% of respondents believe that their organizations have lost revenue due to a lack of cloud expertise. 2/3 of those surveyed believe that the cloud skills gap is stifling innovation and creativity at their organization while the majority, 84%, believe that having better cloud skills in their organization would help to increase the cloud’s return on investment.

44% of IT professionals said that they spent more time managing cloud services than expected, taking focus away from more impactful work.

Cloud adoption continues to grow, with 69% of respondents increasing cloud usage in the next five years. This means that experts in cloud services are in high demand worldwide and as such, more than half of IT professionals surveyed said that retaining talent is a concern. A tight market, with high demand for a limited pool of candidates makes recruiting a priority, however, nearly half of the survey respondents (46%) said that it is difficult to recruit the right talent to meet organizational cloud goals.

John Engates, CTO of Rackspace noted, “Cloud technology has changed the way organizations operate for the better, but there is still one key ingredient needed to truly leverage the benefits – human expertise.”

“With technology and the cloud now underpinning business transformation, the growing technology skills gap means organizations must have a strategy to access the expertise needed. Those that don’t will struggle to be competitive and innovative,” he added.

The skill sets that are the most difficult to recruit include migration project management, cloud security, and native cloud app development.

The top barriers to recruitment included industry competition, and the inability to offer a competitive salary or sufficient training to prospective employees. While job seekers rated salary and benefits as a top priority in choosing a new position, they also said that the opportunity to progress in a company and get training for new skills were important as well. If salary constraints are difficult to overcome, then, a company could instead focus on training and progression opportunities to help recruit top talent.