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January 14, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 10:17am

UK IT sector to be hit with skills shortage as baby boomers plan early retirement

News: Companies are being urged to better support older workers.

By CBR Staff Writer

New research has revealed that the early retirement of the baby-boomer generation may lead to a serious skill shortage in the UK IT sector.

The number of people in the workforce aged 50 to state pension age will have increased by 3.7 million to 13.8 million by 2020, with the number of 16-49 in the workplace predicted to fall by 700,000, according to a recent report by Pensions Minister Ros Altmann.

As more senior workers reach state pension age, their departure increases the skills gap that is being currently found in the tech sector.

The research from specialist recruiter Randstad Technologies has found that 49% of all tech workers plan to retire early, far more than the average number of workers across the UK (35%).

According to the research, those who choose not to retire early face increasing pressure to leave at state pension age, with technology specialists feeling this tension more acutely than most.

83% of tech employees report feeling this pressure, compared to 75% of typical workers across all sectors in the UK.

Around 36% of employees in the IT sector say this pressure is significant, while just 14% say they don’t feel any pressure.

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Randstad Technologies managing director Ruth Jacobs said: "To avoid the impending Tech talent shortage employers need to make sure that their company’s working hours fit with the demands placed more senior staff.

"Having the option to work around other responsibilities like caring for a loved one or treating any health issues would be a big benefit to older workers. As an increasing amount of work in the Tech sector can now be done via the cloud, these changes should be easier to introduce.

"While some Tech firms may already have some form of flexible working, it’s important to make sure older workers know these schemes are available."

Apart from flexible working hours, changing the old workers role to mentor roles and introducing retraining schemes so that they can learn to use the latest technology may also help persuade tech employees to remain in the sector longer.

Jacobs said: "Helping senior employees to learn the latest coding languages or understanding the newest piece of software will have significant benefits for the whole company.

"In a sector which is often unfairly thought of as ageist, encouraging older workers to stay in their jobs longer could even enhance the entire industry’s reputation."


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