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May 12, 2015

Wanted: UK tech talent to solve skills gap crisis

Significant IT skills gap continues to endanger UK businesses.

By Ellie Burns

Much has been written on the subject of the IT skills gap, with a CompTIA study adding further fuel to the fire by suggesting that this significant skills gap is an ongoing ‘crisis’ continuing to impact on business operations.

Although the skills gaps in the industry has been labelled a ‘crisis’ by CompTIA, 62% of UK executives surveyed for the study expect 2015 business conditions to be better than last year.

This optimism is reflected in UK respondents’ plans to hire IT staff this year – 28% this year up from 19% in 2014 – marking signs of growth in the UK IT industry.

However, a very worrying 46% of UK execs report that they are worried about being able to find IT staff with the right skills and experience to fill jobs.

The study showed that this lack of personnel with the right skills is putting businesses in danger. 44% of UK respondents indicated that staff productivity was negatively affected, and 30% said that customer services suffered from insufficient skills.

A further 27% said that it slowed speed to market, and 26% reported a detriment to innovation and new product development.

An area highlighting the dire need to plug this skills gap is that of security. 48% of UK respondents believe that human error is the top reason for breaches, including increased use of social media by staff and gross negligence, which can lead to falling victim to spear phishing attacks and other social engineering techniques.

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This underscores the importance of addressing gaps in training to minimise the fallout from human error.

Efforts have been made to lessen the skills gap in businesses, with 55% stating that they are exactly or close to where they want to be compared to 48% of firms two years ago.

Rob Partridge, Head of the BT Security Academy said: "This report proves what we have long observed- that UK IT companies are struggling to fill vacancies with suitable candidates.

"We see a significant talent shortage in the UK and we have been proactively providing educational materials for schools and developing national IT talent competitions to help address this problem.

"We believe the IT industry seriously needs to consider looking beyond University degrees and attracting and developing talent through vocational qualifications, new forms of online learning and apprenticeships."


CompTIA’s International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends Study surveyed 1,507 IT executives across the world to collect, assess and share information on technology adoption and workforce trends across several countries.


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