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May 30, 2014

IT skills shortage “is harming nation’s growth”

Lack of specialised graduates is leaving many companies struggling.

By Vinod

British companies need to start working more closely with universities or risk missing out on the skilled workers they need to help their business grow.

Reports from the recruitment industry’s trade body, the REC revealed a 64% rise in demand for temporary IT experts and 69% for permanent professionals as the UK IT industry experiences major growth.

However, this growth is not being balanced out by an influx of skilled Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) workers, leaving companies struggling to source new talent despite an industry-wide recruitment drive.

Leading employers association the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that UK organisations are taking on more people, driven by industry-wide optimism which is at its highest level since 1998.

"Competition for top IT talent has been rife for many years, but as demand continues to rapidly increase it’s likely we’ll soon reach a pivotal point in the looming skills gap that has long plagued the sector," said Michael Bennett, Managing Director at ReThink Recruitment, which carried out a similar survey of 1500 director level professionals concerning their future recruitment policies.

"There has often been talk of addressing the low levels of school leavers entering the industry, but with little evidence of this, it appears we will soon be at a crisis point in talent shortages."

ReThink carried out a similar study which supported the REC’s findings, discovering that whilst the majority of those surveyed (77%) expect to see an increase in workload over the next twelve months, 52% of directors did not feel they had the capacity to increase output with current staffing levels.

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There appears to be a clear "level of disconnect" between students studying the subject and businesses that seek these professionals, Bennett added, stating that many organisations are too focused on attracting senior level IT experts whilst those entering the industry often struggle to secure the best position to help develop their skills and get onto the career ladder.

The findings follow the news from Google that its workforce is nearly entirely made up of white, middle-class employees, prompting calls for the search giant to look into diversifying its staff as it expands into a range of new sectors.

 

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