Demand for IT staff has overtaken the number of IT job seekers for the first time since 2008. Latest figures from sector skills council, e-skills UK, show a shortfall of 1,000 candidates in the IT jobs market. In the third quarter of 2010, 101,000 IT vacancies were advertised compared to 100,000 IT professionals looking for work.
"While this is good news for IT professionals seeking employment in the sector, the drop in the number of ready candidates with the required set of skills may start to become a problem for recruiters," said Karen Price, CEO of e-Skills UK.
The hottest skills
Short term increases in advertised rates were recorded for:
• Contract web designer and operations analyst positions
• Permanent posts for senior systems administrators and MIS/IT managers
Longer term upward trends in rates were also noted for:
• Contract project managers, network support engineers and network/communications analysts/engineers
• Permanent business analysts, software engineers, systems programmers and communications/network managers
Skills gap verified
The rising shortages are verified by software project mentors, UPMentors. In a recent survey of the 100 IT managers, 61% are struggling to meet new business demands in 2011 due to a lack of skilled IT staff. A big skills gap was exposed, with a further 15% admitting that they needed to address the lack of talent and skills by ensuring existing staff were educated on new IT developments.
Finding good quality people may prove challenging and force employers to look to the contract market to bolster their in-house capability. Companies who are investing in training to raise the skills of their people will receive a double benefit of increased capability, loyalty and motivation from their existing employees.” commented Julian Holmes, co-founder, UPMentors.
Grads and apprentices needed
Glyn Heath, founder and chief executive of premium IT consulting and services provider, Centiq, commented, “The current shortfall of skilled IT staff is the tip of the iceberg and will get worse over the coming years. We as an industry should really have been more attentive to building talent in a planned way, so there isn’t a sudden shortage or surplus.”
Centiq took on six graduates in autumn 2010 to train up in IT sales and is considering taking more given its positive experience. We're about to trial a trainee support role - a technical apprentice. This recruit probably won't be a graduate, more likely BTEC or equivalent.
“Any organisation contemplating this up skilling approach needs to start planning NOW. We envisage that it will take 12-18 months for these roles to become fully productive. Any skills shortage will inevitably lead to higher salaries and lower average competence.
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