How the shortage of Skilled IT staff is effecting our UK economy

The Effect of the IT Skills Shortage in the UK

The IT sector plays a large role in the growth of the world’s future prosperity. The strain that technology companies are feeling concerning an IT skills shortage in the UK is having a major effect on the economy at large. In order to compete globally, tech company employees in the United Kingdom must maintain a high skill level. 

A CBI survey reported that 39 percent of organisations are struggling to recruit highly skilled workers with advanced (STEM) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math competencies. Though employment numbers are growing, career support and education has not matched up with this growth. The widening gap between prospective employers and their much-needed talent is only getting worse.

Some Companies are blaming this on simple “lack of talent.” Educational programs and STEM classes are not being pushed enough in schools. This lack of interest in acquiring the skills and knowledge required to work in the IT industry has taken its toll on companies within the sector. 

Realistically, because technology itself is expanding every day, it has been hard for educators to keep up with the latest trends and important developments. Teachers and professors won’t be able to practise and learn new skills in time to teach their pupils. Because technology develops at such a quick rate, by the time an educator feels comfortable enough to teach those competencies, they will already be out of date. Similarly, some companies cannot keep up with the training necessary to keep the employees they already have, up to date with the latest developments. 

Because IT plays a principal part in the growth and success in most modern companies and organisations, coding, programming, and other IT skills are becoming not only integral to the future of a business, but also completely necessary to any form of progress. However, many prospective IT programmers are disillusioned with what the UK IT market has to offer them. For economic and “quick fix” reasons, many companies choose to outsource their IT roles to the third world overseas. This can allow for less money spent, but also presents other problems like the language barrier, complicated tax situations, poor coding techniques and quality of work in many cases.

IT companies are now beginning to realise that the old recruitment strategy of passivity is no longer an option. In order to attract high-end talent, an organisation must be willing to offer those individuals job security, a well paying salary, and other rewards to keep them interested in working for the business. Outsourcing to places like India is no longer the best option and, frankly, puts many would-be British employees off. Because of the growth in this industry, perspective IT employees have more jobs to apply to and can afford to pick the best and most lucrative position offered to them. Less than ten years ago, this was not the case. 

The UK has enjoyed being a leader in the IT sector for many years. However, the IT skills shortage in the UK is having a dramatic effect on its future. Progress will not be made if organisations and would-be programmers cannot see eye-to-eye. Until this shortage has been directly addressed by action, the UK’s economy will suffer.

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