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Tech workers confirm UK skills gap still a problem

Discussion in 'News' started by wagnerk, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator


    Tech workers confirm UK skills gap still a problem

    Research by tech jobs site The IT Job Board has found the majority (56 percent) of UK tech workers that responded to its survey are convinced there is a skills shortage in the UK tech sector.

    Sector skills body e-skills UK said around 140,000 vacancies a year need to be filled across IT professions, yet pointed out the UK only has around 12,000 computer science grads annually.

    A large majority (72 percent) of the survey respondents also believed the skills gap is growing year-on-year. Asked why there is a skills shortage in the UK, more than half (55 percent) of respondents cited rapid changes within the IT sector, with the same proportion blaming a lack of IT pros.

    Read the whole story here.

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    1. Miro
      yes but eee...but eee....but:D
      So why it is so hard to get on the IT Job Ladder. Cause all they need is high or very high skilled people. And how can you find them if they do not have chance to become experienced.
    2. Sparky
      Finding the right person for that high skilled job is a nightmare, far too many people out there that talk BS hence the skills shortage.
    3. greenbrucelee
      And this were they need to put more emphasis on braindumpers and people who talk BS.

      This is unrelated to the tech world but I am sure similar situations have happend: A friend of mine went to Austrailia travelling for a year and did odd jobs such as plumbing when he was over there. When he came back he got a plumbing job purely on the BS he talked at the interview about his work in Austrailia. His job mainly involved going around to peoples houses and assessing their needs and the correct placement of water meters he got £14.95 an hour, his employers never even followed up his cv or anything, he was given the job based on the speel he came out with.

      My point is if employers don't follow up peoples applications for jobs correctly then there will be an inevitable decline in standards. So employers are as much to blame as the employees who cheat or talk BS.
    4. dmarsh
      I partly agree with bruce, I've witnessed some real disasters largely created by the laziness of various HR departments.

      I can't really say I agree with the premise though, add up IT grads from other countries that immigrate to the UK, add in a few engineering, maths, physics and other grads. Add in all the people that train by non conventional routes.

      I don't see that much evidence to be honest. I've seen far more competent engineers in my career than managers. Most of the incompetent people in IT in my experience have either Business / IT or Business backgrounds, I can't see them getting weeded out anytime soon since they market themselves on their combined skillset not just tech skills.

      Other fields suffer the same problem, theres always going to be a thinning out at the top, look at pilots, professors, doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants.

      Daily I witness quite ridiculous job specs and attitudes from recruiters, they create their own shortages with their poor recruitment techniques, if people are so hard to find why do they state as mandatory 20+ rare skills half of which are nice to haves ? Why don't they focus on core skills ?

      A lot of this seems to be about cost reduction, a bigger labour market might lower rates of pay, why would someone who has trained hard for 10+ years want to earn a low wage ? I've met seasoned IT pros who were cross training to be lawyers etc, why do you think they would do this ?

      I think theres a reason why people don't study Computer Science or Science in general. That is because society shows people there are far easier ways to make a living.

      If companies pay the salaries and show the career paths, if they approach universities and partner on courses then in 5+ years the problem (if it exists) would be solved. If companies invested in training to meet their own demands then again the problem would dissipate. Thats how the systems are designed to work.

      Will there still be much of an industry left in 5+ years time or will it all be offshored to India or other developing countries ?

      I've trained in IT continuously for 16 years, I STILL struggled to land my last job. I really wouldn't listen to the hacks that churn this stuff out.

      The motor industry had thousands of companies for 50 years, now we have a couple of hundred, who knows what will happen to the IT sector in the next 20 years...
    5. onoski
      Skills, experience or qualification gone are the days when just those three combined would land you a job in a twinkle of an eye.

      The bottom line is that society in general is becoming more literate in computing or using computers and hence the need for one with a little more edge would continue.
    6. kevicho
      I think the whole IT skills shortage is rubbish, we have a shortage of decent jobs, and outsourcing is crippling the low end market where people arent getting to cut there teeth anymore.

      One of the main issues is there is a huge gulf in understanding between IT and other departments such as HR, and indeed with most departments, however with comunities such as the BCS encouraging soft skills then I can see this improving over time.

      I think IT departments need to take a more proactive role, and learn how to sell IT.
      In a way business IT is useful as to a certain extent it provides a gateway for this, but the problem is as dmarsh said most of the people in this category are business people with a little IT experience, as opposed to the other way around.
    7. dmarsh
      So less than half agree with the premise of the survey, at best its roughly 50/50 so no conclusion can be drawn unlike the phrasing of the article.

      Less unfilled vacancies this year, this tends to indicate the gap is closing not widening, at least this year, unlike the articles conclusion.

      A critical word 'NEW' is missing, 140,000 vacacies could just be normal churn, it does not indicate demand in itself. If its churn on a large market then we could already have oversupply. The two figures therefore cannot be compared without more information.

      This is an excellent comment on the original article that seems to hit the issues on the head :-


      It appears the article and survey is a rather biased attempt by the IT job board to drum up business...
    8. hbroomhall
      Like so many surveys......

    9. BosonMichael
      I think the discrepancy is this: there ISN'T a shortage of people who want to get IT jobs, but there IS a shortage of people who are capable of doing the IT jobs that employers require. Sure, there's a bunch of people who THINK they know what they're doing... but really have no business doing the jobs that are often left unfilled.
    10. dmarsh
      This goes both ways as well, I've seen many jobs held open by employers with unrealistic expectations, some positions are left unfilled for 12+ months, kinda makes you wonder how critical the position really is if they can leave it empty for 12 months without it affecting their business ? If the person to fill and the position is that critical how can they leave it unfilled ?

      Also as the link I posted mentioned, many employers simply aren't prepared to pay market rates or offer an attractive package, many don't even treat their employees very well at all frankly, its no wonder they struggle to fill the positions...

      This equates to the 'There are not enough grads' or 'We need to outsource', the only way they can get people to take the jobs is to go for grads or overseas labour. Of course this cannot always be extended to the senior positions.
    11. BosonMichael
      They usually have one person doing the work of two (or a group of x people doing the job that should be done by x+1 people). Can't overwork people forever... but if there aren't any TRULY qualified people, it's better to keep the position unfilled than filled with someone who can't do the job.

      On the other hand, you've got grads who come out of school expecting to make huge bucks in IT... which simply isn't going to happen.

      Sure, there are employers who aren't prepared to pay what "market rates" really are... but "market rate" isn't what many new grads OR employers think it is.

      And then they typically get unqualified, unskilled (albeit educated) people... compounding the "screaming" about "not enough skilled IT labor available".

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