Skills shortages ‘possible’ by the end of 2011

Skills shortages ‘possible’ by the end of 2011

Job market experts’ expectations for the coming year

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The British IT industry could experience skills shortages by the end of this year due to the growth of e-commerce, a job market expert has warned.

Richard Nott, website director of specialist IT jobs website, cwjobs.co.uk, told Computerworld UK that certain skills areas may have shortages as companies look to develop their online presence, or make their IT more flexible to cope with rapid changes in the market.

“Agile and scrum [a form of agile software development] will be one area, and even traditional skills like C#, .Net, Java,” said Nott.

“Also, particularly web-based technology skills [may have a shortage] because as more and more companies go into an e-commerce environment, they will look for more technical people,” he said.

However, he added: “The shortages present opportunities for people.”

The opportunities would be especially relevant to public sector employees, said Nott, as the impact of central and local government-wide spending cuts start to be felt.

According to recruitment specialists Reed Technology, its public sector business is “subdued”.

“I fully expect this to be the lull before the storm,” said Andrew Gardner, operations director of Reed Technology.

“The cuts made in the spending review have been made and once the dust settles strategies such as encouraging tenders for smaller projects from SME consultancies rather than the usual behemoths will see smaller organisations benefit from bite-sized projects in 2011.”

Contrary to the low expectations for the public sector, Nott also expects the private sector to continue to grow, mainly driven by the growth in IT jobs in the finance and media markets.

Recruitment agency Reed Technology is similarly optimistic.

“The permanent market continues to pick up pace, with us performing at pre-recession levels now,” Gardner.

“Our financial services business is going from strength to strength as the banks continue to put systems consolidation and integration at the forefront of their plans. It’s almost poetic that the banks that dragged us into recession are now assisting the growth back out of recession in terms of the positive impact on the IT job market.”

Gardner said that there seemed to be a trend for banks to not just hire contractors to complete long-term consolidation and integration work, but also permanent technical IT staff, such as infrastructure specialists, technical architects and security specialists.

Meanwhile, Gardner believed that security and social media would be key concerns for retailers in 2011, and that they will recruit accordingly.

“With cyber attacks growing year on year online retailers will spend in this area. I also expect them to invest in maximising the benefits of social networking sites as a way of better understanding the customer versus the traditional loyalty card,” he said.

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