IT skills shortage forces employers to train staff

A lack of employable IT candidates will worsen the skills shortage and force employers to train IT staff, according to research.

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A lack of employable IT candidates will worsen the skills shortage and force employers to train IT staff, according to research.

The proportion of people looking for work or open to opportunities in IT has dropped to 28% in the last quarter, compared to 42% a year ago, research of 5,000 IT workers conducted by SkillsMarket Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo).

The decline in IT candidates prepared to change jobs is marrying as demand for IT skills in many sectors of the economy is currently strong. Rates for many skills are as high as during the late 90s dot com boom, according to ATSCo.

Demand for IT skills is so high, employers may need to offer more generous compensation packages than they have budgeted for in order to get the skills they need, according to Ann Swain, chief executive, ATSCo.


"Low liquidity in the IT jobs market can become a problem as it tends to hamper skills development. Workers are far more likely to acquire new skills by changing jobs, so if they are not moving employers will have to spend more on formal training," she said.

"After the dot com crash a lot of IT professionals were either without work or unable to change jobs due to unfavourable conditions. As demand for IT skills improved over the last few years, a lot of candidates came onto the market, but what we are seeing now is the end of that cycle as many candidates will have completed a move in the last few years," she added.

Many organisations have reinstated the retention policies for IT workers, such as share options, which were shelved at the end of the dot com boom, according to ATSCo. The increasing value of these benefits may be persuading more IT workers to stay longer in their current positions.

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