Northern Ireland has most severe IT skills shortage in UK

The ICT jobs market in Northern Ireland is experiencing a greater skills shortage than the rest of the UK, according to e-skills UK.

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The ICT jobs market in Northern Ireland is experiencing a greater skills shortage than the rest of the UK, according to e-skills UK.

E-skills UK has published its third Northern Ireland "ICT Snapshot" report.

The Snapshot shows that while fewer ICT companies recruited in 2010, they took on larger volumes of staff.  Currently nine percent of ICT companies have vacancies for professionals, and professional skills shortages remain more common in NI than elsewhere in the UK.

The report also found nearly half (45 percent) of ICT companies in Northern Ireland are more optimistic about the outlook for their business than they were in mid-2010. The state of the global economy, government debt and the availability of business are the overriding factors for concern.

The recruitment outlook for 2011, although down on 2010, is still positive though, said e-skills UK, with nearly a quarter of ICT companies expecting to recruit IT and telecoms professionals over the next six months.

However, nearly one in five (18 percent) of ICT companies anticipate that recruitment over the next six months "will be difficult" mainly due to a lack of skills, qualifications and experience in applicants.

Recruitment is predominantly in the area of software development with technical skills most commonly sought after being in SQL, .NET, SQL Server, JDBC, Java, C#, PHP, JavaScript, C++ and HTML.

The ICT Snapshot draws on results from a survey of more than 300 employers of ICT professionals in Northern Ireland.

Last month, e-skills UK said the UK IT and telecoms industry needs more than 110,000 new recruits to just meet this year’s demand.

The sector skills council said that employment in the IT industry is expected to grow at 2.19 percent a year over the next decade – nearly five times faster than the UK sector average of 0.45 percent.

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