Three-quarters of IT heads can't find the staff with the right skills

Three-quarters (74 percent) of IT leaders have experienced difficulty recruiting staff with the necessary skills and experience they require, according to research.

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Three-quarters (74 percent) of IT leaders have experienced difficulty recruiting staff with the necessary skills and experience they require, according to research.

Commissioned by IT services firm Reconnix, the research found that only 12 percent of those responsible for hiring technology-related positions believed there was an ample supply of candidates adequately skilled for the jobs on offer.

This, however, was in stark contrast to the optimism of 82 percent of current technology students and graduates, who remain positive with regard to their employment prospects, despite the employers’ belief that skills and experience were lacking.

The Gap Years study surveyed 100 UK-based IT leaders and contrasted their opinions against a further 200 technology students and graduates, to aggregate their thoughts on the issues affecting the current IT job market in the UK.

Despite a continued drive from the government to promote the uptake of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, the report identified a number of key technical areas currently facing a "talent drought".

Web application development (38 percent), internet and networking (36 percent) and data analysis (34 percent) were all highlighted as talent black spots for employers.

Support roles proved more alluring to students and graduates with server support (38 percent) and desktop support (34 percent) being the two most popular preferred job roles.

In contrast, only 18 per cent of students were considering careers in either data analysis or networking, despite these being the hardest roles to fill for employers.

“The technology sector is currently facing a massive challenge in finding the properly qualified staff it needs to grow," said Pat Nice, CEO of Reconnix. “The UK tech sector has been one of the darlings of the UK’s economic recovery but its full potential will not be reached as long as companies face difficulty in filling key technical positions.”

Nice said: “Optimism from current students and graduates is encouraging to see following years of uncertainty, but the reality is that many are not at the level that employers need them to be at. Graduates are leaving university with a broad understanding of technology, but lacking critical skills that employers actually require.

"Employers need to take a more hands-on approach to help develop talent in the industry, whether this is working more closely with education establishments or directly training through apprenticeship programmes.”

The research comes after it was recently announced that a new employer-backed undergraduate degree in software development will be available at universities across the country from this autumn.

The Software Development for Business degree has been designed by tech employers to combine high quality teaching and learning in software application, business practice and employability skills. It is being delivered in partnership with employer body e-skills UK.

Companies including Accenture, BT, IBM, the BBC, Intel, Tata Consultancy Services and General Dynamics have worked with academics to devise the course content.

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