The IT industry is one of the sectors that is expected to witness the most significant levels of growth over the next few years. It’s also experiencing a critical skills shortage that is affecting employers ability to hire staff which IT recruiters are only too aware of. This guide explains why.
In 2016, more than £6.8 billion was invested in the digital tech industry. The turnover of the industry exceeded £170billion. That marked a £30 billion increase over five years. It is expected that the IT industry will continue to grow by 12% over the next decade. Despite this, there is a significant skill shortage in this sector. The number of people with the right qualifications and skills to fill crucial positions in this industry is not matching the level of demand.
It is difficult if not impossible to point to one factor that is causing the IT skills gap that the industry is currently facing. The harsh reality is that there are several variables that have swarmed together to create the perfect storm. This includes the fact that technology is growing at a rapid pace. The tech that used to be at the core of processes last year is now obsolete in 2021. Professionals are constantly under pressure to upskill and develop niches or specialities.
Then there are economic factors such as Brexit and COVID-19. The level of EU IT talent has slightly declined in the wake of Brexit although this could be reversed as the UK economy recovers more quickly than the EU and other Western nations following COVID-19. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the younger generation was also unable to get the training and support they needed to advance their career and learn new skills. Essentially, they hit a roadblock, and businesses are now not in the position where they have the resources or the funds to provide the right training.
Despite the numerous issues causing the IT skill shortage, there are options available. One possibility would be to explore more advanced forms of technology. A recent G2O think tank has already explored the benefits of AI tech and suggested that it is key to combating the skill shortage. This is largely tied to the necessity to upskill. It includes the promotion of interactive AI for learning new skills as a crucial aid rather than as a replacement for teachers who are already working in the field.
Other studies have suggested that diversity could be the answer. A recent report noted that a team that is gender diverse is more likely to be profitable on the market. Similar, culturally diverse teams are more likely to resonate with a consumer group. One specific problem that can be combated with a focus on diversity is ageism. Research shows that age discrimination begins to impact people in the IT industry around the age of 29. If this issue can be combated it will open up the industry for more workers.
It’s clear then that there are challenges ahead that need to be tackled to combat the current IT skills shortage. But there are also solutions. For instance, it’s important in the wake of COVID-19 to offer more opportunities for workers already in employment and job seekers to learn and upskill from home in order to further their careers in information technology. Upskilling is one of the main actions to explore, even if it is one of the most expensive.