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IT Skills Not Valued by Business Leaders


Business decision makers do not rate IT skills as highly as other softer skills, a Microsoft survey has found.

Released to coincide with the first anniversary of the publication of the Leitch Review of Skills, the survey quizzed over 500 top UK business leaders, 61 per cent of whom believed interpersonal and team working skills were more important than ICT skills.

There was, however, a difference in opinion between younger business decision makers, and those at boardroom level, with 28 per cent of respondents between 25 and 34 years-old stating that ICT skills were crucial for business success in today's workplace.

The survey also revealed that ICT skills were considered to be more important for future success. When respondents were asked which skills would be vital for job success in 10 years' time, ICT was ranked as the second most important skill, behind interpersonal and team building skills.

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, said: "One of the most important changes of the last 30 years is that digital technology has transformed almost everyone into an information worker. In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organisation to operate more effectively. That’s true for everyone from the retail store worker who uses a handheld scanner to track inventory to the CEO who uses business intelligence software to analyse critical market trends."

Will Hutton, CEO of The Work Foundation, said that a keen understanding of ICT is key in converting soft skills and creativity into added value. "Microsoft's Skills Barometer suggests that although business leaders do see a role for ICT in driving future success, this message has some way to go before a real change of attitude is adopted in the boardroom."

The Leitch review, published in December 2006, recommended a number of measures to overcome the skills gap in the UK economy. These ranged from increased employer engagement and investment in skills to developing new, academic qualifications, which would equip potential employees with sufficient skills to enter the workplace.


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