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Skills shortage caused by IT industry dragging its feet over training

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According to a report by IT news service silicon.com,the IT industry has plunged itself into the current skills crisis by failing to invest heavily enough in training. Bill Mather, CEO of government-backed training organisation TS2K has blamed the IT industry itself for the current IT skills shortage for failing to invest in adequate training for employees.
He said: "There are huge skills shortages, there are people that are fast-tracking with new technologies, and other people that have got no access whatsoever and the industry is just not there."

Perhaps not suprisingly, he placed the greater part of the blame on the industry rather than the government's own attempts to improve the skills shortage. Silicon.com cites a recent government survey which says there is a shortfall of about 100,000 IT workers in the UK. The recent report from the Skills Task Force estimates the IT sector will need half a million workers over the next ten years, but at the same time points to illiteracy rates of 25 per cent.

The often-cited excuse that it speeds up the rate at which employees move on to other jobs does not hold water, says Michael Bennett, director of permanent recruitment at Best International Group: "This argument is self-defeating. An employee will always be more likely to go to a company where training is offered - someone has to start somewhere...the industry on very few occasions is doing anything about training. It has helped create the problem, but isn't doing anything about it."

Mike Ryan, director general of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers argued however that the nature of the type of work and number of contractors in the industry meant it was illogical to assume that employers should be footing the bill for their training: "With most work done by contractors or short-term staff, what incentive is there for companies to train their staff? Employers just can't afford to invest in training people up for them to take their skills elsewhere."

IT recruitment companies have also been accused recently of worsening the IT skills shortage in the UK by discriminating candidates over the age of 35.



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