Guide highlights shortage of IT skills – and lack of women in sector

The
proportion of women working in the IT sector has fallen from 29 per cent in
1994 to 18 per cent in 2001, according to the National Computing Centre.

The
figures are revealed in the NCC’s Best Practice Guide to IT Skills –
Recruitment and Retention, which has just been released. The report is aimed at
IT decision makers responsible for planning and implementing staff recruitment
and retention strategies for the function.

It
highlights the estimated shortage in the UK of between 50,000 to 70,000 skilled
IT professionals.

The
guide emphasises that the shortage is of people with the right skills, not a
shortage of IT practitioners.

The
guide is underpinned by the NCC’s independent surveys of IT spending and
salaries, and is the first publication from the IT Skills Knowledge Network.

It
identifies some clear findings, including that effective training and clear
career development paths are the best way to retain staff, and the growing need
for diversity in the workplace.

The
publication finds that flexible rewards and benefits schemes are increasingly
sought by staff and advises employers to understand their skills requirements
and develop skills strategies.

The
importance of work-life balance issues is also highlighted by the guide.

A
spokesman for the NCC said,  "UK
plc needs to take effective steps to remedy a serious shortage of IT
practitioners with the right IT skills, and this affects a wide range of
organisations.

"Initiatives
from Government have been under way for some time, but there is a continuing
need for dissemination and implementation of best practice advice. Through the
Knowledge Networks initiative, NCC consults with participants and disseminates
broad consensus thinking on business critical IT issues."

By Ben Willmott

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