IT giants join forces to tackle skills shortages

Twelve
of the biggest IT employers have united to fight the skills shortage that
threatens to create a human resources crisis for business.

They
predict that an extra one million people will be needed by the IT industry within
the next five years if the UK is to compete globally.

IBM,
Logica, Microsoft, Ericsson, Nortel and ARM are among the companies which have
signed up to the e-skills Employers’ Charter to tackle the growing shortage of
IT professionals.

The
employers produced the charter in response to research published by the
e-skills National Training Organisation which showed the skills shortage could
be eased by tackling the IT industry’s poor image and attracting more women to
the sector.

Launching
the charter, Minister for e-commerce Patricia Hewitt said, “There is no bigger
challenge in preparing Britain for the information age than solving the IT
skills crisis.

“It
is not surprising we have a shortfall of IT workers when employers are only
recruiting from half the potential talent.”

Jim
McKenna, group personnel director for Logica, thought the charter would help
employers tackle the problem collectively.

He
said, “We believe this will build on work already undertaken by Logica with
schools in trying to change the perception of a career in IT.”

Bill
Parsons, vice-president of human resources for ARM, said, “I support all the
initiatives in the charter but the most important one is encouraging young
people to consider the sector as a career when they are at school.”

The
launch of the charter ironically coincided with announcements by US computer
giants Compaq and Dell Computer that they are to shed 5,000 and 1,700 jobs
respectively.

What
companies will do to tackle skills crisis


Consider whether it is possible to standardise job titles across the UK in the
IT field


Look at ways to help schools to inspire young children in IT


Improve the way jobs are advertised through better wording or placement to
attract a wider cross-section of applicants


Make better use of the media to promote the importance and possibilities of the
IT industry


Learn from personnel policies of firms, which have a good record of recruiting
and retaining women

www.e-skillsnto.org.uk

By
Ben Willmott 

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