IT industry warned over lack of diversity

Unless
organisations make a effort
to hire IT staff from a broader age group, they could be facing dire skills
shortage in the coming years, new research warns.

A
study from Cambridge
University
shows that the effects of an ageing population could have a serious impact on
IT skills available to business. It shows that more than half of all IT
employees are under 35 and more than 80 per cent are under 45. Most IT workers
are also men.

If
this trend continues businesses will struggle to find enough IT recruits
because there are fewer young people and the average age of the population is
rising, according to Kerry Platman,
senior research associate at the faculty of social science political sciences.

Platman, who heads the Workforce
Ageing In The New Economy
research programme, said the IT industry is going to have to make better use of
its existing workforce as they get older.

It
will also have to recruit more widely among women and older workers, or face
skill shortages, which could see IT jobs and activities outsourced to other
countries.

“Central
to such vision is a highly trained, entrepreneurial and indigenous workforce
capable of exploiting the business opportunities of the ‘new’ information
economy," Platman said.

“This
requires strategic investment now to counter the worryingly low levels of women
in the industry, the impact of the recent downturn in the sector and the need
for lifelong learning for the whole workforce, irrespective of age,” he added.

By
Daniel Thomas

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