Employers concerned over IT staff skills gaps

Just
under six out of 10 employers (57 per cent) believe their IT staff require
additional skills.

The
figure, from the latest research from e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council
for IT, telecoms and contact centres, is an increase from the 2002 figure of 46
per cent.

E-skills
UK said the findings highlight the importance of developing the skills of
existing staff to increase industry productivity in the UK.

The
‘e-skills Regional Gap – UK’ report also found that programming and IT
operating system skills were most in demand.

In
terms of the supply pipeline of future industry professionals, the number of
candidates taking an IT-related subjects in secondary education continues to
increase every year.

In
the UK as a whole, more than 135,000 students took an IT-related GCSE in the
academic year ending in 2001, up from around 100,000 in 1998, with more than 50
per cent gaining grades A-C.

In
the same year, more than 27,000 students sat A Level Computer Studies or the
Scottish Higher exam, with some 75 per cent achieving a pass. More than 80,000
candidates completed a course equivalent to NVQ proficiency levels in 2002.

The
report also finds that IT workforces in London and South East expected to
shrink in next 12 months, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North are
expected to experience growth.

The
report recommends:


setting up programmes that will help employers increase the skills of their IT
professionals


encouraging schools to fully engage in IT education


addressing the specific issues identified within each region


strengthening links between employers and the higher and further education
sectors to ensure that course content and qualifications are relevant


prompting employers to take up employee assessment and development programmes


continuing to increase the number of GCSE-level computer science candidates and
the number of students taking numerate A Levels


ensuring that graduates are ready to enter the workplace.

www.e-skills.com

By Quentin Reade

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