IT loses out to finance in Scotland

Scotland’s booming financial services sector is resulting in a widespread
shortage of IT professionals according to a leading Scottish recruitment
company.

Edinburgh-based Melville Craig, whose turnover has grown from £2m to £50m in
10 years, says that demand for staff to work in the Internet and e-commerce
sectors – particularly relating to the financial sector – is producing a skills
shortage. This is driving up wages for staff and leading to gaps being filled
by foreign staff.

The company foresees a crisis in the next couple of years if action is not
taken to fulfil the growing demand.

Liz Donnelly, Melville Craig IT director, explained, "This is a skills
shortage which has become more apparent as projects which were put on hold
while we were in the pre-millennium period are being pushed forward. The demand
for individuals with Internet development skills, particularly with computer
language, are now at a premium."

She added, "This is a global issue, but there are initiatives being
undertaken to try and ease these shortages, including in-house training for
software developers and an increase in the use of contract workers."

One possible solution has already been developed at Edinburgh’s Napier
University where a pilot financial and IT course – devised after consultation
with 10 financial services companies – has 24 students due to complete their
studies in two years.

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