British employers face a growing IT skills gap – not just in specialised IT professionals or computer literate staff, but also managers and leaders capable of incorporating IT into the very strategy of the business.
This was the message the sector skills council (SSC) for IT, e-skills UK, put directly to the secretary of state for education Charles Clarke earlier this month at a special meeting with university vice-chancellors and industry leaders, including Larry Hirst, chief executive of IBM UK and chair of e-skills UK.
The skills gap is one of the greatest threats to UK competitiveness, delaying new product development and increasing operating costs, according to a report commissioned by e-skills.
At the meeting, Hirst and other captains of industry made the case for genuinely embedding IT across all degree programmes, says Margaret Sambell, director of strategy for e-skills.
“We’re talking about the strategic exploitation of IT for future leaders,” says Sambell. “There is currently no widespread approach to addressing what is a growing need for business, and this is the first time these key players have come together in this way. It’s very exciting.”