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New REC research offers call to arms for recruiters to help bridge huge IT skills gap

New REC research offers call to arms for recruiters to help bridge huge IT skills gap

New research published today by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation shows a continuing critical shortage of new candidates in Information and Communications technologies.

The paper Skills Shortages in the ICT Workplace  published by REC Technology, the dedicated group for recruitment agencies working in the ICT sector, highlights the key role recruiters can play in helping to bridge the skills shortages gap.

This includes working more closely with schools, colleges and employers to paint a more positive picture of what working in a modern IT and technology environment now looks like.

It also spells out a very real need to address the current skills shortage so that the necessary skills are in place to help the UK maintain its global competitiveness both in the short term and in the technology-driven markets of the future.

“While the demand for more advanced technology-based skills is not new, the recent economic crisis has increased the urgency of addressing the gap between available skills and what the market demands,” the report states.

The research paper puts forward a series of recommendations on how recruitment agencies, in tandem with schools, universities and employers can work together more closely to address the current shortage of young people either taking ICT-related courses and qualifications.

These include:

Offering expert careers advice to students at events such as school open days, careers and graduate conventions to provide positive real life examples of what it is like to work in IT and to debunk some of myths surrounding working in this sector

Provide in-house agency services to candidates which are based on expert knowledge of both local and national employment needs

Share recruitment expertise with employers to build loyalty and develop the IT talent pipeline. This can include research into identifying the universities which are best for specific IT roles.

The report stresses that employers and their recruitment agencies both have a key role to play in addressing the issues which have led to the IT skills shortages.

Commenting on the findings of the research, Jeff Brooks, Chair of REC Technology , said: “The number of vacancies within our sector has held up throughout the economic downturn because employers are investing more in IT to enhance productivity, reduce costs and drive their future growth.

“For example, the retail sector has rapidly multiplied it use of e-commerce platforms to boost trade and without the necessary IT skills and expertise it will be increasingly difficult for them to sustain their growth of this essential sales channel.”

He added: “However, shortages currently being experienced give IT recruiters and their clients an ideal opportunity to influence the skills agenda both in the short and long term.  Educators, employers, recruiters and the Government really need to get to grips with the whole issue to find practical, workable solutions for providing the relevant information which will help influence and inspire increasing numbers of young people to consider a career in IT.

“For recruiters working in this sector, signing up to the REC’s Youth Employment Charter is an ideal way for them to pledge their support in working closely with schools, colleges and employers in helping to provide the guidance and advice that young people need when making crucial career decisions.”

Skills Shortages in the ICT Workplaceis being launched at REC Technology’s meeting on October 13. Copies of the report are available by visiting www.rec.uk.com/about-recruitment/research

The Youth Employment Charter is a recently launched initiative through which members pledge to help reduce youth unemployment and showcases good practice in the recruitment industry to reach out to the next generation of workers.  For more information about the Charter, go to: http://www.rec.uk.com/about-recruitment/externalrelations/youthemploymentcharter

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