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IT skills crisis looms as companies cut staff training

IT skills crisis looms as companies cut staff training

Companies are facing a talent crisis, as they can’t afford to train existing staff and struggle to recruit skilled hires, according to data from Modis International [Modis], a global leader in IT recruitment.

The poll of senior IT leaders suggests that ongoing economic uncertainties and departmental cuts are changing the IT recruitment landscape. Over a third of companies (36%) are struggling to implement IT strategies due to concerns over staff capabilities. At the same time, ongoing budget restrictions are hampering their ability to address skills gaps. While in 2010, 71% planned to provide training and development to upskill their workforce, in 2011 this has fallen to 29%.

Instead, nearly a quarter (23%) of IT leaders said they plan to recruit specialist temporary contractors to provide the necessary expertise. However, sourcing quality candidates is a challenge for 27% of respondents, rising to 44% in larger companies, as they increasingly look for strategic and commercial skills alongside technical abilities.

Jim Albert, Managing Director, Modis said: “The IT industry is in danger of a skills crisis. When the economy inevitably heats up, the war for talent – already being seen in the market – will heighten. Contractors are an ideal resource for short-term projects to provide specific expertise, but upskilling permanent staff remains important for the long-term outlook of any business – and indeed of the industry as a whole.

“Ongoing training is not only vital to ensure staff keep pace with ever-evolving technology, it can also boost employee retention – cited as a major challenge by 20% of respondents. Our recommendation is that employers seek to harness the skills of existing staff and create internal training sessions to build greater capacity within their IT teams. As best practice some companies are using recruiters to jointly train their contract and permanent staff to build a high performance team with strong project delivery skills, alongside technical skills.”

The findings are from the State of the IT Market Report 2011, a survey of 250 senior IT decision makers (predominantly Directors and Heads of IT) from UK businesses of varying sizes and from a range of sectors. Respondents were asked a series of questions to gauge their view of the changing role of IT within their organisations.

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