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UK IT sector struggling to fill temporary labour gaps

Typically it is niche, specialist skills sets that are proving most difficult to find in the IT sector, with front-end IT roles currently attracting more candidates than back-end specialist roles. And, Tech Partnerships Employer Insights: skills survey 2015, suggests that one of the main reasons for the skills gap is lack of training for these harder to fill roles. 

Comensura researched the UK’s leading specialist recruitment agencies and found that although they are seeing more IT professionals now seeking temporary roles, there’s a particular lack of candidate availability in the following areas:

• Over 40% of recruiters struggle to fill IT development roles

• More than 38% admit that IT security candidates are difficult to find

• 25% of recruiters claim there is a lack of IT architecture specialists

Over 77% of recruiters agree that overall demand for temporary IT professionals will rise by at least 10% by next year and they will need to find innovative ways to address the skills gap as demand for certain roles increases against a lack of demand. 

Comensura recommends the following six points to help organisations work with recruitment companies to manage their IT skills gap:

1. The & lsquo;ideal’ IT candidate may simply not exist

Often managers are unrealistic about the variety of tech skills that they can expect from one candidate and often what is released as one job should really be covered by several different people with different skill sets.

2. Assess your IT needs before you request a candidate 

Plan ahead and identify the types of skills and experience required prior to recruiting, as cancelling vacancies may deter suitable candidates from applying in the future. Also, look at the technologies you are moving towards and hire based on these.

3. Talent mapping

Businesses need to do more IT talent mapping in order to understand their future needs and develop training and recruitment plans from them. They also need to understand if the technologies they are selecting are mainstream or niche, what demand there is for those specific skills and what the pay rates are.

4. Improve the recruitment process

Businesses should work with IT recruiters and be as flexible as possible to ensure the right candidates are found. It is imperative that the correct job specification has been uploaded and that you recruit the correct category. Businesses should allow for negotiable pay rates and let recruiters know as soon as possible if there is any urgency on timeframes. Also, where possible, provide flexibility on interviews.

5. More executive rates required

Often businesses offer yearly pro rata hourly rates for senior technical roles, which unfortunately don’t reflect the contractor market rates. Ensure the pay rates you offer are realistic.

6. Offer more support for training and development

Managing IT skills gaps is a major concern for organisations, which is why training is recommended to address these gaps. Types of training may include the use of internal resources, the use of free on-line training or considering private training providers.

Jamie Horton, managing director at Comensura said, “IT is no longer a niche and narrow career path, it is a vital part of every business and therefore candidates with the right skill sets are in high demand. 

"However, we know where the skills gaps lie, so recruiters and the businesses they work for need to work together to find innovative ways to widen the talent pool and make the roles on offer more attractive to talented candidates.”

"The research also revealed that business analysis, project management and database administration are the most supplied IT categories by recruitment agencies."

See the full research here: IT Professionals: The view from recruitment agencies


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