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Hybrid workforce model offers way forward, as IT staff shortages continue

Responsibility now rests firmly on the shoulders of private sector businesses to ensure that they can supply the growth of which the UK is still in need.

Figures released by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) last week drew attention to the need for highly skilled digital workers with businesses seeking vital innovation. Whilst the UK Labour Market report shows that there was a fall of three per cent in ICT vacancies in the last quarter, it does not obscure the overall eight per cent rise in ICT vacancies over the year.

With predictions that the UK will require over two million technical workers by 2020, these figures represent only a temporary blip in demand.[2] Despite the proliferation of coding academies and recent government initiatives such as the industry-focused Degree Apprenticeships, the statistics point to a palpable strain on the industry.

Farida Gibbs, CEO and Founder of Gibbs S3, observed that these figures point to fundamental challenges facing the fast-growing sector. In response to the ONS report, Farida commented: “Not enough is being done to up-skill and cross-train employees in order to prepare Britain to compete in a digital economy. The persisting imbalance is particularly damaging as the skills shortage is a massive cause of constrained innovation and growth in the private sector. Companies who are tied to traditional workforce structures are often unable to implement business critical projects due to a lack of technical knowledge and staff. We are regularly speaking to businesses that are consistently running on a skeleton workforce and they are clear about the damage this is causing.”

In an effort to address the staffing crisis, Gibbs S3 has embraced an innovative approach to staffing solutions which enables businesses to scale their technical workforces easily and at short notice to tackle crucial problems. Gibbs S3’s approach, known as a hybrid workforce model, allows rapid up-scaling of staff levels as well as offering consultancy project solutions, providing an alternative means of managing workforces in response to current economic trends. The hybrid solution is particularly suited to the unique challenges of IT staffing, but is also being used to great effect across a range of sectors including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and financial services, all key to the private sector’s continued success.

Gibbs added, “It is important for CEOs and business leaders to understand that this shortage is unlikely to change in the short-to-medium term, and that they must adapt accordingly. Collectively, we need to look at reimagining the very nature of a workforce to meet current needs in the industry. The conception of a & lsquo;workforce’ as a set number of employees working permanently for a business doesn’t work when applied to a sector experiencing far greater demand than supply. The business climate has changed, and companies are struggling to find the required skilled staff that this model requires. Companies should look to adopt more flexible staffing structures which release them to do what they do best – innovate. A hybrid workforce approach provides companies with the benefits of highly-skilled employees but without many of the risks of hiring a full-time employee.”

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