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IT graduates 'lack business skills' needed to meet job demands

Despite increased demand for IT staff in the past year, graduate candidates with technical skills lack necessary business know-how, according to a report.

The study by The Open University suggests that 43% of employers reported a lack of suitable candidates for IT and telecoms roles due to a lack of business knowledge surrounding relationship management, business process analysis and design, project and programme management.

The demand for IT staff in recent months has fuelled concerns of a shortage of graduates with technical ability.

"Added to these concerns is a growing recognition that technical skills alone are not enough. Increasingly, IT professionals must have a core business knowledge to cope with managing lifecycles, relationship management and project management," said the report.

The study calls on universities and higher education providers to work with employers to develop graduates' academic and technical expertise through work-based learning.

"With the future UK IT growth likely to focus primarily on high-value business-focused roles, it's vital for the future economic contribution of our sector that work-based learning is incorporated into the development of our IT professionals right from the start," said Kevin Streater, executive director for IT and telecoms at the OU.

The OU said this was also important for the development of IT as a profession.

A Royal Society report released this week said an overhaul of A-levels and better teaching are needed to boost the numbers of young people progressing to science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in higher education.


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