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IT must broaden recruitment or face skills shortage

Lindsay Clark

New population research shows that unless IT departments make a effort to hire staff from a broader age group, they could be facing dire skills shortage in the coming years.

The study from Cambridge University shows that the effects of an aging population could have a serious impact on IT skills available to business. It shows that more than half IT employees are under 35 and more than 80% are under 45. Men also dominate IT employment.

If this trend continues businesses will struggle to find enough IT recruits because there are fewer young people and the average age of the population is aging, according to Kerry Platman, senior research associate at the faculty of social science political sciences.

The IT industry is going to have to make better use of its existing workforce when they get older. It will also have to recruit more widely among women and older workers, or face skill shortages which could see even more IT jobs and activities exported abroad, said Platman who heads the Workforce Ageing In The New Economy research programme.

"Central to such vision is a highly trained, entrepreneurial and indigenous workforce capable of exploiting the business opportunities of the 'new' information economy. This requires strategic investment now to counter the worryingly low levels of women in the industry, the impact of recent IT down-turn and the need for lifelong learning for the whole workforce, irrespective of age," she said.


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