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Europe's Looming IT Skills Deficit Rising Retirement Rates Will Fuel A Renewed Skills Shortage

The conjunction of the acceleration of retirement rates with a significant decline in the numbers of European students graduating from IT-related courses leads many firms to fear an IT skills shortage beginning in 2006. The reality is more complex. Companies are evolving their IT skills needs to require fewer technicians and more business-oriented profiles, and will continue to outsource routine activities.

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The conjunction of the acceleration of retirement rates with a significant decline in the numbers of European students graduating from IT-related courses leads many firms to fear an IT skills shortage beginning in 2006. The reality is more complex. Companies are evolving their IT skills needs to require fewer technicians and more business-oriented profiles, and will continue to outsource routine activities. This shift in the enterprise impacts education and recruitment. In theory, the educational system should be able to rapidly create new programs to train IT/business analysts, architects, enterprise program managers, and vendor managers — skills that firms expect to need in greater numbers in the future; in practice, this will take too long to meet company demands. Other sources of talent, such as service providers, also need staff with technical skills — and the lack of new IT graduates gives them cause for concern, too. All the evidence indicates that Europe faces a serious risk of a shortage of IT skills. Companies need to take action now to support long-term IT competency needs and to pay close attention to the implications of renewed competition for the best talents.

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