Outsourcing could mean skills shortage

Businesses need to plan for significant changes in the career development of IT staff as they outsource an increasing proportion of their IT development and operations work, Forrester Research said last week.

Businesses need to plan for significant changes in the career development of IT staff as they outsource an increasing proportion of their IT development and operations work, Forrester Research said last week.

Demand for programmers and operating staff will fall over the next few years, with many IT departments likely to reduce headcount significantly, as more work is outsourced, the analyst group said.

IT departments will focus their budgets away from ongoing operations to new projects, creating a strong demand for "white collar" IT staff - enterprise architects, project managers and business analysts.

But Forrester warned that the transition could lead to skills shortages within the next two years, with staff with specialist business and technology skills likely to be in short supply.

Research among 48 leading IT employers found that 36% plan to increase the percentage of IT work they outsource. Nearly half said they planned to employ fewer programmers and 47% said they would reduce the number of operational roles.

However, firms said they were increasing the number of staff with the business and analytical skills needed for the future: 43% said they were increasing the number of business analysts and 49% were adding strategy jobs.

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