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Businesses report skills gap worsening

The number of firms reporting IT skills shortages has gone up and the business consequences of the shortages are worsening.

The latest quarterly e-skills UK ICT Inquiry shows that the percentage of firms reporting IT skills gaps increased in the first quarter of the year, and that the consequent impact of these gaps on UK businesses reached the highest level recorded in a year.

The findings show that the percentage of firms reporting a skills gap increased from 12% to 14%, but on the impact scale of 0-100, where 0 is “no effect” and 100 is “company closure”, firms reporting gaps in the skills of IT staff rated the effects at a worrying 48.

Karen Price, chief executive officer of e-skills UK, said, “Although the ICT skills gap only marginally increased in the first quarter of this year, this research shows that the impact of skills issues is potentially very damaging for organisations.”

Other findings from the ICT Inquiry, which is based on the opinions of over 1,000 business, IT and HR leaders, show that on average, each IT position advertised externally will attract around 26 applications.

However, just seven of these applicants will fully match the requirements set out within the job description

In addition, 20% of IT recruiters said they had difficulties finding applicants with the required level of skills/knowledge – a rise from the 17% reported in the fourth quarter of last year.

Despite skills gaps being more common, 20% of firms surveyed said they would still not train staff over the coming year.

On average, it takes 42 days to recruit a new IT professional, compared with 32 days for other workers, said e-skills UK.

e-skills UK is a not-for-profit, employer-led organisation, licensed by the government as the sector skills council for IT and telecoms.

 

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