UK facing IT "skills timebomb", warns Ovum

Offshore software and IT services firms will double their staff numbers in the next three years, but UK businesses are still facing an IT “skills timebomb”, industry analysts have warned.

Offshore software and IT services firms will double their staff numbers in the next three years, but UK businesses are still facing an IT “skills timebomb”, industry analysts have warned.

A study of global sourcing by analyst firm Ovum has revealed that the number of people delivering software and IT services to the UK from offshore locations is set to rise sharply from 66,000 to 131,000 over the next three years.

At the same time, the number of software and IT services staff employed in the UK – currently close to 250,000 - is set to fall by around 5,000 a year as offshoring increases.

But senior Ovum analyst Phil Codling warned that although the UK would see job losses in lower level technical roles, call centres, helpdesk services and back-office corporate administration, businesses faced a serious skills shortage in higher level roles that require both business and technical skills.

“Potentially there is a skills timebomb there,” he warned. “Business leaders really need to focus on developing those key business and technical skills to develop the next generation of programme managers and business architects who can really make a difference.

“Although the overall demand for IT jobs will go down, some of the really critical skills are going to be more and more in demand and could become very scarce.”

He added: “You need local skills for those jobs – you can’t bring it in from offshore.”


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