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Digital skills shortage is hitting employers

Karl Flinders

IT contractors with digital skills can earn £500 per day as the expected shortage of IT professionals with the right digital skills begins to unfold and demand continues to increase.

Skills in the web, mobile and social networking sectors have continued to be in demand despite the economic slowdown in recent years. Figures from a European Commission report expect the UK will have a shortage of 100,000 people to fill IT jobs in the next few years. In Europe, including the UK, the skills shortage is expected to reach 700,000.

Recruitment company JM Group says the shortage is already revealing itself. The company’s specialist digital recruitment arm, JM Digital, reports that the lack of supply of digital IT workers is becoming a real issue for many companies.

The company says there was an 18% increase in demand for digital skills over the last three months, which was particularly driven by increased use of mobile devices and social media websites.

The company said more firms are setting up in London, which is driving demand in the UK.

“With the UK being seen as Europe’s equivalent to Silicon Valley, demand is also being driven by the increasing number of companies moving to London. These range from start-ups to multinationals from the UK, Europe and further afield,” said Dave Pye, CEO of the JM Group.

Established IT companies such as Google, Cisco, Intel and Facebook, have also set up some operations in TechCity, London’s technology hub.

“The demand for digital IT workers is continuing to grow at a rapid rate but the supply of individuals with these skills is yet to catch up,” said Pye. “While this is causing issues for companies right now, this problem is only going to get worse as the digital economy is set to explode over the next few years.”

According to JM Group, the skills in highest demand include developers, user experience designers and digital project managers across social media, e-commerce and mobile/tablet platforms. The company also found that demand for user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) skills rose by around 11% in the last three months while demand for digital project managers increased 6% in the same period.

David Young, head of JM Digital, says the rising demand for digital skills is showing no signs of abating: “If you are an IT contractor, the digital sector is the place to be at the moment. Especially when you consider that digital IT contractors with experience in mobile/tablet platforms or social media can now be earning as much as £500 per day.”


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