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Almost one-third of IT workers think they need more training to enhance career

More than half of IT workers receive formal training from their employer, but many feel more needs to be done for them to advance, according to Computer Weekly research

Almost one-third of IT workers in the UK and Ireland think they need more formal training to progress in their IT career, according to a survey by Computer Weekly.

A study of Computer Weekly readers found that 56.7% of IT professionals are receiving some form of formal training or training funding from their employer, but 32.7% think they would need more training to go further.

Training has always been important to those in the technology industry due to the rapid pace of change. In 2016, 56% of those surveyed claimed continued education and training was important in achieving their career goals. 

As Brexit threatens the tech talent pool outside the European Union (EU), growing skills in the UK is becoming an important focus for firms hoping to avoid the widening technology skills gap, which is estimated to be costing the UK economy £63bn a year.

According to the survey, more than half of IT professionals in the UK and Ireland are receiving training from their employer, but only 15.8% said the training is regular, with most saying they are more likely to be taught new skills “when needed”.

For many, such training is aimed at specific products used in their organisation, and 32.4% do not receive certificates once the training is completed.

Where tech employees are receiving training, the most popular areas for training are ITIL, AWS, CCNA, Prince2 and SAP.

Many commentators believe collaboration between firms, education providers and the government is the only way to ensure that young people currently moving through the tech talent pipeline will have the skills that organisations need to fill empty tech roles.

As robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) threaten to automate certain aspects of the tech sector, many believe it will be increasingly important for firms to be flexible with staff roles and allow cross- or up-skilling to retain tech talent.

While 46.9% of the IT professionals surveyed said they are happy about not receiving any formal training, more than half said they feel that not receiving training is a hindrance to their career progression.

The tech sector in the UK and Ireland, much like other regions, appears to have loyal professionals working within it, with 19.6% of workers having been with their current employer for more than 15 years, according to the survey.

Read more about IT careers

  • IT-focused professional services company FDM has encouraged firms to adopt gender pay reporting after revealing a pay gap of 6% across the firm.
  • Edwina Dunn, chair of the Your Life campaign, says the tech industry must work harder to make students aware of Stem careers if it hopes to recruit more young people.

Receiving mentoring can help to retain talent in an organisation, and can be especially useful in keeping women in the industry. Just over 22% of the IT professionals questioned said they are receiving coaching or mentoring in their organisation.

Only 15% of the tech professionals said they are actively looking for new roles outside their company, the same amount as last year. Some 43.4% said although they are very happy with their role and their employer, they would be open to new opportunities. Only 3.6% said they would be looking to move to a different department.

A gender pay gap, as well as salary gaps between different ethnicities and minorities, is still prominent in the tech industry, and although technology professionals at high levels in an organisation are well paid, some appear to have static salaries.

Although 37.8% of those surveyed are based in London, where the price of living is high, 10.5% said they have not had a salary rise for more than three years.

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