90,000 opportunities to improve UK IT

We are constantly being told that the private sector will rescue the economy and create jobs – well now we have proof that the IT sector is doing its bit.

Our exclusive salary survey shows that there are nearly 90,000 job vacancies for IT professionals in the UK, a 7.6% increase on the same time last year. Once public sector IT staff find out their fate, there are plenty of corporate IT departments waiting for you.

We have all heard for years about skills shortages in IT – recruitment figures on this scale suggest it is not so much a lack of skills as simply a shortage of people. What we don’t know – and this is inevitably harder to gauge – is how many IT experts are out of work and looking for a job.

In recent years, that lack of labour has meant many firms turning to offshore resources – but if the government goes ahead with its immigration cap this route could be harder to take. David Cameron has said that intra-company transfers (ICTs) are likely to be excluded from the cap – which is highly significant for IT because this is the route by which the big offshore providers bring their staff into the UK. But now the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the government on the level at which the cap should be set, has said that targets will not be met unless ICTs are reduced.

It seems increasingly likely the government will put a salary threshold on ICTs below which an overseas worker cannot be brought into the UK. That will open up more opportunities for UK IT professionals, and potentially erode the cost benefit of some offshore services.

Perhaps, as a result, such a situation would encourage more IT employers to put their faith in youth and offer jobs for young people to bring more of the next generation into the IT workforce. Perhaps it might even persuade firms to bring the scandalously low proportion of women in IT up to more acceptable levels.

Those 90,000 vacancies present an opportunity to improve many things for UK IT.