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Skills crisis threatens to derail customer growth ambitions

Getting hold of talent is top of the list of concerns for UK tech leaders and is causing many of them to cast doubts over the prospects for the industry in the next couple of years

Forget Brexit and trade wars the main worry for many tech chiefs in the UK is that progress in the industry will be halted by the ongoing skills crisis.

Getting hold of talent has been a problem for decades in the IT industry but in a world where everyone wants always-on, real-time transformation the challenges of getting skilled staff is becoming more acute.

Research yesterday from Logicalis revealed that many CIOs feel under pressure trying to keep-the-lights-on as well as playing a more strategic role bringing innovation to the business. Adding to the sense that the average IT department is coming under increasing strain are findings from hospitality player trivago, which has canvassed opinions across the world to get a sense of what tech leaders are expecting in the next couple of years.

A top concern for those that were quizzed in the UK was the difficulty getting hold of talent with many viewing that as a problem that came ahead of Brexit and getting hold of company funding.

Europe was seen by many as the current winner in the war for talent, with many in the US viewing startups on this side of the Atlantic as challenging American rivals for the attentions of the best and brightest people.

As a result the overall feeling among those in executive positions at both US and European tech firms was that trouble was brewing in the next couple of years and it could hit the industry hard.

“The technology industry is critical to the economies of both the U.S. and the E.U. in driving innovation, jobs and growth,” said Axel Hefer, CEO, trivago.

“It’s important to us that we keep a pulse on the industry as it changes at such a rapid pace. The findings reflect many of the pain-points and concerns we faced starting out and becoming a fast-growing global tech company, and currently face today. For us, it is unsurprising that concerns over the wider economy are high in the minds of tech leaders on both sides of the Atlantic," he added.

Although most tech leaders felt that the industry might face testing times in the near future they expressed confidence about the prospects for their own businesses.

"While the wider economy is still a concern, we are enthusiastic that a majority of the leaders we surveyed have great confidence in the prospects of their own companies and of the overall industry," said Hefer.

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