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CIF: Skills gap not just an issue for school leavers

The Cloud Industry Forum has talked up the need for on the job training to help those currently in work gain more relevant skills

Whenever the topic of skills shortages is raised the focus settles on education with questions being asked of whether or not school children and students are being armed with the sort of knowledge that is going to help businesses.

Although questions of education are highly relevant a few tricks might be missed if the debate does not also cover the current workforce.

A warning that everyone needs to be on board to get skilled up to support digital transformation comes from the Cloud Industry Forum, which is also warning of the consequences of failing to do so.

Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, said that the government had raised the spectre of skills shortages with an estimate from the Science and Technology Committee putting the figure lost through a lack of skilled people at a significant £83bn a year.

The problem is that there is yet to be a response from the government and things have changed slightly because of Brexit.

“The Minister for the Digital Economy, Matt Hancock has stated himself that ‘I can group the facts and figures; 23 per cent of people currently lack basic digital skills, and about 90 per cent of new jobs now need some form of them.’ I think that what we’ve learnt following the Brexit vote is that the need to engage everybody is more demonstrable than ever before. This is a very important part of the Prime Minister’s agenda, and wider digital engagement is a key part of the broader issue to make an economy that works for everyone," said Hilton.

Very few roles advertised these days do not include the need for basic IT skills and Hilton said that the industry needed to do more to help staff self-learn.

“Tech City UK calculate that the average advertised salary in digital roles is just under £50,000 - 36% higher than the national average. But there is a pressing need for high level specialist skills in cloud computing, data science, cyber-security and data security as a result of high growth rates associated with key emerging technologies in which the UK has particular strengths such as the Internet of Things, Wearable Technology, Cloud and mobile computing, 5G and Big Data,” he added.

Other industry groups have also honed in on the skills gap issue with CompTIA doing its bit to encourage people working in the channel to get themselves certified around emerging technologies.

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