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Scrum for IT skills looming

There is a battle looming for IT skills next year as employers and resellers alike look to bring on board skilled people

Tech skills will continue to be in demand next year giving the channel an ideal opportunity to plug the gap and help customers unable to get talented people to join their ranks.

Some of the most acute areas will include security and data management and despite the best efforts to produce people with the right skills there is going to be a more demand than supply in the short-term.

It is not just the IT industry making these sorts of predictions but organisations like the CBI have also been vocal about the challenges in getting good technology and science minds coming through the education system into the workplace.

The annual employer survey from the CBI found that firms planned to invest in staff despite uncertainties like Brexit and most were optimistic about the year ahead.

That continued planned investment in staff, with 41% of UK employers quizzed by the business lobby group expecting to add to the headcount in 2017, will put more strain on the demand for those with IT expertise.

“The robustness of Britain’s digital communities has surprised many following the referendum. The CBI’s job market predictions reflect the demand that we’re seeing in our hiring network, with requests for highly-skilled digital and data-science roles particularly high. We expect that supply will begin to match demand from employers next year, however, as jobseekers look to take advantage of wages rising above inflation,” said Lloyd Wahed, managing director at data analytics talent network Athelstan.

“For this growth to continue, firms must be able to attract the best talent from around the world. Looking ahead, it remains to be seen whether legislative obstacles for foreign employees will ensure Britain remains the digital capital of Europe,” he added.

One area where the skills shortage has been felt all through 2016 is in the cyber security space and there are no signs of that letting up as the calendar gets flipped into a new year.

Awareness of the severity of the cybersecurity skills shortage has risen as 2016 draws to a close. A number of studies have suggested that organisations will find it impossible to fill cybersecurity roles, so industry must help education systems produce future cybersecurity experts to close this gap - but that’s going to take considerable time and care to happen, and public and private sector organisations lack the luxury of time,” said Mike Herman, vice president of EMEA channels at Palo Alto.

“For the channel this could be an ideal opportunity to offer managed services that can step in with outsourced cybersecurity services. This is especially true for the SMB segment, which will be unable to compete with bigger businesses for cybersecurity talent commanding growing salaries,” he added.

Of course the skills problem is to one just confided to customers and one of the challenges for resellers next year is making sure they can get access to good talent and bring on their own staff with training.  

“The channel has to realise that it is also competing for the same rare and expensive talent, so expect channel-run security operation centres to adopt greater automation of cybersecurity processes to augment their own rich but limited pool of cybersecurity talent,” added Herman.​

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