India will overtake the UK in year-on-year economic growth by 2022 if the government fails to encourage more people into IT, a leading academic has warned.
Professor Richard Scase, author of the book Global Remix, which examines globalisation, said that India and China are producing more highly skilled IT professionals as a result of government backed initiatives.
As a result, more companies like IBM - which opened a £3.5bn knowledge hub in India - and Norvartis - which opened up an R&D centre in China - will chose to site key development labs abroad to take advantage of the wealth of IT skills.
"India and China are changing from being simply destinations for low-cost manufacturing to 'knowledge-based economies' which will serve as a hub for designing innovative IT systems for businesses worldwide," said Scase.
"India will produce over 80 million ICT graduates - that is more than the population of Germany - while China is launching a programme to recruit back one million ICT students who have left for countries like America," he said.
Scase said that the government should introduce tax breaks for employers hiring IT graduates and who have dedicated IT training programmes. Charging a lower rate of interest on loans for students choosing IT as a subject was another option. The government should also encourage businesses to work closer with universities, so that IT students gain a practical understanding of the IT skills employers are looking for as many traditional IT skills are being off-shored.
"Project management skills are in huge demand among IT staff. More traditional roles like programming are increasingly being off-shored because of the low-cost and high skill level abroad."