Juan Urdiales, CEO at online jobs board JobAndTalent, discusses the challenge of developing IT skills.
To what extent do you think there is an IT skills shortage, particularly in the UK?
There is a skills shortage in the UK, and across much of the western world at the moment, as the rate that technology is advancing is faster than the number of available professionals prepared to perform the jobs demanded. That said, the demand is not as high as it was before the economic crisis hit Europe in 2008 as many talented IT professionals have immigrated to the UK from neighboring European countries to find work here.
The proportion of openings in IT and telecommunications on jobandtalent surpasses 35,000 – almost tripling the number of offers in other sectors such as Finance where we have around 13,000 offers currently live on the site.
What are the most common IT vacancies, and what do you expect will become to most common in the coming years?
Right now with the explosion of e-commerce and the development of smart web and mobile technology it is no surprise that developers continue to be in high demand for businesses across all sectors – with the most popular roles seeking professionals with experience in Java, .NET, and SQL programming (the latter of the three being the role hardest to fill- with about 1 in 5 programmers having experience in SQL.)
As far as the future goes it all depends on the latest trends in technology – we would definitely bet on professionals with experience in data security to continue and increase in demand as more information is being stored on servers and in the cloud. Professionals with experience developing algorithms and other big data technology will also most likely expand in popularity. We expect the demand for programmers will not slow down, especially as mobile app developers continue to peak in demand for not only IOS and Android but future operating systems (*hint tell your ten year old she should start learning to code).
What type of skilled workers are employers struggling to find?
As it is with other sectors we find that the hardest roles to fill are upper level and management positions such as CTO. More specific to the IT sector, it is quite challenging to find experts in IOS, Android, Ruby on Rails and other new technologies – considering these technologies are only a few years old (or have only recently become popular) it is rare to find professionals with 5 years experience developing for IOS or even Android¬- that is unless you are lucky to catch a dye hard coder with a fetish for new technology.
Roughly speaking, how long does it take to fill an IT vacancy?
The time to fill IT vacancies varies widely from 2-3 weeks for junior and graduate roles to up to 5-6 months to find an experienced CTO – this of course depends not only on the vacancy but on the company as well as the employer’s capacity to offer training for less prepared candidates.
What do you think is causing an IT skills shortage?
Much of the gap is due to pace at which educational institutions are able to keep up with private sector companies. As companies are constantly competing to improve and develop new technology it is nearly impossible for educational systems (in their current form) to evolve the curriculum and offer students the chance to learn the latest technologies.
How have the salaries on offer in the IT sector changed over the years?
The salaries are closely linked to the demand for IT professionals – pre economic crisis IT salaries were hitting a peak that has come down a bit in the past few years, however we are starting to see an increase in IT salaries as the economy begins to straighten out with salaries for certain management and executive level positions reaching the same (or in some cases higher) levels that they were pre-economic crisis. Although, it depends greatly on the type of role – jobs in the IT sector receive higher compensation than the average salary for other sect
What do you think the IT sector could do to help solve any problem of IT skills shortage?
One suggestion would be to make educational plans for IT professionals more flexible and responsive to new technology – this could be partially solved by increased collaboration between the private sector and education institutions. We have seen an increase in IT graduate schemes and training programs for junior level professionals – we recommend companies to continue to expand employee training programs within companies. The proposed ‘tech-levels’ could be a stepping stone in the future to help young people be better equipped if it can keep up with the current technology trends.