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back to article UK short 100K tech recruits this year

Demand for technology recruits is set to grow five times faster than the national average over the next 10 years. There are now 1.5m people in the UK working in technology – about one in 20 UK workers, according to e-skills. About 40 per cent of these people work directly for technology companies, the rest in IT departments …

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WTF?

Old Age Programmers

Given that we're a fairly new industry, isn't it likely that the average age will rise over time? Given a working life of, say, 20-65 and the growth of the IT industry over time, the odds are that the average age is going to rise over time unless people move out of the industry as they age.

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Coat

Nah!

Developers get paid bucket loads so no doubt they will be taking pensions early and heading off to their Scot's retirement castles!

( Runs while grabbing my coat with the Oracle/Solaris admin CDs in the pocket! )

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Anonymous Coward

Quite right

Seems a pretty obvious explanation to me. I'm mid forties, starting tech was Apple 2, so right at the start of the home computer revolution. There a a few people older than me around in what I do, but not many.

Also, companies are beginning to realise that a experienced and good (but) old tech person does a better job (on average) than a new college leaver. I know for sure that I do a better job now than I did when I left education. Pay's better too!

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There were computers before the Internet

The first high-level languages -- FORTRAN, LISP and COBOL -- all appeared in the late 1950s, so you can hardly call the IT industry "new", unless you're making the mistake of assuming that nobody programmed computers before the dot-com era.

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Plus migrants from other professions

Most IT problems that companies are solving, also aren't pure IT problems, any more (if they ever were): they are problems to do with computerising existing systems and processes, and it can often make as much sense, to take someone who has already spent years specialising in understanding the problems you are trying to apply IT to, as it does to try and get Johnny Random Developer to understand, or care about these things. Having an 'insider' on the team can often help achieve final sign-off with users, for a given project, and provide insight into well a given implementation actually meets their needs. Users will often say things to a former colleague that they just won't say to a developer.

Unfortunately, for the figures, this tends to mean the propensity for grey hair in IT, is only exacerbated, since these migrants, entering IT from other industries tend to be older and more experienced people in the fields they are moving from.

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well said

And for that I'd promote the art of Business Analysis...

Lots of useful techniques for bridging the gap between business and IT. Therefore no need for Johnny Random Developer to learn an entire business and no need for someone in the business who is heavily biased having worked there for years to try and learn teach only to build a system in their vision which still doesn't actually solve the problem.

Note: I'm biased, I am a Business Analyst and think they are all very great and useful

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I noticed that moving from Business to Academia and back

It depends on the job you're trying to automate. GIven the accounting I had to take back in school anyway, it was easy learning enough about Inventory, Billing, Shipping & Receiving to automate the jobs of few book-keepers. Easier, in any case, then teaching them the odd mix of 4GL, SQL, C & COBOL I used to do it.

When I moved to a university hospital's medical imaging staff, it was the other way around. Physicists could learn to write (admittedly bad) C++ or Fortran much more quickly than it would have taken me to learn the details of say, MRI spectroscopy.

Still, it's a shame more organizations are not willing to pony up for full-time Business Analysts; good ones more than pay for themselves in code which need not get rewritten to match redefined requirements which were wrong or missing in the first place, scrapped I/T projects, disappointed users, etc.

Glad to see things picking up on your side of the puddle; let's hope it spreads...

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Anonymous Coward

New

Yes it is new. I've been in this business since 1973, and for at least the first 25 years it was a reasonable assumption that there were plenty of jobs to choose from when you needed a new one. We now approach the top of an asymptotic curve. The low level jobs are going to outsourcing, and probably out of the country too. Those of us left are getting older, and with pensions and savings eroded, early retirement is not an option.

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Happy

Not Surprising

Despite the social acceptance of gadgetry nowadays (and the obvious demand that brings), being a geek is still being a geek and we don't get the respect of those in other industries. That and the work we do is often tedious and difficult - it's definitely not for everyone.

Good news for those of us already here though.

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Flame

Market forces

If there aren't enough recruits surely they need to pay people more?

I thought the usual principle followed in practice was reduce the wages till you can't recruit any more, then cut another 30%. Obviously a different principle applies in the topsy turvy thieves' den called the City, but we'll soon be rid of them, I know we will, Vince and Dave told me so.

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Anonymous Coward

lies

show me the 100k jobs then.

It's not good enough to put out a press release full of lies about how many jobs there are, you have to *actually* provide jobs.

Perception is not reality.

One fifth of young people are currently unemployed. Doesn't matter if you're a university graduate or you only have ASBOs to your name; if you're under 24 you will have applied to in excess of 100 jobs in the last 6 months and got

NOTHING

"show us the jobs" Perception is not reality.

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Too right

As an early 30's network engineer who took time out to get their certifications up to date and is now finding it very difficult to finding it very difficult to re-enter the market, I call BS on this story.

Suspicions that it comes from an IT training company. It seems to me that this is a company saying 'hey people in other industries, get into IT, there is a skills shortage. Don't worry about training, we can provide that...'

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Not just the young

Last year I finally landed a job after 18 months of looking - with my near 30 years of experience.

Frankly the other posts here are right - theres no skill shortage, theres no 100k jobs, the effort being made is to further reduce the wages. I have seen adverts coming past for 'experienced' engineers offering less than 20k. Frankly you can get nearly that collecting trolleys for Tesco.

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Unhappy

e quango

The story does indeed come from an agency, an IT quango called e-skills. Their press release is here;

http://www.e-skills.com/News-and-Events/January-2011/New-e-skills-UK-research-shows-technology-workforce-needs-110000-new-recruits-this-year-/

It is propaganda of course, I don't think that El Reg should have been re publishing it.

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Silver badge

Not required?

Well, as education is about to be flung back a century or two and anyone complaining about it locked up H.M.Gove must be looking at contracting it out to . . . . ?

There is no need to prepare youngsters for IT jobs, Latin is what we need.

As It support companies get bigger and use formulaic support techniques rather than trying to actually sort out the problem there won't be a need for trained anyone.

Hands up how many out there have had to put up with 'It says here I need to change the hard drive' "But somone changed it two days ago and it didn't cure anything" '"Sorry, I can only do what it says on the sheet'.

As we are not 'experts', only 'users' or 'customer's or 'clients' we obviously know fuck all as our elders and betters have seen fit to close IT support and spend more on external.

BFOH should not be a dying breed, we need them.

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Anonymous Coward

"Sorry, I can only do what it says on the sheet."

I like the ones who say "help me make up the answers to this next set of questions so I can get to the bit you really want".

Honesty and common sense, that's what you want.

It's a pity these people are forced to use inadequate systems, but that's life. Why give your employees kit that works, surely that money would be better spend on something actually important like re-branding the company again!

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This is because....

The IT Industry now wants to make it's older experienced staff redundant as they are too expensive, and they can easily be replaced by cheaper and more profitable graduates.

Odd shoring isn't quite as cheap as it used to be, either, so they have to grow margins somehow.

Pity the Industry leaders don't know how to grow their businesses by adding value isn't it, probably too hard.

Watch for major redundancy programmes from a number of IT companies in the next three months.

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Bronze badge

IT Recruitment demographics

"Old and male".

Old because everyone is looking experience. I pity recent graduates (I know of one who is lucky to get an interview but cannot demonstrate experience other than academic). I only got my own foot in the door by taking a reduced wage.

Male because it is still seen as a male industry. Similar to how primary school teaching and nursing are (or were) seen as female industries. Attitudes need to change.

If companies are struggling to get techies, surprisingly few are paying to get (or keep) decent ones (either in the company or in the country!)

Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer choice!

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Male only?

I wouldn't say that. Sure, at the really techie end there's a definite lack of females, but IT isn't all tech. Move towards management or the business interface and it's pretty 50/50.

Pity that there's not more females interested in tech. It's a general societal issue where girls just don't seem to like "engineering" so shy away from it at a very early age. Maybe blokes don't care about being called geeky.

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Pint

i left the IT industry

I left the IT industry about 7 years ago. The millennium bug bubble had burst, the company I worked for treated the staff like crap and I was looking for another job.

All the jobs that were available at the time wanted Microsoft and Cisco certification along with at least two programming languages to boot... on top of that the pay they were offering was terrible. From the job descriptions I could tell it was going to be high pressure environments and considering the pay, I could get a job driving a forklift truck for just as much pay, no pressures.. 9-5 hours.... so I left IT and donned a hard hat..

Since then I have bought a hotel with my girlfriend and I am entirely responsible for the IT infrastructure including the budget!!! Happy days!!

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How many are tall, dark and handsome?

Stats like these aren't worth piss.

2.19%? I love it when the crystal balls are accurate to two decimal places.

Go back a few years, dig up some statistical forecasts and see how accurate they were.

Quango attempting to justify itself. Fail.

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Coat

Phew!

Does that mean there are some positions out there for the soon to be redundant RBS techies?

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Skills shortage rather than numbers shortage, from my perspective

I cannot recall a time in the last two years that we haven't been hiring. We are overloaded with work and are crying out for people who can bang together code in a grown-up language that's not for the bloody web.

C, C++, Objective-C; grad after grad comes to the door with no knowledge whatsoever of these. We see no shortage of people; just in the skills they have. Perhaps someone who does hire for web-coding can fill in the other side of this picture; is there a surplus of applicants with these skills on that side of the picture?

P.S. If this is just a case of bad directions and somewhere out there is a Java shop getting endless applicants skilled in C, C++ and Objective-C, I'll do you a swap :)

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Vic
Silver badge

The problem is inbetween the candidates and the employers...

> somewhere out there is a Java shop

I used to get offer after offer to apply for Java jobs - despite being primarily a C programmer. All the "recruitment consultants" (ha!) used to tell me that they get no call for C programmers, as everyone wants Java.

On the other side of the fence, when I was trying to recruit C programmers, I was offered CV after CV for Java and PHP programmers...

I always maintain that there is rarely a job shortage, and there is never a skills shortage. The difficulty comes because so many employers go through recruitment agencies, and that lot don't know their arse from their elbow.

Vic.

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Right on.

I posted something like that. Also, on top of the useless recruitment bods, you get HR people filtering out the wrong uns first.: 'That Dilbert fellow had pens in his pocket, he's rejected'.

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Anonymous Coward

Prelude to outsourcing

Frankly, I no longer believe any of these statements about 'skills shortages'. It's usually made by people trying to build a case for outsourcing yet more work overseas, whilst throwing local staff on the scrap-heap. I see it happening right now, all around me. Based on what you can actually see happening, you would be taking an enormous risk to pursue a career in IT.

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Flame

Sounds like...

...a few more work permits dropping out of the printer.

Some big offshoring companies have no doubt been lobbying MPs, plus big business in the UK complaining that pesky UK-based IT workers are terribly expensive, making them less competitive.

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Another solution..

Get careers advisors to get little jimmy, and jane, to think seriously about a tech career, and discourage them from wanting to pursue a career in media or feng-shui massage or whatever crud passes as a degree nowadays.

ttfn

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Anonymous Coward

So wrong...

"whatever crud passes as a degree nowadays"

IT is a vocation. You don't need to learn it in school nor go to university. There are set ways of doing things which you get taught and earn your qualifications on the job. Computer science on the other hand merits degrees which necessitates being around your peers in an academic environment, as does reading the arts regardless of whether they be the media of the day or oriental aesthetics.

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Call me Mr. Cynical

Part of this topic does depend a bit on what you define as someone "working in technology". I note that this could include a lot of people that are just entering data on a system, rather than someone that is involved in actually managing systems.

There is also a massive difference in skill levels; I've seen adverts for support jobs where the actual person required needs no actual IT skills, just the ability to read the troubleshooting script supplied.

Equally, there are jobs where they are looking for someone to manage systems, but the person recruiting is not really sure of what skills are required to do the job to a satisfactory level. In some cases, they simply look for the cheapest person, without understanding what they will get for the money.

And I suppose that they will once again say that because they cannot fill the vacancy with a local person, this shows that they have to bring in someone from overseas.

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Alert

Broad Brush

Its all well and good some company saying this about IT jobs, but I don't think it applies country wide. Creep outside London or the M4 corridor and I'd like to bet its a different story.

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FAIL

offshore, rightshore, whatever shore is the cheapest.

Errm, I think you will find those '100K jobs' will simply be farmed out to whoever can provide the service the cheapest - usually companies like Wipro, Infosys, TCS, etc (with little or no regard for the quality of service and the final solution). An unfortunate symptom of greedy cost-cutting, short-sighted corporate management.

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Yippee!

Shortage of staff = higher rates. Can't wait. It'll make a change from the "take a 10% cut or sod off" attitude that's recently prevailed.

But what price experience? So sick of listening to people who want an "expert" but are only prepared to pay for a junior.

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It's all nonsense

I'm sure plenty of others have said this, but this smells like a survey designed to convince the government that business really, really needs to import more cheap labor.

Maybe if businesses hadn't offshored so may 1st line jobs they would have a feeder for the higher levels. But that would be forward thinking.

<sigh> Accountants rule the world, sadly.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 13:19

You're an impostor. You cannot be under 24. There were no obvious grammatical errors, not even the presumably now acceptable "could of" "should of" etc.

Best of luck anyway.

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Pint

@Alfred: where are the details?

There are people reading here who will be delighted to help meet your needs. They don't know how to find you.

Please fix.

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Coat

IT staff in the UK are mostly "cheap labour"

Don't mean to insult my dear collegues, but from my very recent experience, I would say, most companies want a java, C#, C++, VB, bash and perl speaking sys admin security guru, who has at least 30years of dev experience, and all that for ideal around 14kpa. oh yeah, of course, there also has to be at least 25years of virtualisation with xen and vmware on EMC, IBM/LSI, with aditional AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, DOS, Windows, and SCO Unix knowledge.

mmmhhh did I forget anything?

Well, I work mostly as a contractor, mostly outside the country since the working environment is usually s%^&t and it is more comfortable and cheaper or same price to commute once a week to mainland europe, than to live in the M$ corridor and commute to London everyday.

Even though I do like living here, working in the UK is absolute 5h1t.

So even though I have a family, I decided to contract outside, and just live here with the family.

I get paid better, I enjoy the work more, and my family gets to travel occasionally when they tag along.

P.S.

In Germany for instance I get get nearly double the hourly rate, than over here....

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Alert

"mmmhhh did I forget anything?"

Yes.

Must have full clean driving licence and own vehicle. Must wear a suit and tie; naturally you will be expected to clean out dusty workstations and foot the bill for your ruined clothes. Must be prepared to arrive early, leave late, and work for free during this time.

When you join us you will have a 3 month notice period to leave but we can make you redundant at any time without notice.

Please bring your own furniture, buy your own computer and use the pay phone to make any work related calls. None of the printers work and we will not be paying to fix them but you will be expected to take calls from angry coworkers who want to print at least once a day.

And don't forget to smile.

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It's agencies that are the problem

I was recently on the job market with 20 years C/C++ experience (plus lots of other stuff) and *every* time the phone rang it was yet another bloody agency saying 'how many years ASP.NET have you got?' having clearly stated on my CV that I had little and wasn't interested in a thinly disguised web design job (after a while you soon realize that these are the same jobs that were advertised as HTML/Java jobs a few years back).

I got this job by emailing directly.. this company had given up on agencies for similar reasons and was very surprised that someone with my experience was finding it hard to find work - because they kept being sent people with web design experience and little or no knowledge of programming! I had to retrain for their development system - but as they said.. someone with experience can switch easily.. that's not an issue.

People with skills are there. Jobs for them to do are there. Agencies seem to be actively keeping the two separate. They don't read the CVs beyond a couple of keywords, they don't read the job requirements, and they don't have any knowledge of IT so are completely useless at their jobs.

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FAIL

Skills Shortage What Skills Shortage

A quick look round jobserve shows that IT roles are down, and many of the roles are now overseas.

A possible answer to this is the decamping from London of Financial Services companies (1st and 3rd largest hedge funds went swiss, so they can pay more tax, have a socialist mayor, and not be used as a political football)

If you are setting up a new business function, are you going to base it in the UK, with all 3 parties offering unspecified random regulation (based on latest popularity polls), or go somewhere, where the local government is actively engaging with businesses and offering a stable well regulated environment?

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FAIL

IME skill shortage is not the problem

Time after time I've heard "we can't recruit good developers with X, Y or Z skills" - only to find that "we" are not paying enough to attract even trainee developers without any skills.

Accept that expertise costs (and that it delivers value to justify the cost).

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Anonymous Coward

@ IT staff in the UK are mostly "cheap labour"

Gis a job!

Like most on here.... if there are that number of jobs then agencies really are useless.

I have been looking and applying for 18 months (hate where I am at the moment, I and most others, no pay rise in 5 years, brown nose based promotion regime).

Have had very few interviews - the ones I have had have gone very well, I always seem to be runner up though. I have 28 years solid yet varied experience (started off as programmer, then networking, then infrastructure, then data centres, then architecture, then IT management).

Beginning to think that it's cos I do not have a computer science degree as experience and achievements speak for them selves.

If I could find something else to do I would do it!

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Anonymous Coward

well

ive been looking for one since the summer and havent got a reply from a single company yet

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IT graduates

Several things:

a) Who said IT workers need to be graduates? This is a myth that is dangerous and stupid. IT skills can be taught very well with apprenticeships (as old fashioned real engineering was - remember Brunel and others didn't have a university degree and their bridges didn't need closure and repairs the day they opened - as the millenium bridge did).

b) There is no skill shortage here. Most IT departments (including of course our own dear government) are happily sending all the work to India, Brazil or China because the published engineering rates appear cheaper. We don't need graduates or anything else here because the work is going abroad.

c) There will continue to be a shortage of girls in te industry because its 'software ENGINEERING' and therefore they are taught to avoid it like the plague from an early age - instead they are told to focus on 'media studies' and the like - which will probably earn more in the long term anyway.

d) Most of the IT in this country (judging from the adverts) is in the financial sector, these people will ignore 30 years of IT experience if its not in a bank because it not being in a bank means it is obviously totally useless in such an alien world which clearly doesn't use the same languages, operating systems or machines as the rest of the universe. These institutions would rather pay 3 times the going rate to poach from each other than employ anyone from outside. It doesn't matter how many graduates you produce for them unless you can create graduates with 10 years banking experience they won't be interested.

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Re: IT Graduates

"these people will ignore 30 years of IT experience if its not in a bank because it not being in a bank means it is obviously totally useless "

The Agencies and HR departments ignore 2 decades of Fin Serv exp., even at the reporting to CFO level, if it is not the last thing you've done.

If you can actual get your CV in front of an IT or Business Manager, then you get interviewed.

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Unhappy

have you seen the costs involved?

A few years ago I was advised to get a £1000 grant to do a Cisco CCNA course. This seemed to me a good offer, but all it covered was an "introduction" entry level (i.e. it got you used to using Cisco stuff) and the proper exam was (at the time) an extra £6000. Now it's £10,000 without the entry effort and you need extra qualifications just to do it. I've also noticed that in local papers there used to be quite a lot of adverts in the jobs section stating "get a job after qualification" official partner of whoever. These have now all disappeared.

I did a website design course that cost the taxpayers (at the time in 1998 when the internet was shiny and new(ish)) £400. There was a problem with the end qualification (useful if I'd have got it) which was downgraded into a virtually worthless qualification. After entering into correspondence with the provider, I decided to stop submitting exam pieces informing them that this was the case. They agreed with this, and shortly after they went bust. I did get a certificate, which I was told that was recognised by the ESF, to which I replied "But the ESF *AREN'T* A CERTIFYING AUTHORITY!!". The phone line went dead and that was the last I heard from them. A few years later, I head that the enterprise was bogus. If this is the way forward, is it any wonder that there's shortages? Too old, too male and too expensive.

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WTF?

Utter BS

The report looks like BS and smells like BS! There has never been a skill shortage, only a skill gap, most of the people currently working in a profession did not do that subject in university or college, they re-trained, (I started out as an electronics engineer who repaired PDP computers, then a network engineer, then a C/Assembly programmer then a Delphi/SQL programmer, then an IT Manager)

Decision makers and Customers are exposed to so much FUD (upgrade, upgrade, upgrade!) that it is quite tricky to convince them the stuff you write wont immediately fail at the next service pack, or that open source wont immediately fry your company records and eat your babies. You people blindly towing the company/microsoft/etc line without doing your homework are mainy to blame for your own jobs being made obsolete (Windows 2000 certified engineer anyone!)

I have since started my own programming business using my "antiquated programming skills", however I am now not obliged to follow the latest IT Policy from people who have a degree in marketing or who's only idea of IT policy is to believe these shit reports. The only people I need to justify anything to now are my customer and my wife (who is my accountant!).

PS I also now live in NZ so smug x 2

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FAIL

SoS

Or as we in the robot controlling world put it "Same old S**t"

When I dropped out of university, the world and his dog(actually 99.9999% agencies) were crying out for Java/html people, but when my CV landed on their desk, it was 'no experience.. no job'

Bit annoying for someone who spent a fair amount of time at uni doing java and concurrent systems stuff

But as for IT worker, thats exactly what we need down here among the robots, someone to sit in front of a PC 1/2 the day designing control programs, then spend the rest of the day validating said programs on the shop floor, making sure the robot does what its supposed to without going on a murderous killing rampage (unless you want it to........)

But we cannot get the people, because the pay sucks in relation to the knowledge needed.

Oh well got to go... sounds like the skynet virus has gotten into production cell #23 again and it currently cornered the floor manager with a welding gun

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