back to article IT recruiters warn over migration caps

The government's plan to cap the number of non-EU economic migrants allowed into the UK has attracted criticism from IT recruiters, who claim some skills cannot be sourced here. The Home Office is to hold a consultation on the plans. In the meantime an interim limit of 24,100 work visas has been announced. IT recruitment firm …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's our own fault

    When I left Uni (13 years ago) I had a cleer career path. I worked as a junior programmer for a couple of years, then worked my way up to team lead, and through to Solutions and Enterprise Architect. The problem is that the massive influx of foreign workers has meant that there are no longer any junior roles to be had in the UK IT industry, and therefore there are far fewer people coming up the ranks to full more senior roles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      RE: It's our own fault

      Spot on; Though thats to do with how a company is run. See you have a director who is mostly thesedays seagul managment who makes a noise and moves on before the fan gets dirty or the or some other type but either way you find they appease accountants/bottom line and when a company is judges not by its consumer, not by its product, not by how it trains or helps its staff, but is judges by the share price and dividend payout, they you find a system that seems to encourage the shafting of anybody below director level. This leads to onpaper savings such as outsourcing because nobody puts a value on the customer service relationship and other small details, because the accountant cant clearly see that on a balance sheet. Then your open to the whole crazyness that your ocmpany share price needs to updated every microsecond for the only reason but to enable the banks to make more money playing with your shares, more updates a day, the more they get to play people of against each other taking there broker commisions, which all add up.

      So if you wonder why we dont have the natural progression, its mostily becasue thats been replaced by the employee changing companies and then comming back later sometimes in a high postition or usualy never seen again. This and the only staff you do have left are the only ones who know the system so you keep them stuck doing that and recruit others to do the new projects, say get IBM to price it all up, then go like the hardware, not sure on your running costs, so you recruit staff to run a system that IBM had planned to fix during the support phase and, boy if your sharp you find these holes out during hand-over testing, thats assuming your company hasn't contracted that out to some drive-by contractor who would be more than happy for it to go wrong as he gets a contract extension, and who can blame him, he is paid contractor rates to tick box's on a test plan, not see the glaring holes in the test plan, thats extra.

      this leads to staff who dont give a shit, having had all there drive sucked out from them and that is pretty much how must staff get dealt with and best part of all.

      WE CAN BLAME THE BANKS.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    What is needed is for industry to accept its responsibility to train the unemployed here, not import skills paid for elsewhere by someone else. If an immigration cap gives that kind of incentive, then that must be a good thing.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    End to cheap labour more like

    Yeah right, more like an end to the supply of cheap foreign drones whom companies can employ for a quarter of the UK price

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Here! Here! Sort of...

      Nothing wrong with companies getting in migrant skills not present in the UK, but the government should put pressure to ensure that the same companies train-up to local workers. For example, If you need one specialist migrant worker (regardless of any dutch-cap nonsense) then you must train two local workers to ensure the skill is there going forward.

      Leaving it to companies will ultimately solve nothing since short-terms costs and needs are always the focus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Governements need to take responsibility...

      for the foreign workers that are allowed to enter a country. I these days of recession and layoffs in many industries there should be very little demand for foreign workers.

      Unless, of course, by foreign workers companies mean exploitable and if this is the case the government needs to ensure that foreign workers are doing the work they were hired for and that they are receiving the same salaries and benefits that citizens would receive.

      To do otherwise is to contribute to the exploitation of foreign workers and could/should make a government and companies involved culpable of exploitation and put both under threat of legal and civil action to remedy this exploitation.

      PS Globalization is not good for the economies of Northern Europe, Western Europe, nor North America. It is simply a method for corporations to extract the wealth out of those areas more rapidly, increasing short term profits with a total disregard for long term survivability. This is why developing countries with strong central governments will rule the world within our childrens working lifetimes. Unrestrained capitalism is amoral and self destructive. We're living in the end of that system now.

      Let me be the first to welcome our new long sighted overlords.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    There's no shortage... but there is a quality gap...

    Even ignoring the cultural issues, salary gap... there is one thing that will always stand out.

    Qualify of work done offshore or onshoring workers.

    Sorry but even here in the states, we have the same problem.

    I can say that while my last client saved money on the dollar per man hour by going offshore, the quality of work, overall delays have cost them a lot, some intangible like credibility.

    Don't get me wrong. I do believe in the globalization of the workforce, however because of educational, cultural and communication issues, the workers coming in onshore are less skilled and are less trainable than a recent college grad.

    I had two first generation immigrants who grew up and went to school here in the US.

    With 6 months of being on the job, they were productive and even started to pick up the slack and were self sufficient.

    I have green card professionals who've been here in the states for many years and they have yet to accomplish what these individuals did in 6 months.

    Don't get me wrong, they're all nice guys. But I need to have coworkers that I can count on and not have to always review their work.

    And that's the thing. You want a body who can memorize a tech manual and regurgitate it, or do you want a developer who can think. Yes, you can find those resources in any country on the planet. But the odds are, the bloke your company is flying in, isn't one of them.

    The sad truth is that these IT firms want the immigrant workers because they can easily be exploited.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Let the flames begin!

      What the hell are you talking about? 6 months? What do you do for a living? We don't hire anyone who will take more than a couple of weeks to be productive. We don't care if they are immigrants or not, old or young. After the initial phone interview, we have a 6 hour in-house interview process where the people in the team that needs the extra man power will decide if they feel ok with that person modifying the code base on which they work. We have both passed on and hired nationals, immigrants, experienced people, newbies fresh out of college, people interviewing in suits and in shorts and sandals. It boils down to whether the applicant is smart enough and knows enough that we don't have to baby sit them. We make these interviews serious enough that we've been labeled a**holes by third parties who have attended. Why do we do it? Because we do engineering software for _very_ large companies where in the time that it probably takes you to have specs defined, we've already cut a new release with the new/modified functionality and so being proficient simply does not cut it. If you can't do it correctly the first time around without anyone holding your hand, go somewhere else.

      To the people saying that immigrants make less than locals... Are you working on computer assembly lines and think that qualifies you for being in the IT sector? Our immigrant coders have graduate level degrees (yes, PhD's and MSc's) in engineering, sciences and math and they do not come cheap. They make significantly more than the Computer Science graduates (even the ones with MSc) we hire just because they are so much more productive.

      Stop whining and be willing to compete with the whole world; that is what globalization is really about.

  5. Scary
    Joke

    How can you tell if an IT recruiter is lying?

    (rhetorical)

  6. cschneid

    One possible translation

    One possible translation of "we can't find those skills locally" is "none of the locals is willing to work for the crap wages we're willing to pay."

    Research at the University of California - Davis showed this in the H1-B ramp-up to Y2K in the USA. Source: http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html.

    Yes, it's from 1998.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      ooh i know this one...

      They opened their mouth? ;)

    2. vic 4

      Another translation

      IT recruiters get a much bigger fee for getting foreign workers and for sending our engineers overseas.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      How can you tell if an IT recruiter is lying?

      They're still breathing....

    4. Mark 65

      @cschneid

      Absolutely.

      From the article...

      "We have handled a number of key IT positions that would not have been filled had it not been for the experience and knowledge of some of these workers. "

      Those key positions being 5-10 years experience of <insert in-demand skills here> for fuck-all salary. Yep, those positions can only be filled by people from the 3rd World. I think EU-wide should be a suitably large pool of potential employees for the UK.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bingo

    Waaah, we want to keep gambling on recruiting cheap foreigners who claim to have the skills that we need, rather than train UKian graduates who are honest about their experience and employment history.

    Russian programmers, pretty good (if a bit fruit loops), but I've yet to meet an African, Asian or Oriental dev whose actual skillset bore more than a passing resemblance to what it says on their CV. I'm sure they exist, just like Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and man-friendly lesbians.

    Anonymous, because honesty might be illegal in Soviet UKistan now for all I know.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    FAIL

    Thats right blame the dirty non-EU foreigners...

    Of course its the fault of myself and my dirty filthy highly educated non-european fellow foreigners, that are responsible for the high levels of unemployment and the low intake of graduates into british companies.

    It has absolutley nothing to do with the poor education standards, the 3 year courses to learn engineering (when the rest fo the world does at least 4 years), and the influx of cheap eastern european labour which means that english luddites and chavs no longer have there jobs pumping petrol or doing low skilled manual labour for a living. No it of course has nothing to do with these things... *rolleyes*

    Pffft, i thought with the change in government that policy would stop being made on the front page of the Daily Mail... I guess i should have known better...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recruiters have no complaint

    Given how atrociously they treat their ``merchandise''.

  10. Dave Row 1
    FAIL

    Maybe the UK IT people actually want a living wage?

    The companies who constantly whine about there not being any qualified UK staff, and con the idiots at the civil service into agreeing (so allowing huge numbers of foreign IT 'qualified' staff into the country), really mean there arent any UK staff who want to work in a demanding IT job for minimum wage.

    There are a huge number of IT staff out of work in the UK, many of whom have given up any hope of finding a decent (not, not great, just decent) job in IT in the UK thanks to these greedy bottom feeders.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Yes, yes, yes Intapeople...

    Then please do tell exactly what skills could not be sourced directly from the existing UK-based workforce?

    I call BS until the details are provided.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My heart bleeds, yeah right...

    Well, they should stop actively engaging in racists practices and racial selection.

    I stopped bothering with a number of sectors in the UK IT industry 9 years ago. At the time I was wandering why my CV never gets a call back. So I wrote a CV of one mister V. P. who graduated from the worst uni I could get info on in one well know country, who has failed a couple of jobs in a couple of failed companies and had the FAILURE written all over his CV. I applied to the same jobs I never got a callback supplying my unused NTL line as a phone number. The phone went OFF the hook for a week.

    After that I turned around and redirected all of my efforts elsewhere.

    So there is one thing I would like to say to our beloved recruiters who are complaining about this - YOU REAP WHAT YOU SAW. No shut up and s**k it up. Should not have done racial selection in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Don't generalise

      My BEng took 4 years (3.5 years education, 0.5 years industrial placement). Oh, and I wasn't born here either and I'm not caucasian.

      Low cost off shore resources drive down costs. However, those in "protected" professions (e.g. Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, Actuaries etc.) have a high barrier to entry in that to practice qualifications and *experience* in the UK is required. MP's jobs are protected for 4 years, they are not affected.

      Yes, it makes the UK more competitive on price, I would argue this is at the cost of innovation and creativity.

    2. Laurie
      FAIL

      Typical.

      Highly educated you may be, but you can't spell "their" though, can you? And please use a capital "I" when referring to yourself.

      Thank you.

    3. Ivan Slavkov
      Flame

      Highly educated my a***

      Highly educated my a***. I am going to take offence here and I am very well justified to do so.

      Most of Continental EU CS engineering degrees are 5 years at least because it is taught in proper "full" universities and not in engineering schools. I suggest you first learn what are you talking about. Not surprisingly, on a comparative scale of 1 to 10 most of the continental EU produces software engineers around 7-9 with Russia, Bulgaria and France usually hitting solid 9-10.

      Not surprisingly this has led companies like Vmware, Cisco, etc to move key development there. Ditto for vote and bank fraud prevention systems, etc. It has all gone east for a reason and the reason is qualified labour which is often paid on par with the UK/US by the way. An average Indian engineer (and the kind of outsourcer that sends work to India) can very well choke on their breakfast seeing some of the EU salaries. Yes, EU is "overpaid", however EU produces working high quality code. It is paid for what it delivers.

      Now as far as UK engineering degrees - there is a bit of what you refer to. However it is not in CS itself. It is in the supporting disciplines - UK CS does not study anywhere near the amount of math which the continent goes through and it shows. Neither does Indian CS by the way. At least compared to what the Russian and the French have to get through to get their degree. And it _ALSO_ shows.

      So comparing UK and Indian CS to what the continent studies is patently unfair. However if we compare, India's CS engineering production is generally sub-5. So highly educated - some other time. There is however LOTS of it and it is erroneously perceived as cheap.

      UK is actually not that bad. Based on my own experience of working with British software engineers it is generally around 7. There are not a lot of them, but the few that still graduate are actually fairly good (considering the lack of supporting math in the curriculum).

    4. Mike 102
      Welcome

      the problem is

      that there is a place for highly skilled migrants but the way the scheme has been run is cray.

      The definition of highly skilled is so low I suspect it was put together by someone who left school with no qualifications.

      I have worked with people who have arrived on HSM visas and they were in no way highly skilled and I knew people already in the UK who were out of work who were more skilled.

      There are occasions where if we don't allow a highly skilled person into the country to do some work then we will negatively impact the country or business but these cases are less than the number of people we have given visas to.

    5. Gulfie
      Grenade

      According to some yanks I know...

      My UK MSc is viewed as being good as, or better than, an American PhD.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Go

        Oh so many hilarious responses...

        I must say ive enjoyed some of these lovely responses. Especially the spelling ones. How mature.

        But in the interest of solid discourse, let me respond to some of the more pertinent points.

        1) I will disclose now that i am not in IT, i am in engineering. So whilst i cant comment on the particular woes of your industry i can talk of my own. We also have a large flux of sub continent and asian engineers. I myself am also not european, coming from that small island just off Asia called Australia. I did find it highly amusing that the moment non-european came up everyone instantly started slagging off the sub continent. Its a bit like everyone else in the world immmediately thinking your in London if you say your in England, no?

        2) I cannot comment on IT degrees in the UK, but the majority of engineering degrees (at least mechanical and related engineering degrees) i have seen have been 3 years. With 1 year for a masters. I have had people try to justify this by saying that they fit more into the courses in the UK then elsewhere, but thats just bollocks. I still stand firmly by the fact that 4 years of intense study is just about enough to turn out a bachelor level engineer. Anything less then that and your not an engineer. Also considering the knowledge of some of the young UK graduates ive met ("Umm can you weld mild steel?") there are some serious knowledge gaps... Perhaps about a years worth... And no i dont believe that Australia has the best higher education in the world. The German & Dutch graduates ive met have been hands down the best skilled young grads ive had the pleasure to work with...

        3) The test to come to the UK on a highly skilled migrants visa or the Tier 1 Migrants now is an incredibly hard test to pass. At the present time you require at least for engineering a masters degree (thats 5-7 years of higher education for everyone outside of the UK), and be already earning approximately £35,000 a year. Fail either of these and your out. Number of years experience counts for nothing. You can thank the Home Office for that. Oh and did i mention it costs ~£600 non-refundable just to apply?

        Now i cannot comment on the company sponsorship route, as i have not done that and maybe that is where all your complaints are located, but if thats the case then obviously thats the Home Offices fault and you should be directing your angst at them and making them raise the bar. In Europe, your position has to be advertised for 6 weeks before a non-EU person can be employed on a Work Permit. Does the Home Office do this? I very much doubt it.

        But the main thing to consider is where do you honestly think the reduction will come from, the Tier 1 with its already staggeringly high requirements or the company sponsored route? And which one gets the abuse that your all talking about... hmmm... lets think...

        4) There seems to be a lot of hatred for the sub-continent IT Professionals and Engineers, which i can understand to some degree. Ive worked with some who were atrocious, but ive also worked with some who were amongst the best engineers ive ever worked with. However, i find that there is a large cultural difference between the sub continent and the west. In the west, in engineering and IT, we want creativity, innovation and problem solving. On the sub continent, these things are not the products of their culture. Unfortunately this is not something that most management realise. If you provide the engineer from the sub continent with a routine, a method of doing something that goes from a to b then you will get optimal results, and that is how they are best uitilised, freeing your innovators for crerating new routines/programs/etc.

        If you have a problem with someone in your company who appears to be a numpty from this line, then trying take 5 minutes to put them on a task that they can follow from a to b and see how well they do it. If they are not up to the job and doing it very well after a short period of time, then OK, yes you have yourself a drop kick, but the majority will find that the person works well in this role. Its a cultural difference and when handled correctly (assuming you have a process for which this sort of routining is viable) you will get a very productive team member.

        If your from a company where this isnt achievable, well then all you can do is try to drill it into your managers head that your new colleague is useless. Try telling them that a graduate would accomplish more and that you are more then happy to train a new graduate, if they get one, and bring them up to speed. You might get lucky....

        5) I made a mention of low cost eastern europeans which someone took as me attacking the IT skills of eastern europeans. This was not the case. This article talked about the overall high unemployment rate in the UK and that stoppping or reducing the number of non-EU migrants was going to have an effect on this. That is to a large degree bollocks! The highest percentage of unemployment in Britian, as it almost always is worldwide, is that of unskilled labour. And guess what, you dont receive a large number of non-EU unskilled labour, not with the rules i described above. So naturally what you do get is non-UK EU unskilled labour. So there will be no effect on the vast majority of umemployment in the UK by these new rules. All it will do is make the UK an even less desirable location to come to for the highly skilled engineers and professionals out there.

        I await your "informed" responses below...

        1. Glen Murie

          There's one major difference

          The engineering trades are highly regulated, and there are many professional associations that support and oversee the engineering fields. It's understandable, and a fine thing, because if one of you guys f--- up a bridge or a piece of machinery people will die.

          For the most part, our field is not so well regulated, and our professional associations are generally mouthpieces for the big software companies like Microsoft. Unlike engineering, our field is young. When comparing engineers to IT workers you're comparing apples and oranges.

          What happens with H1-Bs (the American equivalent of this situation) is that there are diploma mills in places like India that churn out people that can just about manage cut-and-paste programming. They can make the equivalent of a bridge made out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and management won't care. It will crash, it won't be well documented (or documented at all) and the more qualified American workers end up collecting food stamps or working at grocery stores.

          Also, beware of slagging people for spelling mistakes, because you look like an idiot when you misspell you're as your.

      2. sgt101

        MSc vs phd

        nahh.

        The US PhD - at least from an Ivy League college is the most demanding qualification in the world in my experience. Just read the thesis's that are produced.

        The differences are :

        - A committee, not an examiner.

        - Public viva defence.

        - Thesis defended; not contribution demonstrated.

        - Contribution to knowledge + demonstrated expertise in subject.

        That's not to say that the UK PhD is bad (I have one); it is stronger than the continental version I think, but US PhD's are ahead.

        Also, the MSc in the US is usually 2 years of self directed work, so I would tend to rate them as pretty considerable as well.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      oh hell yeah

      It's so bad, I've actually tried changing my entire career industry to solve my unemployment issues.

      One job I was interviewing for in Sheffield had over 1000 applicants (for a position that was really basic 1st/2nd line support even tho I have 10 years of network administration under my belt!).

      I was the local guy, job ended up going to someone in Uxbridge - presumably because they had concerns that my experience was too much for the job since they told me I was the strongest candidate!

      Oh well, I'm enjoying my media internship a lot more than I enjoyed being yelled at by people who don't understand a single thing I do about something they fucked up and I had to mop up the damage.

  13. sugerbear
    Thumb Up

    In other news, company complains they cant make money anymore

    Well there is a suprise.. a company that gets money for recruiting workers to come to the uk moans that they wont be able to carry on making money at the expense of the existing workforce.

    I have no problem with uk companies employing tech workers from india when they reside in india, but when they are allowed to work in the uk with the obvious effects that has on the uk work force (ie we dont need you when we can employ someone on half your salary) it annoys the hell out of me.

    One of the reasons I lost my last job was for the reason above, cheap workers with little experience and understanding of the uk but it was ok because the uk workers would firefight most of the problems and do most of the design work for them. So to management it had the appearance of working when in fact it wasn't.

    Its about time the government realised that there are plenty of IT tech workers out there who can do the job, they just cant compete with an unlevel playing field.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never-ending shortage

    There has always been, always will be, a shortage of people about three to six years into their career. They are experienced enough to be useful, young enough to be cheap, daft enough to enthusiastically take on unpaid overtime, and single enough to do so. Any bleating from industry or the recruitment companies about lack of candidates does not refer to 40-somethings with kids to support, I can assure you.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Not wanting to start a fight

      But did you and your colleagues ever try not molly-coddling these unskilled prats?

      First rule of team work is that you start off helping the new guy get up to speed but if they're a complete numbskull with no aptitude, then you make sure managament know it, and then leave them to flounder. Its harsh, yes, but if they cant do the work theyve been hired to do, then they dont deserve the job. Obviously this doesnt apply to graduates no matter where they come from but if someone is claiming to have 5 years experience in C, but wouldnt know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard. Its not worth carrying there *ss over the line.

      Its too easy for the situation you describe to happen, so its best not to play along to the Management BS game...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        the problem is

        You can't leave them to flounder, as the UK staff are put in a "position of responsibility" ie it's not their nuts on the chopping block if they fail, it's yours. A failure never reflects on an individual low level flunkie, it reflects on your whole team. And a high level manager asking why your team released shoddy code, is not going to accept the answer "because you forced us to use this bunch of useless retards instead of doing it outselves"

        We have been explicitly told that we have to report a positive success to the higher ups, despite a number of abject failures, we don't have the luxury of just not accepting crap code. We have to take it as is, scrap most of it and rewrite it properly, or leave it as is, and get a load of flack for releasing a shoddy application.

        Ideally, the code would never pass review, but some things just have to be done, you can't wait around for it to be sent back for the 6th-7th time to be done properly. It's raise it, be told to accept it as is and fix it later, then rinse and repeat for the next project, generally with the same people making all the same mistakes. Nobody who can do anything about it, is allowed to know that their clever idea was a poorly thought out failure.

      2. sugerbear

        I cant fail !

        Spot on. You cant let them flounder because if you do then you fail your own objectives. And failing objectives can lead to you being given the boot (underperformance). All perfectly legal and saves the company the expense of having to lay you off.

        So you have a stark choice of stumbling through and succeeding (ie working late, weekends for no overtime, constant code reviews, direction and rewrites), finding another job or hanging around for the redundancy.

        I chose the latter, but only because the job was making me so miserable that I felt it was the best option for me (worked for 15 years in IT). Productivity is never measured just the end result is important and the sooner that all UK tech are out of a job and the results of real outsourcing can be felt by management* the better.

        There are plenty of other 'fads' that will go the way of outsourcing.

        * funny how senior management are never outsourced...

  15. Steen Hive
    Thumb Up

    "some skills cannot be sourced here"

    Aw, diddums. That's what you get for dumping education and replacing it with foreign labour in the first place. Tough luck for you and better pay for the rest.

    1. Gulfie
      FAIL

      Or from elsewhere either...

      One UK company I worked for brought in four US workers to 'fast-track' some Oracle Forms work. They came in on a skilled worker scheme. But first we had to train them! They were from a big consultancy and got well paid plus a completion bonus (oh, and free training at our expense).

      A few months later the company brought in some Indian workers under the same scheme. We had to train them too. But they continued to earn their Indian rate of pay while the agency paid for accomodation. Disgusting practice, morally wrong. And all this time there were people out there who could have done the job.

      I challenge anybody to refute the general point people are making here - for 99% of the vacancies filled through this scheme, there most certainly were UK based people who could and should have done the work. That is still the case today, too.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another possible translation

    "Have you seen how much mark-up we can charge for these people? Please don't take our gravy train away."

  17. dogged
    Thumb Down

    Skilled foreigners needed

    Cheap foreigners needed, more like.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skilled foreigners NOT needed

    Companies investing in our population IS needed.

  19. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    FAIL

    Lets face it...

    No one grows up wanting to work in IT recruitment. If they spent more time trying to understand the intricacies of the roles they were recruiting for, and how different skills interweave with others, they may have the nous to be able to realise that there is very often no 100% person fit to any job description.

    Unfortunately, and I see it all to often... recruitment agent gets job spec and then expects to find an exact 100% match for all the skills listed, rather than understanding that that person doesn't actually exist.

    The problem is also that recruitment is most of the time staffed by transients, persons that could not hack it in IT proper, or those who have drifted into the role because they didn't have any real skills at anything.

  20. Sam Paton

    Orly

    You only need to look at the advertisements to see why they can't get the people.

    Take a random job and you'll see something like being; Red Hat Certified, MCSE, CCNP, VCP, have extensive knowledge of SAN's, know EMC and Netapp storage inside out and ITIL v3 and TOGAF qualified.

    And for your god like knowledge of IT Infrastructure we'll pay you £45k a year.

    Now working in the real world as I do, in a million years I wouldn't get my company to pay for half that training. So I can

    a) Go overseas and do the training cheap

    b) Or spend half a years salary (Or half an MBA) to pay for it

    or

    c) Watch it go to someone who is shipped in at £35k a year, has all the required certificates but crucially does NOT know what they're talking about.

    If you read almost every single job, the recruiter wants you to be doing exactly that job already. God forbid you should learn or expand in a new position.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Or, from a contract perspective...

      "We want a well-qualified and experienced software architect to design our system for us, but we'll only pay £450 a day."

      I make it crystal clear to agencies that try this line, that they are wasting their time. If they can find somebody to fill the role at that rate, they probably shouldn't be doing the job. The big consultancies charge four figure sums for even slightly experienced staff, going to the freelance market with a tiny budget and big expectations will only lead to trouble.

      I've found most companies to be crap at recruitment in general. They don't focus on what is really needed for the job, or on giving the employee an overall package of salary, benefits and work/life balance that motivates and retains them. Agencies don't get involved here at all, they want a high staff turnover.

      1. ph0b0s

        Yeah tell me about it.....

        I am job hunting at the moment. I'm looking in the networks field. And I cannot believe some of the postings. Do you have experience working with firewalls from these 5 different vendors with certifications from each vendor? Well if I can work on two of them does that not prove I know about firewalls and can pick the rest up.

        Have you worked with each of these individual models of Cisco switch? Well some of them, but I don't get put forward for the job because I am missing one. But there is no difference between the ones you are asking for (same OS, commands etc), just different port densities. I could understand if they were asking about some of the switches and routers that an ISP uses because they are different.

        Now I have been working on networks for large multinationals since leaving Uni at 21. Ten years later and I have never been on any training courses, or needed a training budget. All of my knowledge and certifications have come from teaching myself, on the job and mentioning. I look for new roles because they have something I have not done before as I get bored if I am not picking up a new technology.

        Do I need lots of expensive training, no, just put me in there and I will pick it up as I have done for the rest of my career. I have a track record of doing so. Employers are aware of this and are not expecting you to find someone that fits 100%, they just gave you a spec for an imaginary perfect person.

        All this has not been helped by employers outsourcing their recruitment to these IT recruiters who seem to have no idea about the right people to pass along to the employers. So employers don't get good candidates and IT recruiters, of course, cannot find people who meet the spec 100% so there is a 'skills shortage' and you need people from aboard.....

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Jim 59

    Internal secondment

    Off topic but I hear that some international companies are still up to the old switcheroo trick of bringing their own employees from India (for example) on temporary internal transfer and paying them India wages while they work in the UK, thus ripping off (a) the transferred employee (b) HMRC and (c) the rest of us. Recent rule changes put a limit of 3 months for the transfer, but large companies just get round that by bringing in one lot then changing them for another lot every 3 months. Utter chaos. Like something dreampt uo by Arthur Daley. Anyone else heard this ?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Speaking as someone currently trying to recruit IT staff...

    I can find plenty of good UK candidates, but can't get the budget to pay for them (i.e. pay the rates I expected to pay the same people five years ago). Which explains why I have a high turnover of low skilled foreign staff. Yes they're cheap and available, if they weren't I might persuade the powers that be to pay for someone who can do a little more than pick a PC out of a lineup of domestic appliances.

  23. bill gates wallet

    Greedy Agencies

    I feel so sorry for those greed agencies and consultancies that now can't ship in low cost off shore labour to keep their profit margins up.

    But having worked with off shore people, not half as sorry as I do for the people they bring over who are treated (in my experience) with contempt, put in poor quality accommodation and kept away from their families for months on end, and yes I know it's their choice but it's all for a bigger profit margin and nothing to do with quality.

    With 2 Million plus unemployed, you'd think that we should be able to fill any vacancies from that pool, lets face it Uruguay managed to build a world cup semi final team out of a population of not a lot more!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 15.13

      I'm being paid the same rate that I was 3 years ago despite paying for my own training to achieve a significant qualification. Just thought that I'd mention that. (which is why I'm AC)

      Having said that, I do understand the problem you face - but where are you looking for the applicants?

      I should also ask, is it false economy to pay a low wage to un-skilled staff that will do a poor job, or would you be better off cutting the number of staff, to allow you to offer more and get better staff, that will do a better job?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cuts

        You're lucky. I took a 60% pay cut to change direction in my IT career 5 years ago and have still not clawed back more than 10% of it.

      2. Gulfie
        FAIL

        Ahem...

        Large IT outsourcing companies both pay low wages to under-skilled staff AND reduce the head count as much as they can - I used to work for one. My company lost a number of large government contracts as a direct result of this (incapable of delivering to timescale, requirements, budget or often all three), yet totally failed to recognise the issue because there is no immediate negative impact on the bottom line they so treasured. In fact in the short term doing this made the company look better than it actually was.

        This is the effect of American capitalism (deliberate emphasis on the country) where share price and earnings per share are the only thing that matters when measuring company performance.

        Unfortunately it takes a few years for the effects of this stupid approach to employee management to be properly seen. Once entrenched it is a position that is impossible to escape from because it involves improving employee benefits across the board (20% pay rise, everybody?) which has an immediate, expensive and highly visible negative impact on those things that Wall Street love to measure company performance by.

        Companies that work in this way deserve to fail.

        You'll notice that there are a small number of big companies that don't work this way. Like them or not, Apple and Google (to name but two) have a thriving business that is reinforecd by the quality of their products, give a good benefits package (I can't speak for the Apple Store mind), have low staff turnover and their pick of the labour market. It's a great positive feedback loop.

        Meanwhile large IT outsourcing companies repeatedly bugger up what should be simple contracts because they bid low and suffer from high staff turnover. A classic negative feedback loop and why I'll never be an employee of one again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Internal Secondment Switcharoo

      I had never heard of bringing in "offshore workers" to do hands on stuff in the UK until a little while back, when a manager for a large IT company let slip that they were doing it. I always thought the jobs which required physical prescence in the UK were at least safe from offshoring, but watch out, they aren't!

      By the sounds of things the offshore workers treatment is little better than the snakeheads would offer, but I suppose they didn't at least have to pay for their travel. She told me there's an awful lot of homesick and suicidal problems with these poor folks who have not been prepared for the culture shock.

    3. sgt101

      And this is it

      Spreadsheet management ; it costs £n to get someone to do that so why pay £n+1?

      answer ; in 3 years you will pay n*n to sort it all out, but who in your management team will either be in post in 3 years, or have this stuck to them in 3 years.

      If the gravy train was stopped and no one would do it for those rates then you would get the budget to get someone half way decent.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Education in the UK is a joke.

    I went through college in the UK studying an average of 40 hours/semester, yet I did graduate with distinction. While I was seeing people around me struggling for a pass, I thought at high school in my home country that in comparison was 20 to 30 times harder.

    Yet most of the IT people flying in from ex-colonies and protectorates are even less prepared than the average local bloke.

    About the recruiter, well... they can go fuck themselves. When someone recruiting for IT tells you "what is this wintel thing? Yeh know... I AM NOT A TECHNICAL PERSON" you cannot ask yourself what hands you are in.

  25. Bolton
    Linux

    ICT's

    In all the years I've been working as a contractor I have never seen any of the Indian workers that actually understood the subject they were brought in for.

    As a matter of fact I know that at one company I worked for, the skill level of the Indian workers was so poor that they asked them to do a simple test on the area they were brought in for, guess what - not one of them passed the test !!

    Its a disgrace that this is allowed to happen - there are so many IT people out of work in the UK and they are not being given a chance at of the jobs because the jobs are being offered to Indian workers.

  26. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    Sorry, but

    I dont believe a single word coming out of 'IT recruiters" since one of their ilk advertised a job needing 2 yrs of .net experience THREE months after .net was released to us mere mortals.

    Oh and as for the agencies down here among the robots..... please dont ever send us one of your 'qualified' guys again.... I've better things to do than disentangle a manipulator hand from the machine its just jammed itself into.

    If I wanted that to happen I'd get my apprentice to program it.... would be cheaper too

  27. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Programming by IM

    One guy came into my office supposedly with a whole raft of skills including Oracle DBA & Developer. Just what we needed we thought.

    Two days in, I drops by to see how he was getting on. Just in time, I saw the IM display.

    He was being coached on how to write SQL by IM from someone in India....

    Needless to say, he was one the next plane home.

    Oh, and as he was over here, he was beging charged to us at the same rate as an English Guy sitting next to him (also supplied by that company).

    So much for cheapo bodies. Pah

    Fail for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same for Oracle

      I saw several jobs asking for at least 3 years experience in Oracle 10g RAC when it had only been out for 16 months and one that wanted experience of 11g in a "production" environment the week Oracle released it.

  28. shmirsh
    Stop

    agency aversion

    As someone on the hiring side of this equation, after binning the N,000th rubbish CV which was obviously trawled up after a very simplistic keyword matching exercise, I've finally and completely given up on agencies. We only accept direct applications and bear the burden of all forms of candidate suitability checking ourselves. I wish we'd done this ages ago - oh well, you live and learn.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    There are good agents.

    I know several, but unfortunately, they're outnumbered literally hundreds to one, by people who...

    a. keyword check, because they don't even know what the requirements mean. They could be selling houses, or washing machines in some high street retailer.

    b. know so little about the guys they're after, that they ask you questions like "I see you wrote a bespoke rdbms kernel in ram, to handle trades at high speed, but it doesn't mention that you did sql there, can you do it." or "I see you say you've underlined the every, in EVERY version of <whatever>, does that include version X?" or "I see you designed an enterprise service bus there, but it doesn't mention XML, could you just make it a bit clearer that you did XML, it's not me, it's their HR department."

    c. want you to write the sentence "I have full lifecycle experience" rather than describe your full lifecycle experience, because they simply haven't a clue what to look for in a cv when asked to source people with FLC. The same is true of everything else that isn't a discrete skill.

    d. and while we're on discrete skills, ask you "How many years of Java have you got." - And when you respond with, "I know people with three years Java who are better than some with ten years, because they're 140 IQ." they respond with "well is that three or ten or something else?"

    e. say, "I know everyone else says they will, and they never do, but I will ring you back even if you're unsuccessful."

    f. say, "I just want to find a bit more about yourself." or "I have a job that might suit yourself." These sentences aren't even valid English. There's even an agency who puts forward helpers to candidates going to the FCO, with a sentence that says. "It's 'we were' not 'we was' and 'I done it' is never right." How can they be sure when they use the word 'yourself' incorrectly.

    g. leave emails saying, "I have a job, somewhere in England, with some skills required, are you interested?" or "PLEASE CALL ME URGENTLY, IT'S LIFE OR DEATH!" and then they've no idea who you are. or send out two, three or four identical emails five minutes apart, just in case you might want to read it more than once. (Thanks to Steve Martin for that one.)

    h. leave emails saying "I see you're married, and running the gas and oil analysts at JP Morgan, have two kids, and your wife runs the Equities desk at Goldmann's, and have lived in Hampstead for several years. I can't persuade you to relocate to Benbecular can I?"

    As such, I take Shmirsh's view, although I can't always avoid the agents, I just get them to send every cv, and do a five minute phone test, to test whether the guy's stupid or not. (I'll obviously not give the real questions out.) but I can get through a hundred or more people in a morning.

    Q1. Where did Labour go wrong on education policy?

    Q2. Where did Labour go wrong on Industry?

    Q3. Where did labour go wrong on the economy?

    If they can't speak english, they fail.

    If they can't understand the question, they fail.

    If they can't think of an answer, they fail.

    They can even get the questions wrong, and pass, if they thought them through cleverly.

    The CV, under pressure from agents and HR, is now two pages, which is worthless. "Worked on Amazon" could be anyone from the tea lady to the M.D. Also worthless are references from someone you don't know, so you might as well treat them as such. Just use it to get the name and telephone number for the IQ test. I've seen CVs from people who said they worked on projects I've built from the ground up, and have no idea who they were.

    I've heard of one referee once describing a guy as being able to think his way through a brick wall, and even if the referee was right, I still don't let them through the door for a main interview without passing the phone one first, though I'm sure to only ask general questions on the phone, never tech specific stuff.

    I can only explain what works for me, and this is how I see it. It's worked for me so far.

    In truth, it's not the fault of the agent, it's just life. When you take away industries that average people can do, and introduce an industry that only 2% of people can do, the average guys have to do something for a living. So the government invents loads of non jobs. The world wasn't evolved for ICT.

    1. Skymonrie
      WTF?

      Painfully true

      I can relate to a lot of what you say whilst searching for work, particularly (c)->(e). One bit that gets me though, your very final paragraph about it something only 2% of the population can do.

      I would hazard a guess to say almost all businesses in the modern age make use of computers at various levels. Using government figures:

      - There are 61.8 million people in the UK

      - About a third of them are working age so, lets say 20 million possible workers (not taking skills in to account)

      - There were an estimated 4.7 million businesses in the UK at the start of 2007, will round to 5 for math sake

      There is on average, at least 8 candidates going for any IT role. It doesn't take a statistician to see something is wrong here, even if looking at it as pessimistically as possible. The world HAS evolved for ICT, that's why we apparently live in the DIGITAL age.

      You sound very much like a recruiter to me and one who doesn't have a clue about computers at that. There's talking for the sake of guaging intelligence but, why would a tech head have a lot of care about where Labour went wrong when there are important questions to ask.

      So to you sir/madame, I do say it is the fault of the agents...a bunch of useless twats who slow down people who genuinely want a job and are passionate about IT from ever getting a foot in the door

      *sighs and cries*

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the falsest economy there has ever been

    For 'Skilled' read 'Cheap'. I find it perverse that lots Uk IT jobs have been off shored and that the sucker punch has been to open the flood gates to 'Skilled' (cheap labour) from India, which in my experience:-

    1. Has poor communication skills

    2. Has to be spoon fed and programmed like robots when projects go awry and thinking out of the box is required, which never ever materialises and has to be provided by the Uk staff.

    3. Has to have requirements specified to the nth degree of detail

    4. Has been certified up the hilt but is clueless when it comes to best practices and general common sense.

    5. Culturally does not like to say 'No' to anything, therefore commits itself to mile stones it / they cannot deliver to.

    6. Give no indication that they are struggling to deliver until it becomes painfully apparent that the brown sticky stuff is hitting the fan, again because admitting any failing / difficulties is seen as losing face.

    The irony of this is that the cost savings anticipated in bringing the off shore resource on shore is never realised and in fact costs projects more in the long run.

    Lets not delude ourselves though, skill does not come into the as the only consequence to the bean counters is a smaller number in a cell in a spread sheet. If this cap genuinely comes into place, this is pay back time.

    The way in which the out going government has opened the flood gates to off shore staff is a betrayal of Uk workers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      accurate

      there's a simple test around teh initiative/thinking outside the box issue too, that pretty much shows this.

      India has one of the biggest software industries in the world, so where is all the innovative Indian software? Why hasn't an Indian company released the newest, fancy office suite or operating system that's bowling us all off our feet? Why aren't we all writing documents in TATA Office?

  31. costa
    Megaphone

    where you get real knowlage?

    when do you get a real knowledge? on completing a degree or by getting the experience at work place, specially in IT, as far as i remember my uni just gave me the very basic as i realized later it would not get you any job. and if you do not provide the graduate a working experience is knowledge in IT is just zero. i remember once asking my Indian c++ teacher the question about the difference between the router and the switch, and i got what the answer that it is not his area and could not give me the answer, that when i realize that you don't get much knowledge at uni which in my case was (UEL)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's a title, duh

    IntaPeople and anybody who thinks like them are so completely wrong it's not even funny. I hate the idea of such caps, but lets stop purpetuating one of the greatest scandals in this country's history.

    I've managed to pursuade my employer to hire from outside of London because being from out of London I know the state of affairs around the country, and if these people bothered to look they'd see it too - that we have a large pool of very inteligent and skilled IT workers who can do the jobs that they're supposed to be doing in an economy that's supposed to be made up of tertiary and quaternary industry, rather than dragging people in from countries who's economies are mainly made up of secondary or even primary industries in many cases.

    If nothing else can we at least all agree that these countries are going to need their own IT workers to grow in the future? What are they supposed to do - import a bunch of Brits, Americans et al for cheap labour?

    We shouldn't need caps, recruiters and employers just need to open their eyes.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    One more AC 22:06

    7. Sound convincingly like a subject matter expert. Unfortunately with a little probing you realize that the paper moron has no fucking clue what he is talking about.

    Paris has more on the ball!

  34. Skymonrie
    Happy

    Felt this and it really hurt (apologies for length)

    Fairly recently, I finished University and even before/during got myself a lot of experience in the IT sector with regards to support/development/deployment. HEAPS of small projects and a couple of medium sized ones, only a few can really live on the CV or it would be a mess. One could go so far as to say I live and breath IT. I've been around me my whole life and not meaning to be a big headed, I'm pretty good. if I don't understand something, I will by the next day from all angles, not just originally intended.

    I went and applied for a simple job as "Junior IT Support" at a prestigious Grammar School and there were two other candidates who made it through to the actual interview. One was a green who had just finished College having studied computing, as people do with hopes of primo prospects with the world being full of IT and all...

    The other was a Polish guy, 37 and didn't speak good English and had come over to the UK because there was no work for him in Poland. His previous experience was working in a service station. This service station experience was his only ticket on the CV and said as much to the both of us. He'd wired up their network and made sure it worked; I can only hazard a guess this means checking peoples bill???

    Have a guess who got the job??? Why, Signoire service station of course. I got in direct contact with the possible employer to ask how I did and the like, they said I was perfect for the job. They actually used that word and then went on to say I should be applying for bigger roles than what they had.

    Why the f**k would I have applied for the job unless I wanted it? As many have pointed out, jobs which aren't Junior require a whole raft of inhuman experience unless you have already been in the IT sector for many years and have some rock solid references. Simply put, having what can actually be called a "profession" in the UK is fast becoming a thing of the past...if you are born in the UK of course.

    We really need to start trusting our own people. Trust builds two-way confidence, confidence results in people going out on a limb for others. When people make an effort and it's noticed, the likelihood is a person smiles, smiles make good vibes and generally speaking, happy people make the world a better place in ALL aspects of life, not just the workplace.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tombo

    Outsourcing allows a business to stagnate cheaper at the cost of any future innovation, and this is not reversible. It a complete lack of long term thinking by business minds today. I would guess because executives know Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Legal but few of them understand development and IT. The real dumb ones outsource their core competency.

    Adobe outsourced their R&D in 2005 to save money in the short term, now they don't have the expertise to make a stable efficient mobile interpreter OF THEIR OWN PRODUCT. They've been trying for a few years, but just don't have anyone who can wrap their head around the whole thing. All the original devs are long gone and instead of teaching a new generation of developers, they outsourced. They've probably gone through 5 or 6 generations of developers in 5 years when the should have gone through no more than one. All the expertise gets lost with that fast of a turnover.

    As soon as a company or group comes out with a competing product to Photoshop and Illustrator that the community will rally behind, Adobe is no more. I suspect Apple, FOSS or a newcomer will come out with one before too long.

  36. Magnus_Pym

    Experience costs money

    Employers can't be bothered to train upcoming staff as it is expensive and the trainee will probably leave to work for someone else who has deeper pockets because they don't spend money on training.

    It might take two or three years before the degree level entrant is actually earning their keep for the company. That is expensive and in fairness to the employers it is very hard to judge staffing level requirements for years into the future. Especially as the government f*cks about with huge and failing IT projects constantly taking on and dropping large numbers of highly qualified staff.

    The lower wages, lower costs and lower employment law barriers in some countries bring this cost down. It's therefore cheaper, easier and more manageable to take staff from abroad. simples.

  37. JDX Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Load of balls

    There is no shortage overall, that much is obvious since unemployment is up, and many contractors are on the bench finding it hard to get work.

    While there may be some very specialist niche skills which are hard to find people for, I doubt that those are the kind of thing that the cheap non-EU workers are skilled in. The whole point of Asian development schools is they churn out masses of drones on a production line, even if we assume they are high-quality drones then the fact is they know the most common technologies in order to be sold as interchangeable cogs to developed nations.

    Just look on JobServe and it's easy to see jobs posted which are specifically looking for foreign workers... typically the roles offering £80/day

  38. Sirius Lee
    Stop

    Is it really skill that's required?

    What tends not to be reviewed in articles like this are the *exact* type of skills deemed to be missing. It's all general stuff.

    It seems unbelieveable to me that from a population of 650M UK businesses cannot find suitable employees. Without a cleat articulation of the skills that are supposed to be missing the cynic in me assumes its not really skill but price.

    I can imagine there are a small number of companies providing, for example, translation services which will need access to people with specific language specialities. However these companies have alternatives. Do the staff really need to be employed in the EU?

    With almost free tele or video conferencing such obviously specialist skills could be accessed remotely. Sure, the remote person would need an infrastructure. If so the EU company can engage the services of a company in a foreign locale. Yes, this might push up the EU companies cost but, one might argue, this will at least create a more economically level playing field.

    I can imagine a takeover by a UK plc of a foreign entity will require temporary services of some members of the aquired company and longer term assistance of some senior staff. But the same logic applies. Especially as short term work, a week or so, doesn't require a visa.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    skills shortage? bah

    Monday they tell us 17% of compsci graduates are unemployed, Tuesday they tell us there's a skills shortage and the only way to fill IT vacancies is to round up all the slack low quality compsci grads from other countries where the authenticity of their qualifications is questionable at best.

    Well excuse me if that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Best way to solve the problem? Round up all the recruitment agents and fire them into the cold depths of space (where they will mill around doing much the same thing they always did - i.e. nothing). Then make it a legal requirement for companies to publish all vacancies with the job centre so that anyone can find them in one central place.

    If they don't want to employ any of the hundreds of applicants they will surely get - tough. They don't get new employees then. Let a more successful company grow instead. Simple.

    Obviously the market will need some time to correct itself and record numbers of people + record breakthroughs in automation means lower pay. All the time you crying that you under-paid, well It's like that, and that's the way it is.

  40. SimonC
    FAIL

    Funny, it's the opposite of the news

    I understand it was recently published that the hardest hit job sector for graduates was the IT sector, and that IT graduates were struggling the most to get IT jobs. I returned to the UK right in the middle of the recession and spent months trying to find any IT job that would take me, and it took over 6 months to find one.

    I think the recruiters are utterly, utterly wrong.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Highly skilled? At what

    I applied for a HSMP visa and when filling out the form I stated that I was a farmer, spoke bad English, didn't have a degree, didn't earn much nor expected to earn much, but I did say I was single and in my early 20's. Then I hit the apply control and guess what? I was eligible for a HSMP but there was a £500 fee for the documentation.

  42. Zap
    Gates Horns

    They would say that

    They would say that because they make so much money exploiting foreign workers. Every one they let in adds to our social security bill. The current requirement to advertise the jobs in the job centre for 2 weeks is inadequate, it should be two months. WHY? Unemployed people only go to the Job Centre every two weeks, so they would miss jobs. Even if you went every day the touch screen systems do not allow you to search by the Job code based on the SIC code you enter when you sign up. To do that you need an appointment with a Job Councellor and those taken up just with signing people on.

    The Jobs should be advertised for two months both in the Job Centre AND online.

    The foreign worker option should be the option of last resort. There is no skills shortage, go to any job site and search and you will be met with 20 pages of people with suitable skills. The issue is that they want to employ people on the cheap.

    I met a chap from India on a course recently, he was paid 10k in his first year here and was grateful for the opportunity. He admitted he had no special skills he had recently finished his education when he was recruited. In year two he was paid 18k and in year three he was paid £30k. He was OK with it until he found what his employer was charging for the work he did, in Year three it was £250k.

    He told me he would never rock the boat because he sent most of the money he earned home to his family in India. Not only is he being exploited but the impact on a worker here cannot be ignored.

    It is simple economics, first we have the cost of social security of the person he replaces, this may be thousands a month including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Child Tax credits, Working Tax credits and if his wife is on a low income JSA and/or income support. These benefits also create additional entitlement costs. After a while the British employee will be entitled to training subsidies and all manner of programmes to get him into work all at the cost to the state.

    Meanwhile the Indian sends his money back to India and so distorts the beneficial impact of anyone in work. The British worker would spend his money in the UK and improve our economy.

    The only beneficiary is the Employer and many IT Recruiters have moved into this lucrative area to exploit this. So Yes, they would say "some skills cannot be sourced here", Rubbish! The skills are here and every investment in training UK staff improves our economy further.

  43. Gerrit Hoekstra
    Coat

    Limits = Better Skills Selection

    Our tech lead has all but given up being a tech lead and is now relegated to writing pseudo-code for a bunch of off-shore "skilled developers" from you-know-where with interesting university degrees in comp.sci, a litany of vendor certifications and with "many years' worth of IT experience", who then attempt to rewrite this into program code using a monkey-see-monkey-do approach. Our tech lead then has to rewrite the code because it does not work. Over the last weeks, these "skilled developers" are none the wiser in the art of programming and benignly smile and shake their head in that funny side-to-side way when you try to explain stuff. There is a lot of this smiling and head-shaking going on and we get on famously well...

    Of course, the tech lead could have finished the project on his own by now, but the irresitable lure to upper management of using someone who only costs £60 per day (+ per diem) is just too great to resist.

    Mine's the coat with the "Buy British" label in the collar - even though I am also a bloody immigrant, albeit highly skilled and truthful.

  44. binki

    same crap, different country

    the same bogus argument in the USA. The only thing companies want is cheaper labor.

  45. Glen Murie

    So Here's a Question

    How many of us have been writing and calling to our elected representatives about this? For that matter, how many of us have been getting together to protest? If a hundred unemployed geeks showed up with signs outside firm X noted for off-shoring every week, and got the media on the story, wouldn't that embarrass them into hiring local talent?

    I know I never have, nor has any other IT worker I've known, that's been screwed by outsourcing and the many MANY unethical and cruel tricks that have been played on us by employers.

    Do we have anything like a professional association or *GASP* trade union that isn't an obvious mouthpiece for large software companies? No, we do not.

    The sad reality is that we're all too defeatist and apathetic to do so, and will be until the pressure on our finances as a group rises to the point where we've found ourselves painted into a corner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You've hit the nail on head...

      the problem being is that so many, most trade unions are weak/corrupt (having been bought by the companies to which they are supposed to be representing the employees of said companies).

      I think that it won't be many years 'til we see the kind of union versus company labour disputes that were common in the early half of the twentieth century. It is very difficult for that kind of union movement at present as corporations are so far intertwined with government that laws/regulations heavily favour the corps. It'll happen anyway, unfortunate that this will be required but we as the working class will be (are being) forced to it.

  46. Martin Usher
    WTF?

    That's not the point of immigration...

    You've got loads of out of work graduates (70:1 ratio of applicants to jobs, I hear) and this fellow is saying "if we can't import labor then the world will end".

    Something doesn't add up.

  47. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Stuff I like to hear

    I suppose the slaver has a point, there is a dearth of wage slaves with skills in Blighty or anywhere else for that matter.

    This is of course if you discount using the Xerox machine to make ones diploma and certifications, they all seem to know how to do that...

    Evil Bill because BillWG will be going to Washington again to try and remove Visa caps in the colonies like he does almost every year.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something I haven't seen mentioned...

    , yet, about the perils of outsourcing or insourcing (bringing foreign workers into a country) is the idea of intellectual property theft.

    Your company sends its requirements and code to a foreign company/country (little difference these days). Now how do they propose that this information/code is safely kept from competitors? In many of these countries bribery and theft are a traditional form of the social fabric. that's the outsourcing.

    The insourcing, provides the opportunity for a competitor, or any sufficiently large organization, to provide an excellent candidate for the job to get easy access to code and specs.

    Of course, I realize that this can and does go on without foreign workers but why make it easier than necessary?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never made it

    I graduated 3 years ago with an honours CS degree. Not a brilliant one admittedly, but I have one. In Glasgow, I got interviews for a total of 3 junior development jobs (and a few others that weren't specifically junior). The usual graduate jobs with KPMG etc were out of my league without a 1st or 2:1 and I always got dismissed instantly.

    I now work in support and those 4 years are worthless.

    Ironically, I know two successful software engineers without degrees. But they're 10-15 years older than me and were able to get junior developer jobs in the past with just an HND.

    I don't blame migrants for "taking our jobs" or anything like that. I blame employers for not being realistic and for not investing in staff.

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