back to article UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Immigration is an issue swaying electorates around the world, including Britons, who will next week decide whether to leave the European Union and Americans, who will soon decide whether to vote for Donald Trump as president in November. While this is generally assumed to affect low-pay, low-skilled jobs, it can affect those in …

  1. Triggerfish

    Engineer

    Is a very devalued term in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Engineer

      In Germany Engineer is a job title on a par with Solicitor or Doctor in terms of respect, when I was working there and mentioned to my German Colleagues how an Engineer was viewed and treated in the UK they gasped and said "so how do you get anything done?".....precisely!

      1. djstardust

        Re: Engineer

        I left my very boring job last year. The title was "Project Engineer"

        Nothing to do with Engineering at all. Sending surveyors round the world, organising flights, hotels and mounds of admin.

        I rest my case.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Engineer

        AFAIK in Germany (like in Italy), because degrees have full legal value, you can't use Engineer or Doctor unless you have a valid degree. You may also need to be associated to their "orders", or you may not work legally as such.

        In a country like Italy that lead to some complex situations, because for example IT is taught both in the Engineering faculties, and Computer Sciences ones. But while there is an "order" for Engineers (any type), there isn't one for IT professionals which aren't Engineers. Engineers often tried to ensure some jobs required someone part of an "order", to monopolize them - leading to the ridiculous situation where a Civil or Naval Engineer could lead an IT project, but a Computer Science PhD could not (or a mathematician, and so on....). Thereby sometimes it's not so advantageous (unless you're an engineer, of course).

        Probably in English engine-er became too close to modern meaning of"engine" (in US aren't you an engineer if you operate a train?), and not only to the Latin "ingegnum" and derivatives, while in other languages that doesn't happen.

      3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Engineer

        In Germany Engineer is a job title on a par with Solicitor or Doctor in terms of respect

        This is definitely true, but it is also true (as other comments have mentioned) that here, in England, non-Engineers have been given job titles of Engineer (e.g. Sanitation Engineer, aka the bog cleaner). On the continent, and especially in Germany, an Engineer is pretty much a regulated job title (if not legally, by professional consensus at least), and you must actually be an Engineer to be called an Engineer. They would never even consider calling the people we often call engineers such.

        I heard that, not long ago, a survey was done in this country asking who was the most famous engineer they knew of. The most popular answer was Kevin Webster, the character from Coronation Street who is a car mechanic.

        Part of the reason, I believe, is actually (strange as it sounds) down to spelling. Engineer conjours up images of engine, dirty things which make noise and break down (especially if you go back to steam engines etc). This leads to thoughts of a mechanic.

        In Germany, the word is Ingenieur, which betrays it's roots in the word "Ingenious". This brings to mind thoughts of people coming up with clever new methods of accomplishing a task, which is fundamentally what engineering is. The situation is, I believe, the same in much of Europe, and the simple substitution of an "I" with an "E" is, at least, part of the reason for the denigration of Engineers in this country.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Engineer

          Even worse in Canada. A PhD physicist working for the government I wasn't an exempt (ie professional) employee, so I had to be in the union, had to have fixed working hours, had to clock in an clockout, couldn't sign off on the reports / expenses / HR stuff of the team I was running.

          Yet a 21 year old "environmental engineer" with a degree in sustainable development is automatically my boss.

          There is an exemption to allow professors who aren't engineers to supervise PhD students but it expires and the engineers are fighting it in court.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Engineer

        Firstly all your points about Engineering are only true in some disciplines, if you look at Chartered Chemical Engineering as a datum then I can understand your view point.

        Firstly where there is not a recognised and required chartering body in control of standards for a discipline then the Universities get to choose what an Engineering degree is and of course they are now out only for profit. Without the Engineering body in control of what is and is not a Engineering degree then a UK Engineering degree in that subject is one only in name.

        Secondly in the subjects where being Chartered is a requirement for a project getting signed off then companies in that field will have at least one Chartered Engineer or they could not work in the field. They would employ whomever was cheapest if they could but because they are required to have a chartered Engineer to get the insurance they have to pay and recruit people with recognised qualificaitons.

        Thirdly the Chartering body wants and needs to keep upping the standard to maintain high wages and recognition for its members, this means that the standards for certified qualifications also increase and so we have a loop where the Chartering body and it's members are in control of the discipline rather than employers.

        There is more ofc but the point is that where being a Chartered Engineer in IT is not a requirement for signing off on projects then it is just another BS qualification. Now you might say that isn't fair but then again who says the degree you hold proves your competence is at the same level as say Chartered Chemical Engineer?

        The subject that is now IT has been deskilled over and again since it was Computer Science, back in the '70s you would be expected to build a computer from scratch and then write the OS and applications if you wanted to be called an Systems Engineer. Now however most UK IT degrees don't bother with the mathematics or electronics or even recognise the science elements that IT is based upon hence you get a loop in the opposite direction, namely the continued devaluation and deskilling of the work force and the whole subject.

        This is why in IT faulty/insecure code and electronics is okay in finalised products simply because the people in control of the subject are not interested in the people who work in it. So yes in the UK, Chartered Engineer in IT is not really worth the effort until enough people die and sue the industry sufficiently for them to be force to actually have standards. This sadly is what it will take for a meaningful computing qualification to come about after years of bad hardware and software being acceptable.

        Until you are favourably comparable with John von Neumann then you are just the amateur everyone wants you to be and you should be happy you have a job in this field at all.

      2. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Engineer

        "The term Engineer has been used to represent technicians and general workers for such a long time that the title has no real status in the UK. As others have stated, on the continent an Engineer is held in high regard to the same status as a doctor or lawyer".

        In Europe, "Engineer" is a protected title, but it isn't in the UK. I've been a Chartered Engineer for 18 years but I'll have to sign up with FEANI for that fact to be recognised in mainland Europe.

        I've absolutely no idea if Brexit would affect the 30-odd UK engineering bodies who are members, though.

      3. kiwimuso

        Re: Engineer @Shadmeister

        "....term Engineer has been used to represent technicians and general workers ....."

        You mean like Sanitary Engineer?

    3. Shadowmanx2012
      Meh

      Re: Engineer

      Bit like Doctors, if certain sections of the media and government, had their way!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where to start... Yes there is a snobbery which isn't helped by plumbers calling themselves engineers. Plumbing is a perfectly honourable and well-paid profession. They don't engineer boilers although it could be argued that they have to engineer the networks that connect them to their clients (i.e. rads).

    What's more pertinent is the fact that engineering and computing degrees are difficult and the prospects are entering an industry which is being decimated by bean counters who believe that those in IT just click buttons and whose jobs can be done by someone with loads of dubious qualifications from another country.

    I don't think the education system has much to do with it. When I went to university back in the early 90s, schools' IT departments were barely functional and pupils were actively encouraged to not use the computers in case they broke them. Getting into an engineering degree wasn't too difficult. The degree was, however, and I can't help comparing myself with my wife who came out of uni with a good arts degree, having spent most of her time watching daytime TV, walked into a finance job and earns double what I do.

    Why the hell anyone would want to get into the IT industry is beyond me. Until companies actually start going under because of the way their IT capability is being destroyed and people are held responsible for their actions then nothing is going to change.

    As for the Brexit debate, this has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's the people in government here who are responsible. They're the ones being "lobbied" (the gentle western term for bribery) by big business to make sure short-term gain and bonuses are inflated at the expense of anyone and anything that gets in the way.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      What's more pertinent is the fact that engineering and computing degrees are difficult and the prospects are entering an industry which is being decimated by bean counters who believe that those in IT just click buttons and whose jobs can be done by someone with loads of dubious qualifications from another country.

      In a recent meeting with a client, I had to explain the difference between a software developer/programmer and a software engineer. They hadn't a clue (they were business types), and I found it difficult to put it into words, but my analogy seemed to work:

      - The programmer is the builder, operating to someone else's technical designs to erect* the building.

      - The software engineer is the civil engineer, who takes pretty pictures from an architect and makes them into a functioning, structurally sound design. He must consider effects on and from the surroundings, possible extreme conditions, and a variety of other data to ensure the building will be safe.

      Actually, often the software engineer will also be the builder and the architect, but the analogy still stands in principal.

      * Tee hee

      1. Count Ludwig

        @Dr. Mouse - Difference between programmer and software engineer

        Hmm, I am not convinced by that analogy.

        I think a programmer should be doing what Dr. Mouse said a software engineer does, and I think it is would be a dysfunctional shop in which those two roles, as described, are separate.

        So I don't really trust the term "software engineer", I am not surprised if someone else doesn't understand it, and I don't think they would be able to explain the difference to a third person else based on those definitions.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: @Dr. Mouse - Difference between programmer and software engineer

          @Count Ludwig

          I know a heck of a lot of programmers who do nothing but write code. They do not understand the system they are developing, or the adjacent systems. They cannot see from a user's point of view, factor in necessary integrations with other systems etc. They cannot understand the basic networking or infrastructure on which the system must run. They take a detailed plan from someone else, and translate it into code in whatever language they know, oblivious to anything else.

          Maybe this is me trying to put things in boxes again. I used to maintain a very clear distinction between "friend" and "mate". I had lots of mates, people I would go drinking with or have a laugh with. I had very few friends, the people who I trusted completely, would be there for in an instant and who would do the same for me.

          Software engineer fits better, to me (a qualified mechanical and electronic engineer) because what is being done is engineering. Programming is just one skill a software engineer must have, but they must also be able to plan, consider side effects, understand interactions with infrastructure, etc.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: @Dr. Mouse - Difference between programmer and software engineer

            "They take a detailed plan from someone else, and translate it into code in whatever language they know, oblivious to anything else."

            You seem to imply thats a simple job. If the plan entails a list of items how would you store them in memory? A linked list? Array? B-tree? Hash? Depends on the insert, search & delete patterns the data will be subject to doesn't it. Similarly if you have a time critical multitasking program would you go multithreaded, multiprocess, a combination of the 2 or would you go serial with i/o multiplexing? Programming is complex - its an art and a science, and its a lot more than just "doing nothing but writing code" as if they're just scribbling stuff on a keyboard in a zombie fashion being spoon fed by some spec. I've had specs that were literally one page to describe the entire system and I've had to work from that.

            Understanding the business you're in is important, but ultimately most business processes are pretty similar in my experience - its all just number twiddling in the end. Its FAR more important to know how to translate a business requirement into a working program. After all, thats what we're paid to do.

            1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: @Dr. Mouse - Difference between programmer and software engineer

              Fair enough. I agree that some specs are barely more than "We need a website" or "We need an app".

              I guess the analogy is not completely accurate, as there are several layers to the design, from the way it interacts with other systems to how data is stored and accessed, so the programmer can be essential to the design process.

              I have still met more than my share of monkeys who can write C# when spoon fed what to do and how to do it, and no more.

        2. Colin Tree

          Re: @Dr. Mouse - Difference between programmer and software engineer

          It's called teamwork.

          A programmer must focus, an engineer has to tie the details together.

          It's not two functions which can be sensibly multi-tasked by one person, unless your name is Marvin and you have a "brain the size of a planet"

      2. Law

        According to the media we're all just "coders" now anyway... and "coding" is easy, so get on it kids!!

        Personally I prefer being described as a Software Engineer... it fits what I do daily, and my mentality, which is to try and build/fix complex systems as simply and elegantly as possible - can given the time/resource constraints.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Where to start... Yes there is a snobbery which isn't helped by plumbers calling themselves engineers..'

      The thing is, it wasn't the plumbers who started that ball rolling..all the plumbers I know still call themselves plumbers, nothing else (whereas we call them pipe monkeys...)

      Where it (plumbers are really, really engineers too!) started?, I've no idea, I always put it down to an attempted massaging of figures for league tables (at at stroke, the number of 'engineers' in good old Blighty must have at least quintupled..I must do a bit of digging).

      '..Plumbing is a perfectly honourable and well-paid profession. They don't engineer boilers although it could be argued that they have to engineer the networks that connect them to their clients (i.e. rads).'

      Aye, though I could show you pictures of boiler-radiator 'notworks' which would make you weep (especially if I told you the hourly rates of the installers and how long they took), as to the 'service engineers' who come to fix borked boilers...they're not even technicians..card and valve monkeys..

      '..What's more pertinent is the fact that engineering and computing degrees are difficult and the prospects are entering an industry which is being decimated by bean counters who believe that those in IT just click buttons and whose jobs can be done by someone with loads of dubious qualifications from another country.'

      Bingo!

      '..Why the hell anyone would want to get into the IT industry is beyond me. Until companies actually start going under because of the way their IT capability is being destroyed and people are held responsible for their actions then nothing is going to change.'

      I'm one of those who saw the writing on the wall a while back, and even though I'm still getting pestered by contacts and agencies about IT jobs and consultancy, I'm bloody well not going back. They royally pissed me off one time too many in my last couple of IT jobs (minor example, got rather sick of other people being promoted on the back of my work), and as a consequence they've permanently lost someone with 30 years hardware/software/admin experience, besides, I'm actually enjoying what I'm currently doing (and yes, even though it still does involve IT 'stuff', that's SEFP!).

      As far as IT related matters are concerned, I'm not fossilizing, far from it, but anything I do from now on is for my personal amusement and edification only, fsck them all.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Engineer has been devalued, we should take it back and give it the recognition it deserves. I recently saw a sign on a toilet cubicle in a large bank stating "...the toilet was broken but an Engineer had been called."

    £ is another reason why non-Brits are doing IT. How many are from the sub-continent here on visas doing IT jobs but for a lot less than local hires cost?

  4. David Roberts Silver badge
    Windows

    Lack of qualified people

    Coupled with a tale of qualified people being replaced by (cheap) unqualified people.

    Does not compute.

    Perhaps instead the education system should focus on lying about your abilities and purchasing bogus foreign qualifications. Knowing that then you would be eminently employable and also be paid whilst receiving one to one tuition from an industry expert. Far more effective than an abstract degree course.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Lack of qualified people

      Lack of qualified people. Coupled with a tale of qualified people being replaced by (cheap) unqualified people. Does not compute.

      Yes it does.

      There is no law that hinders a business to take bad decisions and go under as a consequence.

      Nor should there be.

      Capitalism! It's worth trying!

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Focus

    The focus on IT in the article is inevitable ( this is El Reg after all) but it's too narrow.

    Middle class aspiration ( and schools themselves perhaps) is to aim for traditional subjects and professions.

    Vocational and professional degrees ( or A levels) other than law/medicine/accountancy are seen as being second best choices. Often at new universities rather then Russel Group ones, or poor relations within them.

    It's not a new thing either.

    Thirty odd years ago I did my PGCE at a very well regarded education department in a mid-range uni. Education students were crammed into an old house away from the campus. We had ancient equipment, tiny library etc.

    The mediocre law and medicine departments had premises and equipment we could only dream about.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Focus

      I got an A level in computer studies some thirty odd years ago, which gave me a broad insight into the world of computing circa 1960. Admittedly many things stay the same, but the changes that had occurred and were occurring put my education on a par with learning how to nap flint a century after bronze had taken over.

      Since then, everything I know, has been gleaned from books, the net and an unswerving enthusiasm to suck up knowledge. Can I get a job in IT? No way! Can I find a programming course that would give me the bits of paper to wave at an employer? Nope. Can my local college help? You're kidding.

      Sure, a heaving wallet can buy anything, but if I had a heaving wallet, why on Earth would I be going headlong into an industry that treats its staff as a temporary nuisance.

      Today, I apply for Excel / VBA oriented jobs, even going as far as to offer my services on a "not happy don't pay" basis, but still I languish on the sidelines raging at the screen when another article citing the lack of IT skills in the workplace is stunting UK businesses outlook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Focus

        I feel your pain. I'm beginning to think there is something rotten in the heart of UK HR departments. Over the last two years I've found it harder and harder to get new contracts despite the fact Ive got 25 years experience in a wide range of industries. I've been a BOFH, I've worked on helpdesks, lead agile and waterfall teams, developed in Ada, Fortran, C++, written midlets for mobile phones and created applications that are still being used 15 years later etc ad nauseum.

        I can't get new gigs for technical roles. In the end I had to bite the bullet and become a PM. No disrespect to PMs but I bloody hate it. I'm very obviously doing some wrong with my c.v as I was not even getting interviews. I'd understand it if I was failing at the interview but I can't even get that far. The feedback was getting ridiculous - "oh you don't have enough experience with javascript" , or "we want someone with five years experience of MS TFS" . so now my working life is reduced to writing GANTT charts and chivvying developers to do a job that I could do myself better and quicker. Yes I know I sound bitter. That's because I am - old and bitter and pissed off. I still code but in the evenings and weekends and it can be hard to fit in around work and family life.

        And at my current job, the developer leads complain they cannot get enough staff - yet when you ask further, it turns out they aren't recruiting in the UK - they get in people from France and Spain. They don't train anyone, they don't run an apprenticeship scheme and they complain that they can't keep the staff for more than a year or two. Unbelievable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Focus

          That's because I am - old and bitter and pissed off.

          Well, HR lie about not disciminating, but there's something they'll hold against you given half a chance, your age, law or no law. The twats that run HR in my large multi-national actually used the words internally to describe our workforce as "pale, male and stale". Because apparently it's OK to hold those things against the people. that the same fuckwitted HR team have over the years recruited.

          But rather than try and change with world, you could perhaps try adding a disability to your CV and see if that gets a different result?

    2. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Focus

      I have to agree, this isnt just an IT related problem; Universities are shutting down expensive to run engineering and "science" courses to run cheap "media studies" courses; and ALL the courses are pared down to meet the exam, not teach the subject (which is sadly true through-out our education system now).

      I have had freshly minted degree qualified staff turn up who havent a clue outside of the very narrow band of information spoon-fed to them, and who seem incapable of realising their lack.

      My favourite stories in this vein are :-

      A newly qualified teacher who asked me if Apple Crumble was vegetarian, and couldnt give the seasons in the correct order ("Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring" is what I caught her teaching the children)

      A boss with a degree in Electrical Engineering, who miss-wired the plug in his table lamp - Earth and Neutral crossed - and couldnt see the problem with a bank of CBs with both the "In" and "Out" cables coming out of the one set of terminals.

      To be fair to him, I was the first person to notice the issue - on my first day in the job - 23 years after they had been installed!!

      1. Captain Badmouth
        Happy

        Re: Focus

        We had an electrical engineer who was having problems with ignition interference on his car radio. He asked us if putting a suppression capacitor ( the type for use on ignition systems) on his aerial feed would cure the interference, we said it would.

        Funny, he never came back to say whether it had worked or not.

    3. attree

      Re: Focus

      I took a double IT A level back in 09/10. I think 70% of it was learning how to use Microsoft Office. Really useful...

      Ironically my job title is now Cloud Engineer...

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    Who to outsource ?

    It seems to me that the manager should have been outsourced rather than the engineer. Presumably also earning more than the engineer - so that would have resulted in an even greater saving!

  7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Lack of exposure to coding?

    When every child around here has a mobile/tablet and a copy of minecraft on it?

    The reason children (and middle class helicopter parents) dont do coding or engineering is because its bloody hard....and .. wait for it.... badly paid, plus you'll never have a job for life since every tom, dick and bank will outsource their entire IT department to god knows where at the slightest chance of the directors not getting a fat bonus this year.

    But companies will always say "we cant get anyone in to do vital IT work"... not surprising really when they dont want to pay for it, or indeed train any of their current staff to do IT work , after all, they'll just ask for a pay rise.

    So its bribe(lobby) the government to either blow more money on trying to train people or relax the visa paperwork so you can get in someone happy to run a multi-billion dollar banking network for £15 000/pa

    Oh and as someone who works at the sharp end of real engineering(aerospace metal bashing) its clear some "qualified engineers" need their CAD terminals taken away and given crayons instead ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "When every child around here has a mobile/tablet and a copy of minecraft on it?"

      I'm not sure what that has to do with coding.

      The kids are clever about using those gadgets, no doubt at all, but coding? I don't think so.

      But "not surprising really when they don't want to pay for it" there you are 100% spot-on.

      Back in the day when I was contracting, I lost count of the number of companies where you would hear the sharp intake of breath if you suggested any rate over £10 an hour - and this for a fully-qualified MCSE with loads of experience and a good track history of project delivery. "What?", they would say, "you want more than the guy who fills the vending machine? No chance, matey."

      As they sow, so shall they reap.

      But it's a bit hard on the new generation who can't get into the industry because of the overseas slave-wages no-overheads no-employment-law competition.

      1. John Sanders
        Facepalm

        Please....

        >> The kids are clever about using those gadgets, no doubt at all, but coding? I don't think so.

        No, they goddamn aren't.

        The use them as toys and complain to dad when something does not work as expected, any attempts to try to show them how anything works is met with a "meh".

        A tablet uses so many abstractions as to not need to know how a file system works or what a file is any more.

        Do not confuse kids learning how to have fun quickly with a device with understanding the devices themselves.

        Next time you see a 12-15 year old using a computer, pretend you know nothing and then ask them to do anything simple.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Please....

          Reposting due to great success: Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you

          Abstract: TL;DR? Why not just go watch another five second video of a kitten with its head in a toilet roll, or a 140 character description of a meal your friend just stuffed in their mouth. "nom nom". This blog post is not for you.

        2. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Please....

          "The kids are clever about using those gadgets,"

          Mere sublime animals

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Born out by experience

    I'm working at a start-up in Cambridge where we pay mid-range salaries and need experienced people, and the majority of the software team are non-UK citizens, and the majority of the CVs we get sent by agencies for the open positions we have are also from non-UK citizens. We're in a city where the market for experienced software engineers is competitive, so one reason may be that the good UK engineers go to the bigger companies with the deeper pockets, but there doesn't seem to be the pool of talent in this country that there once was.

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Born out by experience

      You've just defined your problem there... "mid-range salaries"... why should I only earn a "mid-range salary" when I can get a better paid job elsewhere?

      1. fnusnu

        Re: Born out by experience

        And in one of the most expensive cities to live in the UK...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Born out by experience

        True, and we're looking to move above "mid-range" as much as we can given budgetary constraints, but you're not going to find many start-ups offering top-end salaries (that you would still expect to be around in a year's time), and there are advantages to balance against that - more interesting work, developing new stuff instead of maintaining dreadful ancient crufty code, being part of an emerging industry, future potential, share options, etc.

        I guess the point could be that there is a shortage of new talent, and maybe the majority of the UK people are going for the safer, better paid options than taking a risk on something new that may or may not pay off later, whereas experienced people from Europe are more willing to take a punt over here given the more limited options at home.

        Gender balance is also interesting - CVs from female UK candidates are unicorn-like in rarity, but slightly more likely to come in from abroad (although still a tiny percentage).

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Born out by experience

      >good UK engineers go to the bigger companies with the deeper pockets

      Good UK engineers go to the US, work remotely for companies in the US or RoW, contract for big crappy Java dinosaurs, or head into finance in the City.

      Those are literally the only ways to earn good money in the UK.

      Plus startups that pay decently. All three of them.

      Everyone else is on "£15k - if you're lucky - to write JavaScript" wages.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Born out by experience

      And I work in an established company in Cambridge, where salaries probably count as mid-range; and we can't get enough software developers of acceptable quality, whether from the UK, the EU, or further afield. I don't get the impression that offering higher pay would make much difference; there simply aren't enough good developers available.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Born out by experience

        <rant>There are good developers in the UK available. However you require 1st* from Oxbridge to work in Cambridge, even if your job requires 10 years experience. Everything can change in ten years.</rant>

        Ho hum.

        * I got a Desmond from some college in the Fens twenty years ago.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Born out by experience

        I found too many companies look for "pre cooked" personnel. They don't want to spend time and some money in training good "juniors" with a lot of potential, often fearing they could leave once trained (if you don't pay enough later, and the environment is bad, they of course will do).

        Thus they look for "seniors" who often are just people who embellish their CV knowing recruiting companies aren't able to sort the good from the bad, and just match keywords. That happens too with off-shored personnel.

        It was already pointed out school and universities can't prepare people for very specific tasks in each company. Maybe it was possible in the past, when "engineering" meant just a few specific area. IT encompass a lot of different one, being across each and every commercial and non commercial activity.

        It is correct they teach those skills upon which students can then build upon - but companies should be ready to train the people they need in their specific sector, and then be still compelling enough so people stay around.

        After our HR sent us a lot of people "fit on paper", but utterly unfit on the real job (I do real "hands-on" tests, not just interviews...) - I asked them to look for people with the basic skill needed, good potential, and truly interested in our area. We'll train them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Born out by experience

          '..I do real "hands-on" tests, not just interviews...'

          Every place where I've been asked for my 'input' into the hiring process, this is my first suggestion, and usually falls on deaf ears.

          I'd hate to tally up the amount of time I've spent over the years fixing all the nonsense that a simple 20 minute practical test at the interview stage would have prevented..

          This just doesn't apply to IT, a friend who is a joiner has a rather simple 'filter' test he uses at interview for 'helpers', he gives them a nail, hammer and two lumps of wood..to use his words 'it's really fucking depressing to live on a planet where that many people fail to fix two bits of wood together with a hammer and nail..and yet they think that's ok because I'll let them use a Paslode?'

          '..I asked them to look for people with the basic skill needed, good potential, and truly interested in our area. We'll train them.'

          You have a better than average HR department if they actually do that, I've been told by my PHB that If I had actually applied to do the job that I'm currently doing, I wouldn't have even gotten to the interview stage, our HR department would have filtered me out (I lack the relevant paper qualifications and nepotistic connections).

      3. Vic

        Re: Born out by experience

        there simply aren't enough good developers available.

        There are loads of good developers available.

        That their CVs aren't getting to your desk implies at least one of the following :-

        • Your positions are not sufficiently appealing as advertised.
        • Your filtering mechanism is discarding the CVs you want and passing the ones you don't.

        The latter does seem to correlate rather strongly with using recruitment agencies...

        Vic.

        1. Sooty

          Re: Born out by experience

          It's a vicious cycle, over the last 15 years, very large numbers of qualified and experienced IT staff have been let go and replaced by cheaper, practically unskilled, offshore labour. Who in their right mind would study and get IT qualifications knowing that they will be practically unemployable if they want a decent wage.

          So now, we get the situation where people from overseas, of very variable quality, are employed because we don't have the skills locally (despite it only being a matter of a few months training with a decent person to get them to a superior level) but the skills aren't available locally only because the general perception is that all the jobs go to cheaper people overseas.

      4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Born out by experience

        "And I work in an established company in Cambridge, where salaries probably count as mid-range; and we can't get enough software developers of acceptable quality .... simply aren't enough good developers available."

        What you mean is that you can't get any people who can afford to live in Cambridge on the wages you're offering.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap Body Shops

    Intra Company Transfers are what really hit the UK job market, in London the salaries seemed to drop by about £10k a year and the contract market almost died at one point, started out at around 18,000 offshore workers brought in a year, 10 or so years ago, was apparently 33,000 last year, I left the UK 6 years ago because of this, UK Government's (Labour and Tory) fully support ICT as this 2010 article shows:

    http://www.techeye.net/business/uk-big-business-exploits-visa-loophole-to-decimate-it-jobs

    as this later article states:

    "Workers were hopeful that the influence of the electorate could at least chip into the stranglehold of lobbyists and big business when the government considered a review. Unfortunately for them, their hopes seem to have been dashed by chancellor George Osborne, who attended the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) with Shri Anand Sharma, India’s Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister. Vince Cable also attended.

    Both parties agreed that there would be a push in investment between the two countries. With this came an agreement that the UK would not alter any of the existing Intra Company Transfer visa laws at least for the next two years. According to a statement issued on the government of India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB), the Coalition also agreed that there would be no salary cap on the transfers. "

    http://www.techeye.net/business/uk-it-workers-betrayed-by-george-osborne

    Computer Weekly also explained how the scam works:

    http://www.computerweekly.com/blog/Investigating-Outsourcing/Offshore-IT-workers-in-the-UK-avoid-paying-taxes-but-are-not-breaking-the-law

    This issue is pretty much ignored by the media now after a flurry of publicity earlier, can't see the Government or business changing their ways though, they want cheap, even if it's useless.

  10. Hans 1 Silver badge
    WTF?

    >While this is generally assumed to affect low-pay, low-skilled jobs, it can affect those in IT too.

    Trump and a Brexit will harm low-pay, low-skilled jobs for different reasons ...

    Trump is a republican, akin to Conservatives and New Labour in the UK or LR and PS in France, all they want is to enrich their already rich friends, they have zero incentive to do otherwise ... that means low-pay gets even lower-pay (cf zero-hour contract in the UK).

    A Brexit will not stop EU Europeans (Poles, Czechs etc) from entering the UK to work, that simply is a lie (unless you "really" wanna break treaties, in which case you will have some serious economic troubles, they will NOT allow you to pick and choose once more), what it will do, though, is cause many multinational businesses to move over to the continent... Besides, all the migrants from outside the EU who are currently in France will end up in the UK, because France has said: Brexit means we send them over!

    IT will be especially affected by a Brexit. Either way, I do not care, I no longer live in the UK and could not care less what you decide doing ... I'll never go back anyway ;-).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Brexit will not stop EU Europeans (Poles, Czechs etc) from entering the UK to work, that simply is a lie (unless you "really" wanna break treaties......Besides, all the migrants from outside the EU who are currently in France will end up in the UK, because France has said: Brexit means we send them over!

      So, what you're saying here is that we can't break 'treaty obligations' in the event we vote to climb out of the cesspit, but the French can?

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Let me explain where I live and "where" I work ....

      I live in the south of France, near the Mediterranean, and I work for a Dutch company (Dutch pay). As you probably already know, the UK (or France aka /dev/frogland) does not pay you for your talent, the Dutch do ... Dutch pay + sunny weather, I could have moved to the UK, yes, I could have ... too much rain, too many inbred imbeciles, too many islanders, too many idiots who have never lived abroad who praise the queen and the union Jack or St George's cross with a passion I have, for women, lager, and ... wine!

      I should add, too many imbeciles who attempt to give us democracy lessons, when we live in country without a senile monarch or house of inbred lard ....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I left the UK

    This has been true for a long time in my view.

    35 years ago I was told (by the company I worked for in the UK) that for me to earn more money I would have to leave my technical skills behind me. I decided to leave the UK behind me and moved to a country where my technical skills are both recognised and rewarded. And still are.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Why I left the UK

      Please share which country you've found that will recognize and reward technical skills.

      I've got my coat, and am ready to go. --->

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Why I left the UK

        !!!! Not the initial poster !!!!

        I am braver, hence not anon! I think talent is rewarded in The Netherlands, for example !

        Bonus: You can live and work there without speaking a word of the local language. All you need to learn is "Hup, Holland, Hup" ... although this time around, they are not taking part (Euro 2016). Seriously, even street-cleaners speak English in The Netherlands ....

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Esme

    "Those staffing UK IT departments talk about immigrants as essential in filling positions, rather than a money-saving technique. “We’re not training and educating enough people in this country in core technical areas,” says Adam Hale, chief executive of HR cloud service Fairsail, which employs techies from several EU countries."

    Blaming the educational system is bollocks. As a previous poster pointed out, you can't train people in Uni for specific jobs that might beavailable by the time they leave Uni. No, the blame rests firmly on the part of employers, most of whom seem to believe that training is Someone Ele's Problem - and that's not just in IT, either. Bring back proper old-school apprenticeships, say I. And while you're at it, make outsourcing jobs abroad illegal if the work to be done is in this coutry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And while you're at it, make outsourcing jobs abroad illegal if the work to be done is in this coutry."

      Sadly the main driver behind this is the UK Government, they are doing deals with countries like India in exchange for access to markets, I once saw a business spot on the BBC World News in Germany where they showed the British embassy in Vietnam hosting visits for UK business leaders to see how they could improve profitability by outsourcing to Vietnam (Seriously!), I have also spoken to the Home Office MAC face to face about ICT's in the UK some years ago and was told "We consider ICT's to be vital in maintaining British Companies competitiveness".

      The UK Government is not your friend on this, actually rather the opposite!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sadly the main driver behind this is the UK Government

        Certainly are. And they're guilty themselves. They introduce mandatory employee pension schemes, demand high payroll taxes, high standards of welfare and H&S (all good things in a way) but then the fuckers use offshoring to exempt their own badly run departments from these taxes and obligations. My wife works for the NHS - payroll and staff admin are outsourced to Steria in god-knows-where, and IT support is from South Africa. The same applies to DWP, MoJ and the rest.

        Multinationals do the same as the government, so the story is that taxes and worker rights apply only to UK based SMEs. And successive British governments have been made up of feckless lightweights unable to see the vast damage that offshoring does to the UK - loss of jobs, loss of skills, loss of UK tax income, and worsening our already dreadful trade imbalance.

        So here's the real message from the goons at Westminster to the British people: "Sod the economy, sod your children's employment prospects, we're only here to save you from climate change and paedo-terrorists."

        1. John Sanders
          Headmaster

          Correction!

          "we're only here to save you from climate FARCE and nonexistingRIGHT-WING-terrorists."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          «sod your children's employment prospects»

          The weekly "The Economist", who are neo-liberal insiders, wrote about the big banks in the City of London:

          www.economist.com/node/21542417

          «the best hope the next generation has of earning a decent living»

          Their expectation is that only the children of the affluent and rich (plus a few tokens from outside those groups) will be able to get a «decent living» by being able to get a City job via an expensive private school and Oxbridge. The rest of the next generation will not be «earning a decent living».

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        On the Migration Advisory Committee its head released a report with some comments in inter-company transfers:

        www.express.co.uk/news/politics/636241/Home-Office-Cameron-charge-firms-cheap-foreign-labour

        «Multinational companies bringing in employees from abroad do not have to make National Insurance contributions for the first year and generally pay them less than Britons would earn. Indian IT workers most commonly use the route into the country. “They work with a consultancy then get farmed out to other companies on third-party contracts,” Prof Metcalf said. “What you get is lower IT costs for the clients. That’s a benefit for British companies but there’s less upskilling of British workers.

        “British computer science graduates have the highest unemployment rates of any graduates.”»

        Clearer then that...

        I sometimes worry about all the suckers who are being drawn into a computer science degree to keep computer science departments in business (they expanded enormously around 1999-2001) and whose future is to have their job off-shored to a McProgrammer from a place where the cost of living is a fraction of the cost of living in the UK.

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      "Those staffing UK IT departments talk about immigrants as essential in filling positions"

      We do? I haven't ever heard anybody say anything like that. Or did they mean that HR says that immigrants are essential to fill IT positions at the salary that they wish to offer?

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Esme

      Well said.

      Forty or so years ago I learnt to code, at school. Though I've always used the skills I learnt I didn't make IT my career, it's just been a sideline.

      When I went off to uni many of the people I was at school with took the traditional route of an apprenticeship. These days they'd all be shunted off to uni, and probably not to be engineers. What likelihood that they'd build on the IT skills they developed at school to become software engineers?

      FWIW one of the reasons that apprenticeships disappeared was that the beancounter culture came along. And beancounters would rather poach a trained engineer than spend years developing their own.

      So they stopped training apprenticeships. And the good companies that wanted to train apprentices also stopped because the investment was being lost as expensively trained engineers were poached.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outsourced onshoring - racism ?

    I'm in 1930s america. I employ some people on my farm - some of them I pay $10 bux a day, the others I pay $5 a day. I use far more of the $5 a day guys. They do the same job, but you know, the 'coloreds' work for less....

    So, we are now in 2016.. we wouldn't dream of such a thing nowadays!

    Yet now, (UK being in 'europe' or not makes no difference), any large IT department in any UK company is mostly indian workers bums on seats - note I'm talking Indian nationals, not 'indian british'. And I'm not talking about offshore employees.

    Why ? Because companies can't do the 1930s thing anymore, they have to be more cunning:

    So they outsource the IT to a company for $X. It's not the companies fault if that partner decides to provide 100 indians earning 50% of what a UK national would work for and shipping them in from India...hey.. it's more than they get at home right ?

    But to anyone looking at the end result it's the same - an office where people do the same job - where the UK nationals (probably white) earn twice as much as people surrounding them doing the same job.

    That's doesn't seem right to me. Logically, fairly, morally. Not to the indians, not to the UK nationals.

    I'm not sure what the solution is mind you, but as long as we allow companies to do this they will. In the short term it helps there bottom line, but I don't see how it helps the bigger economic picture.

    But stopping visas being provided unless the company can show that the worker will be paid a competitive salary for the role in that country would be a start. That way, if the role TRULY could not be filled by a UK national, they'd have every right to fill it, and the indian would get paid correctly for it. But if they were just trying corporate shenanigans to employ an indian for 1/2 the cost of a UK national, then it would stop the practice ?

    1. CustardGannet

      Re: Outsourced onshoring - racism ?

      Letter to Viz [UK satirical magazine] some time ago :

      "I've just heard they're moving my job to India.

      Brilliant !

      I've always wanted to see the sub-continent, and with the money they're paying me, I can live like a Maharajah !"

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Outsourced onshoring - racism ?(@ CustardGannet)

        See icon >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Outsourced onshoring - racism ?(@ CustardGannet)

          A short explainer for the Culturally Diverse Society:

          Nonwhite people suffer (even if the cause for this nonwhite people, acts of god etc.): RACISM

          White people suffer (even if the cause for this nonwhite people): NOT RACISM

          White people profit off nonwhite people (even if this is a win-win situation): RACISM

          Nonwhite people profit off white people (it may even be an exploitative situation): NOT RACISM

          "Comparative advantage" - Some people wish it just went away... (then toilet paper would be the same price everywhere)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Outsourced onshoring - racism ?(@ CustardGannet)

            Which is why, although those duped into a racist mindset will never realize it, none of this has really ever been about race. It's about being an owner or a wage earner, capital or labor. If you don't own the place, you're just one of the machines on the floor: no matter how highly paid you are.

            But the squeeze on wages isn't only about maximizing profit, it also reduces the number of workers who might have the means to help challenge, or even replace, the current owners. Before outsourcing and offshoring became endemic a lot of IT people were approaching that level of threat, although most of them didn't know it. There was a palpable sense of resentment from the executive suites.

            Unfortunately most IT workers didn't see what was coming and refused to band together in their own self-defense. True believers in neoliberal economics, merit pay, and libertarian social policy, they got picked off one at a time, in lonely isolation.

            Note well in all this those that did the deed acted with complete disregard of the consequences for the sustainability of their own enterprises. For that we have to thank their abject ignorance regarding the tech that makes their business go. Not surprising given that neoliberals generally still don't get that the funelling of all wealth the top has resulted in a situation where soon none of their customers will be able to buy the shit they sell anymore.

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Outsourced onshoring - racism ?

      It is not called racism, it is called Slavery Wages.

      hard to compete with that.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "..had to teach a person.. " "..remain available for consultation... "

    Should this happen to you it's time for the scorched earth protocol.

    1) Accept you'd job is over as at some level the firm has become infected with a***ole management.

    2) Is "training" part of your job description? If not this is an increase in your responsibilities. That means a pay rise.

    3)Having management sign off on your training skills means they should now go on your CV. Coping with a non native language speaker is bonus points.

    4) Make sure HR sign off on this as well so they can't pass the buck.

    5) Consultation implies consultation fees, not life time technical support. Ideally leave the rate to be determined later. If they insist on a specific rat and it's too steep they will never let you leave until every last fact is pumped into the PFY's (or his foreign equivalent) head. Charge by the hour, and make sure the first hour is mandatory, so if it's an easy fix (because he doesn't know what he's doing) you don't miss out.

    6) Should they ask to hire you back permanently check how many hours you've billed them and get the pay rise in writing from them before you accept. I'd also suggest you ensure they get rid of your replacement and get authority to select your own replacement.

    They gamble that the job is simple enough and the newbie competent enough that they don't need your level of skills (and cost).

    Accept they may be right.

    Otherwise make sure they pay through the nose.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      @John Smith 19, RE: My replacement.

      >Should this happen to you it's time for the scorched earth protocol.

      Except that's pretty much guaranteed to be a Career Limiting Move. When your Potential Next Employer (PNE) contacts your old one to find out if they want to hire you, the old one can drop subtle hints not to touch you with a 3Metre pole. If you act like a kid throwing a temper tantrum on your way out, they'll make sure your PNE is WELL aware of your immaturity. It might feel good to put a torch to the place & dance gleefully around the flames, but your PNE will find out what you've done & refuse to hire you because of it. But I *DID* "get even" so to speak: I had worked hard to write scripts to automate much of the crappier duties I had to do each day, such that instead of spending an hour crawling through a database to pull out certain values to plug into reports that otherwise couldn't be linked to the database, I merely had to spend about 5 minutes double checking that the values from the one matched where they had been pasted into the other. All the scripts like that I had written I deleted, thus forcing the replacement to do the entire job from scratch. If I'm supposedly not qualified to do the job, then you've just replaced me with someone whom will take DAYS to do what I finished in minutes. We'll see how much my time is worth NOW, won't we?

      > 1) Accept you'd job is over as at some level the firm has become infected with a***ole management.

      I accepted that my job was essentially over the moment I heard my fellow coworkers grumbling because of similar situations for them via their own managers. Folks with more years of work experience than I had been alive, being told to train their replacements, & then being given the heave-ho the moment the replacement was theoreticly up to speed. As soon as my counterpart in another department told me what their manager was going to make them (my counterpart) do, I saw the writing on the wall. When my manager gave the same order to me it didn't come as a complete surprise, but neither was it Acceptable in the least.

      > 2) Is "training" part of your job description? If not this is an increase in your responsibilities. That means a pay rise.

      It was not part of my normal duties, & neither was it going to get me a raise in pay. They were replacing me so they could pay LESS money, they weren't about to pay me to do the training. Besides, they threatened to withhold my severence if I refused to do the training. My options were to either train the replacement or try to fight in Court. Since I would be unemployed at the time, there was no money for a prolonged legal fight. In short I had no real choice but to train the replacement, I couldn't afford NOT to & they wouldn't pay me for the increase duties.

      > 3)Having management sign off on your training skills means they should now go on your CV. Coping with a non native language speaker is bonus points.

      Getting either management or HR to acknowledge ANYTHING that would benefit the employees they were about to fire was out of the question. Increased duties from training your replacement? Nope. Dealing with a barely English literate person during such training? Nope. They even tried to claim I "wasn't a team player" to the unemployment court as a way to not have to pay me my severence. I squashed THAT line of bullshit by showing my last three employee evaluation forms that included phrases like "works for the good of the team". The unemployment judge was NOT amused, but couldn't slap the bastards with fines either. He DID force them to pay my severence & unemployment, & then told them that if they ever tried crap like that again in his jurisdiction he'd make sure it got reflected in their records with the Employment Bureau. The company was being a bunch of fuckwads, they weren't about to help me pad my CV in their rush to give me the boot.

      >4) Make sure HR sign off on this as well so they can't pass the buck.

      See above. The company wouldn't do ANYTHING that might make me look good & thus tarnish their claims that I (and my coworkers) weren't qualified to be doing our jobs.

      >5) Consultation implies consultation fees, not life time technical support. Ideally leave the rate to be determined later. If they insist on a specific rat and it's too steep they will never let you leave until every last fact is pumped into the PFY's (or his foreign equivalent) head. Charge by the hour, and make sure the first hour is mandatory, so if it's an easy fix (because he doesn't know what he's doing) you don't miss out.

      Except that they didn't accept Contractors. That implies someone whom is qualified to Consult, which means there's someone qualified to do the job, which proves that they're lying about there NOT being any qualified people locally to do the job. Otherwise I would have & set the rates so high as to make an Olympic high jump look like a limbo stick.

      >6) Should they ask to hire you back permanently check how many hours you've billed them and get the pay rise in writing from them before you accept. I'd also suggest you ensure they get rid of your replacement and get authority to select your own replacement.

      No chance in hell of that happening. See above. If they hired me back then they would have to admit that I was qualified to fit the position. If I was qualified NOW but not THEN & I hadn't taken any training courses in the interm, then I could make a VERY solid legal case that they lied to fire me in the first place. The only way they could prevent such a cluster fuck was to make sure they NEVER hired me again, nor any of my coworkers that got the same treatment.

      >They gamble that the job is simple enough and the newbie competent enough that they don't need your level of skills (and cost). Accept they may be right. Otherwise make sure they pay through the nose.

      *Evil grin* I made sure of that by deleting all my scripts & personal "cheat sheet" files. I taught him how to do the job, I just didn't teach him how to do it WELL nor QUICKLY. They don't like my level of throughput, let's see how they like it when the new guy takes days/weeks to do each portion rather than merely a few minutes, & a full day's worth of tasks that *I* could finish in the day would take the replacement epicly longer to do. Me = 1 Day, Scab = 1 Month & that's if they don't have to stop every ten seconds to bother the manager on what they're supposed to do about the "complex bits".

      It all boiled down to money. The company wanted to pay far less than they were paying us. They lied to replace us with Visa'd scabs. We got screwed. There's fuckall we could/can do about it since (AFAIK) they no longer do business in this State. Fuck 'em. Violently. With a rusty metal spinning porcupine.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: @John Smith 19, RE: My replacement.

        " I made sure of that by deleting all my scripts & personal "cheat sheet" files."

        If employer got wind of that, you could end up in serious doo doo.

    2. John Sanders
      Pirate

      Re: "..had to teach a person.. " "..remain available for consultation... "

      >> Should this happen to you it's time for the scorched earth protocol.

      I disagree with this, time to become stupid, socially inept, get ill, forget things, recommend books... etc.

      If I had to teach something I would just teach specifics but won't teach how to think or approach problems.

  15. kmac499

    Job Titles..

    Symptomatic of the HR attitude of creating job titles that over state the actual skill of the person in place. Tacking 'engineer' or 'manager' onto a job spec.purely to obfuscate the actual job done. My pet hate is customer account manager i.e. sales man\woman.

    The average Plumber, Electrician or Gas person has taken more exams and has more legal certification to practise their trade than any IT guy I know.

    The other problem is we don't have politically correct aceptable words for these highly skilled and regulated trades

    Bring back and celebrate the old titles of Journeyman, Fitter, Artisan, Tradesmen, Craftsmen, Technician each with their own accepted levels of acheivement, experience, skill and pay levels.

  16. zebm

    Do we really want more computer scientists?

    When the grads turn up in the workplace they typically can't code, better to get someone with a Maths degree who can

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do we really want more computer scientists?

      they typically can't code, better to get someone with a Maths degree who can

      If you're clever enough to get a maths degree, why would you waste your life doing the thankless and often poorly rewarded job of coding? Fair enough if you're coding HFT algorithms for a bank who will shout at you and treat you like dirt, but pay megabucks. And fair enough if you're not paid much but working at Harwell, Aldermaston, or on some exotic research project.

      But everything in between is going to bore a competent mathematician to death.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Do we really want more computer scientists?

      When the grads turn up in the workplace they typically can't code, better to get someone with a Maths degree who can

      Either you are looking fora "coder" who may or may not be able to code, or you are looking for a person able to get a Math degree who, again, may or may not be able to code, but who is at least interested in IT. This actually means getting a "Computer Scientist"

      Getting a "Math degree" person and asking him to do coding is not a good idea. Knowing how to do multidimensional differential geometry is not often a useful thing in the workplace. And algebra is basic knowledge, isn't it?

      In fact, you want more a "Computer Engineer" than a "Computer Scientist", really - the scientist should do the science at work at IBM Research, if that still exists and hasn't be wrecked by Wall Street gyrations.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “The key is that they have skills that will enable them to be useful in two years, five years, 10 years’ time, because then they have the basic grounding and the ability to adapt and learn throughout their careers,”

    And that my friends is the problem, they turn up thinking of the next job and never learn how to do the job at hand. I go out of my way to recruit people who haven't gone to uni the best person to get is a school leaver who (nowdays) runs their own Minecraft (or another game) server, written their own mods for games, manages a voip service for a gaming clan, built their own PC, fixes their families computers, etc. Someone whose generally excited and interested in doing IT.

    Also lets be honest, IT is a mugs game, we all know it.

    1. Tim Jenkins

      "Also lets be honest, IT is a mugs game, we all know it"

      Very true. I currently have at least six mugs on my desk. Two feature Kenny from South Park, and contain about a dozen mini screwdrivers (none of a useful size), some PCI slot blanking plates, two WAP aerials, superglue tubes (partly used), cable ties, wire twists, HDD rails, dead flash drives with mismatched caps, badly crimped CAT5 plugs, dodgy SATA leads, and a tiny scale model of an Uzi SMG. Another, with a rather nice 90s 'smiley' logo, houses my collection of fake £1 coins (107, at last count). Three are coffee reaching various states of solidification, including one with blue-green fur growing on it, and a trapped spoon. There are probably more under the monitor shelf, but I'm a bit reluctant to investigate...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I grew up abroad, and one of the first things I noticed in the UK was the ridiculous ratio of "managers" to workers. "managers" because most of them couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag soaked in a canal for a day. There's this weird cultural aversion to doing anything resembling real work, as if achieving something is somehow beneath you.

    The other issue, as I see it, is that, in the UK , the term engineer is used to mean tradesman, which is emphatically not what an engineer is.

    Where I grew up, an engineer designs things and has, at least, a bachelors degree (and that's entry level, they're all working towards masters degrees). If anything, the view is that engineers are entirely too theoretical and paper based. A technician makes those designs work in the real world and implements and maintains them. A tradesman is exactly what it says, a tradesman.

    To give that a real world context, Engineers design the grid, Technicians implement the grid, and a tradesman wires your house. Or, Engineers design the firewall, Technicians implement the firewall, and the PFY plugs the computer into the LAN socket. Or Dev, DevOps, PC Maintenance.

    The UK somehow blurs this to the point where an engineer or technician can be stuck wasting time plugging computers in and it's viewed as acceptable, instead of the utter waste of their time it actually is.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I grew up abroad, and one of the first things I noticed in the UK was the ridiculous ratio of "managers" to workers.

      Growing up abroad hasn't given you any special insight. I didn't grow up abroad, but your observation has always been blindingly obvious to anyone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Where I grew up, an engineer designs things and has, at least, a bachelors degree (and that's entry level, they're all working towards masters degrees). If anything, the view is that engineers are entirely too theoretical and paper based. A technician makes those designs work in the real world and implements and maintains them. A tradesman is exactly what it says, a tradesman."

      Ok, while I "think" I get where you are coming from, this is entirely too simplistic a view, and frankly kinda offensive to those of us involved in the Manufacturing Industry. I already have enough problems with pure Design Teams maintaining anyone who doesn't design the product isn't an Engineer, but the number of these bumblefucks who couldn't find their asses with both hands and a map is f###ing terrifying. Many of the (even halfway decent) Manufacturing Engineers I've worked with are highly competent guys who have to have a good grasp of everything from mechanics, electronics, physics, maths and even Chemistry. Just because they don't spend their life on CAD or coding does not lessen their engineering expertise or the technical finesse required to do their job.

      Rant over

      I do however agree that the UK's attitude to the term "Engineer" is seriously messed up. Equating someone like I.K.Brunel with the board swapper who "fixed" your washing machine is barmy, yet still Society still does it. So who is to blame? Media? Government (and I mean that generically, it's not an opening for "Torys are evil/Labour are scum" argument)? Education? Us?

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        In Germany the title engineer is legally protected and can only be given to professionally qualified folk, I think.

        I think it's a rank/job title inflation thing - would you rather put Service Engineer or Bog Washer 3rd Class on your CV?

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          "In Germany the title engineer is legally protected..."

          Same thing in Spain, and probably in the rest of Europe.

          1. FrankAlphaXII

            Not sure if it is in the US, but if you go around calling yourself an engineer, it helps to be one before a real engineer appears and makes you appear to not only be untrustworthy but full of yourself. Nothing worse than a liar, except one that's arrogant as fuck about lying. I know a family of actual Engineers (combat/sapper, civil, and watershed engineering) back home, and I strongly doubt they'd be too happy with someone trying to pass themselves off as a member of their profession to get in some woman's panties or some man's boxers.

            I also have a feeling that Engineers in IT wouldn't feel as strongly about someone tacking engineer onto their job title as they deal with people like the PHB calling themselves engineers and in a position to actually cause a great deal of pain for everyone else from not knowing what they're doing along with the title.

            Plus, lets just be honest, calling yourself a "solid waste sanitation engineer", "water based excretion technician" or "protein spill specialist" when you spend your time mopping the floor of a shitter, chucking sanitizer into urinals, or cleaning up puke only makes you sound like a pretentious dolt.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I work in an aerospace company, and there's a lot of engineers here, and other scientists, who got their hands "dirty" in actually building and testing some pretty complex and advanced stuff also. Sure, there are also technicians working and other people, but when you build something that wasn't ever built before - and maybe will be sent where "no one has been before" - technicians are not enough, and you can't just send them blueprints, and hope for the best.

      On the other end I've met IT engineers just out of uni who believed they were being hired to lead a team of several developers, and they would just "design and instruct do to".... just to find they knew less of many "technicians" working there. Actually, in IT you do expect engineers to build parts of the systems, especially the critical ones, because, especially in software, every product is actually a prototype. The "production" part is just sending out copies to be installed.

  19. Tony S

    The senior managers decided to outsource a specific function. They selected a partner organisation with no staff with provable skills in that field, very much against the advice of the IT Manager.

    The consultancy then employed a couple of people from the sub-continent; they were cheap and had certain buzzwords on their C.Vs. that matched the requirements. However, not one of them had previously worked with the systems involved; or it appears, anything relevant.

    Move forward four years, and the project has gone from bad to worse. The amount of money that has been spent in the last year, is nearly three times what the organisation had been spending before it was outsourced.

    The senior managers decide to bring it back in house as clearly the consultancy can't deliver. They advertise the jobs that had been sent overseas; but at a rate that was about 40% below what they had paid their staff 4 years before. They then complain that they can't get the "trained staff" that they need.

    Anyone recognise this situation?

  20. jms222

    I'd say it's far better to have a maths degree than anything software or IT related.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      I'd say it's far better to have a maths degree than anything software or IT related.

      Agreed. Most of the colleagues whose skills I value most highly have maths or science degrees, not Computer Science.

      1. Frederic Bloggs

        This really hasn't changed in the 40 odd years that I have been in the business - particularly in anything to do with software production. Nearly every company I have ever worked with have war stories about a CompSci graduate that they have employed. The complaint nearly always boils down to: intelligent, but not actually much use for "our" business without spending two years (re-)training them.

        Why is this? Why has this still not improved?

        1. Captain Badmouth
          FAIL

          Why is this? Why has this still not improved?

          Have a look at the make-up of Parliament, and the company directors in this country and their backgrounds. Whereas we are people who know how things work, they are people who don't want to know and, furthermore, take an obscene pride in their ignorance of things technical and scientific. Hence the lowly status of the engineer in the uk. How much does that silly cow at Talk-talk get for knowing feck-all about the technology behind her business?

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Nearly every company I have ever worked with have war stories about a CompSci graduate that they have employed. The complaint nearly always boils down to: intelligent, but not actually much use for "our" business without spending two years (re-)training them.

          Why is this? Why has this still not improved?

          Because companies' IT departments (except for cookie-cutter companies of 3 people selling travel advice for example) cover very specific business areas, have created very specific, often undocumented and lore-rich environments that have grown over a long history of non-standard trial-and-error adventures, management changes and incompatible "solutions". Add to this the vagaries, frank retardation and change-for-change sake of low-brow "solutions" like Windows and its hanger-ons and add-ons and two years in training sounds actually pretty good.

          The complaint seems to be mainly the usual manglement gripe of not getting something for nothing, again.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long standing problem

    Nearly 30 years ago when I got married the minister needed to know our occupations to fill in his paperwork. My wife had just started as a hospital doctor and I'd recently started my first job as a software engineer with a computer science BSc and PhD under my belt from two *ahem* long established universities. When I told him that I was an engineer his face visibly fell and he mumbled something about putting us both down as doctors, but I insisted on being listed as an engineer. Plus ca change... and all that stuff.

  22. Disgruntled of TW
    Facepalm

    equivalent(Engineer,Architect)

    Some self-advertised "Architects" need to read the Ladybird Books before coming into work.

    I weep for the abuse of the A word in job titles.

    What's often worse, is when "the business" puts the E or A hat on and decides to design a system or outsource a technical service that they don't understand. Same faeces, different day.

  23. Colin McKinnon

    Not enough people studying for A-levels

    "But the subject remains a minnow compared with..."

    It seems to be attracting a lot more candidates than A-Level Surgery and A-Level Airline Piloting.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Not enough people studying for A-levels

      You can do BTEC 3 in med science or aviation or computing.

      However, "Computing" was offered as one of the available subjects at A Level when my son was making his sixth form choices. One of the problems seems to be available teachers.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: Not enough people studying for A-levels

        I'd proffer cost as perhaps the biggest hurdle back when A level computing was first offered at my local college.

        We spent too much time using punch card and paper tape machines, when really these items should have been handed over to the history department, long ago.

        But in agreeing with you, yes, I laughed out loud when I started my university course to find my IT tutor couldn't even turn on the computer and it was left to me to nurture the class in the mysterious ways of BASIC, DB, Visicalc and other such unnatural phenomena.

  24. FuzzyWuzzys
    Mushroom

    Stop with the "programming" crap!

    When are we going to stop ramming "programming" down kids throats? I tell you what kids need, it's more common sense training. It's the ability to logically problem solve, then on top of that programming and/or systems admin is a doddle. I've found that most people who struggle in IT, struggle because of a lack of ability to problem solve using common sense.

    Classic example I see a lot of is making self-service password reset apps internally on intranets. Young and/or dopey people make interfaces that request free-entry username and password to perform a password reset, not having the nous to realise that someone will simply put "root" or "admin" in the username box!

    Rather than simply ramming programming down kids throats, "You must learn the syntax to Python, Java or C#", how about we teach you how to problem solve why a browser can't connect to the internet. Teach them to logically check each step of the network chain, how to traceroute, check DNS, check the sodding cable is plugged in and not busted!! These are the basic life-long, core skills that will turn out sensible, intelligent young people ready to take on any task. Once you have these core life skills in place, you can layer on any technical skills you like and these kids would fly.

    Stop with all the sexy "Our kids must learn IT so teach them how to code!" bullshit and get them thinking like most top quality IT people, using common sense and logical, natural problem solving abilities.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

      A more novel idea would be to stop "training" kids and allow them to develop naturally looking at the variety of options available and over the course of their early life, figure out what it is they're good at and enjoy enough to make a career out of.

      Kids are pretty good at problem solving I tend to note it's adults trying to train kids at being good at something that's natural while also reducing their ability to hone natural talents by limiting their environments to what adults think is good and safe.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

      This is turning into my old-timers' reminiscence day.

      But here goes.

      In the 60s and 70s when I was at school we all had to learn woodwork and metalwork.

      While a bit of cutting and how to do some DIY might be useful, the real reason behind this was that we were being trained to do working class jobs, as envisaged by the powers that be. Factory fodder. (And already out of date even then).

      Today the kids all have to do "coding".

      Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

        Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork.

        Maybe. But my metalwork teacher was a dour south Yorkshireman who'd worked in the steel industry and liquid metal flowed in his veins. When I got my O level, I could competently operate a lathe, a grinding wheel, a pillar drill, I could weld, braze, powder coat, etch, I could hand-forge parts, use all the main hand tools, I could draw a basic design and actually convert that to a finished article. Maybe that was about making me factory fodder.

        But more importantly still I learned hugely important lessons that also stick with me in safe working, in reacting to mishaps, in empathy and respect for tools and machines, in using the right tool for the job, in the value of proper preparation, in listening to people who know what they are talking about. I had confidence in what I knew, and I had confidence to learn more.

        If coding gives those to students today, it will be worthwhile, but I'm guessing it won't.

        1. H in The Hague

          Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

          "But more importantly still I learned hugely important lessons. ...... "

          Sounds like the best teacher, ever.

      2. energystar
        Pint

        Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork...

        Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork... as envisaged by the powers that be... (And already out of date...)

      3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

        In the 60s and 70s when I was at school we all had to learn woodwork and metalwork.

        I would like to exchange my lessons in sociology and "art across the ages" with that, please!!!

    3. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

      Welcome to your first day of your Engineering degree.

      Firstly I would like you all to stand up

      Now all those who have played for hundreds of hours with Lego or Meccano please sit down.

      Err, I'll take Stickle Bricks at a pinch.

      For all of you still standing, I would like to welcome you to the first day of your Management in the workplace orientation study NVQ1.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hypocrisy!!

    When Eben said 'There’s a massive shortage of good people, and there’s an oversupply of not particularly good people' he highlighted one of the real problems we face in this country - a lack of patience and investment in new hires by business. There's an unrealistic expectation that new hires should hit the ground running, and the blame for anything else is loaded on to the individual rather than the system.

    1. energystar
      Pint

      There's an unrealistic expectation that new hires should hit the ground running,

      Love that English way of saying things.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hypocrisy!!

      «When Eben said 'There’s a massive shortage of good people, and there’s an oversupply of not particularly good people'»

      If that is E Upton, I know well of him, he seem to me to be a gigantic wanker, from his thesis through to IdeaWorks! and so on. I describe him is Cambridge's answer to B Johnson, but admittedly Oxford's champion has won the title :-).

      But here he is being somewhat realistic if one understands well what he means.

      * Most IT workers are classified by employers as "bulk headcount" ("not particularly good people"), and the only thing employers care about them is getting them as cheap as possible. They are as a rule outsourced or offshored. In some business hiring at "bulk headcount" level position in the UK is against policy.

      * For "bulk headcount" IT (and other) positions HR and PR departments are under strict policy to always say that "there is a skill shortage", as that is code for more visas and immigration. Note that they are, "technically", not lying: as long as a job attracts pay higher than minimum wage, "technically" there is indeed a skill shortage.

      * Some IT workers are classified as "creative genius" ("massive shortage of good people"), and the only thing employers care is getting the "best and brightest" from a prestigious background (which in the UK means Oxbridge and sometimes as low as the other 3 "top 5" or even top 10/Russell Group). Unfortunately to ensure top wages for their graduates the institutions branding the "creative genius" workers keep their intake very low.

      * The idea is that the "creative geniuses" do cool-looking half-working demos and then the tedious legwork to turn those into products is done by the "bulk headcount" offshore. The goal is "headquarterization": the Apple/Microsoft style where the "creative geniuses" are in London (or anyhow in the South East) at headquarters, and the dirty "software factories" for coding/testing/support are offshore. Topical link: /money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2004/08/01/377380/ «McProgrammers: Rajendra Pawar created a global chain of computer schools that churns out low-cost techies for call centers and software farms. That has made him a fortune--and a folk hero.»

      When E Upton writes «There’s a massive shortage» of "creative geniuses" what he means is not that there are hundreds of thousands or millions of jobs going begging for "creative geniuses" in London or the South East, but that the current tiny numbers of such "creative geniuses" in IT could perhaps double to a still tiny number.

      But that is not happening because those who get out of "creative genius" branding institutions find much better income in other areas (management, law, medicine, finance, ...) than in IT.

      When "creative genius" wages in IT in London (or the South East) match those that Oxbridge/top 5/Russell graduates can get in management, law, medicine, finance, ... then the output of "creative geniuses" will grow, as currently almost only the geekiest of the Oxbridge intake choose to go into IT, even at "creative genius" salaries.

  26. 27escape
    WTF?

    And suddenly their minds go

    “They’re at a point when they’re often outperforming the boys and somehow in their minds they go, ‘this isn’t for me’.”

    So its the girls fault? Rather than teachers/parents suggesting that science and technology are not areas to be studied by girls?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And suddenly their minds go

      Both my daughters have learned all sciences from being able to speak, all their female cousins of age work in some science/medical/engineering field, all my sisters and brother work in Chemical Engineering, with all but one chartered.

      My oldest sister who is a Chartered Chemical Engineer did experience some stupid men believing that she wasn't up to the job but she worked in a field where you cannot just BS your way through so eventually they had no choice but to accept that she could do the job and obtained true equality and the respect of her peers.

      She didn't just whinge that it was some conspiracy that the subject was hard or demand that everyone change for her benefit, she studied and did the job better that everyone else so changing the environment via excellence. Of late, I hear far too many other women bitching that they deserve the prize without doing the work and blaming everyone else when they find the work is beyond them.

      I ask you do you really want the bar lowered so it is easier for women to get into the job or have everyone have to work just as hard to get in?

      Anything that your didn't have to work for, holds less value than something you earned through toil.

      Anything easy gains little money or respect and demanding a free pass because you are not the stereotype devalues the efforts of those that had to earn their place.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: And suddenly their minds go

      So its the girls fault?

      Yes

      Rather than teachers/parents suggesting that science and technology are not areas to be studied by girls?

      This falls into "girls don't have their own minds" kind of trap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And suddenly their minds go

        On the other hand, we have:

        Lockhart's Lament on Math Education

        ...considering that Math and Computer Science have a strong common base in problem solving until the branching into "studying and use of mathematical structures" and "studying and use of constructive procedures" occurs (both merging in Logic Programming again). Engineering as such of course gets a heavy dose of politics, economics, problem satisficing as a side dish.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And suddenly their minds go

          The "anti-lament" and the rest of Matthias Felleisen's (serious author) essays are also good reads:

          Matthias Felleisen essays

  27. Mutton Jeff

    Where I lived as a kid

    The bin men were called "City Engineers" ...

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Where I lived as a kid

      In the South Park "City Wok" sense.

  28. Mr Commenty McComentface
    Unhappy

    So who's fault is it?

    So here we have everyone blaming everyone else.

    Who feels that we are part of this problem?

    Apart from me that is.

    The article refers to Code Club, a seriously worthy STEM gig to be honest. How many of those here assembled get involved in helping run these? How many of us are involved in ANY kind of STEM support? Schools are required to give impartial Careers support/advice to their pupils, yet how many Teachers can hand on heart point to any positive points of being employed in Technology? We are the ONLY ones qualified to give advice and support and portray our careers in a positive light.

    To those of you who DO support after school clubs, STEM events, to you I raise my hat. To the rest of you, I lay a challenge at your feet. Again (I've ranted about this before).

    Get involved. Speak to your professional body (if you're a member), talk to the likes of STEMnet (look 'em up), get involved with any of the myriad of after schools clubs, STEM organisations, Greenpower Trust is worthy of note in this, Code Club etc etc. They are all crying out for volunteers, from "a couple of hours a year" to the "devote your life to it", they're just delighted to have the support from people who know their shit!

    Maybe if more of us get involved and share our reasons for getting into this gig, and why we're still in it, a few more kids will get involved and we won't all have to worry about the state of the nation when we're in our dottedge. Mind you, judging from some of the posts here, some might want to reconsider their career choices if they hate it so much, life's to fucking short folks!

  29. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    A Universal Problem in the 21st Century

    .....too many nuts........not enough bolts.

    ...with an overabundance of wingnuts.....

  30. energystar
    Alien

    Today's Education more of a glutonny contest...

    And less of a discovery endeavor.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Livin on The Edge'

    ~ Comp-sci grads going through the system now have a depth of knowledge that often doesn't extend beyond C#. Cheating is also common as certification tends to consist of automated tests instead of practical grunt. But on the flip side, there's a lot more to know. More platforms, more-vendors. The end result is more holes in security.

    ~ Things are bad! When every system crashes, and every database gets hacked, will that force us to come up something better? Because that's what it will take for change it seems. In addition, everything can't simply be about ruthless & endless cost cutting, with senior execs still making 100's or 1000's of times what everybody else does etc.

    ~ Because of this many tech workers of my gen have actually left the market. Money was good in the 90's and early 2000's. But now the Mortgage is paid off, world travel is done and expat gigs all sown up. Some married, some didn't. Those without kids can now easily work part-time, and some can even get out completely.

    ~ But this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Tech was supposed to be life-long lucrative work, with the odd nod of respect. Most veteran IT pros I know would still work as opposed to living modestly. But the rewards just aren't there. Few of us expected that when the song in the title was released...

  32. Roger Mew

    Funnily enough I was tasked to investigate something similar, to wit education for children of expats. The following I discovered, in East Anglia, take that to mean Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge. Job availability in the area for young people in techy type jobs, CNC machining, radio design, heavy machining like radial drilling, multi head drilling or spark eroding. Many, in fact in Norfolk over 20. Schools teaching anything similar 1 at Kings Lynn but even that was limited. However subject being enforced taught, and one school demanding subjects as extra curricular sociology and photography, almost all the schools. Job vacancies, nil! Yes that is correct NIL. In fact I asked Watton High school and others how many courses they have for heavy engineering seeing as the area is high for the oil industry under the freedom of information act and it is illegal for them not to answer, and I am a discriminator of information media, yet got not one response. So please where are the students going to get jobs (oh yes like one I knew he had a degree in something like the above and became a forklift driver) or from else where in the EU that teach this stuff like eastern Germany and Poland.

    (sorry if the silly machine has done this twice!!)

    1. H in The Hague

      "... sociology and photography, almost all the schools. Job vacancies, nil! "

      I'm peripherally involved in the construction industry and they have many vacancies but too few people trained to fill them. Consequently wages in the sector have risen by 6% or so in the last year. (source: http://www.constructionnews.co.uk/data/employment/skills-gaps-push-construction-wages-up-6/10001567.article ). According to the same source bricklayers in London can now get up to 1000 pounds a week, probably more than many graduates in the industry earn. But when they went out to interview folk, around 3/4 of respondents said they didn't think construction was a suitable career for themselves or their relatives. At the moment the industry can still recruit skilled personnel from the rest of Europe, it'll be interesting to see what happens should that stop.

      The UK has a proud heritage of engineering and used to have many leading engineering industries. So where did it all go wrong?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        «According to the same source bricklayers in London can now get up to 1000 pounds a week»

        In heavily cyclical business as construction there can be spot shortages. In the USA in the far north during the fracking book illiterate navies were also paid well, while it lasted, but nowhere else.

        The 1,000 pounds a week in that context is a pretty low wage: that's the gross paid as a contractor, not an employee income. Sickness, holidays, pension, healthcare, accident insurance, unemployment insurance (again, in a very cyclical job business), have all to come out of that. Being optimistic that is like an employee wage of around £20-22,000/year, which for London is far from being exciting.

        In general the tenor of the job market is that wages fell 10-20% for most jobs post 2007 crash. But "technically" any wage higher than minimum wage means that there is a shortage of staff in that job. :-)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism at its best...

    The feckers at the top just want cheap resource. The service will be as crap as the customers will bear for the immediate cost. Until senior management are made culpable for the mess, it will always be that way. Unfortunately all that happens now is that they get a golden cock-shake and off to the next company to fuck that up too.

    When I started, you had to know what you were doing and you had to CARE about what you were doing. You wanted a job, and you wanted to be good at that job. The off-shoring model just gives you cheap drones that just don't care. They're never around long enough. Those that are good (and there are some) are soon off to do something else.

    And now you have businesses bleating they can't find local staff when really they created this mess in the first place (what they *really* mean is local staff who will accept much lower wages AND produce quality work). Who in their right mind would go into an industry where you are continually worried about whether your job will be next on the out-sourcing list!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capitalism at its best...

      The worm may be turning especially with cyber security and data breaches which is related to the talk talk debacle :

      http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-committee/news-parliament-2015/cyber-security-report-published-16-17/

      Linking Ceo pay to IT security could mean that there will be moire of an emphasis on getting good quality talent in as any security holes could affect the Ceo's pay.

  34. NoGig

    No one should overlook the propaganda implicit in this article. In a labor market, shortages of a particular skillset will result in rising wages -- and thus attract more workers. Meanwhile this article is about using foreign guest workers to artificially suppress domestic wages -- and increase profits/executive bonuses.

  35. ecofeco Silver badge

    Biggest pile of bollocks ever

    This is one serious pile of bollocks. Mt. Everest scale in fact. The 1% do not value local talent one wit and they will tell any lie to hide their contempt of said talent.

    Can't have the help getting uppity, you know. They simply MUST know their place. /s

  36. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Conslutants

    His boss then asked him to remain available for consultation. “I very nearly gave in to the urge to get arrested for assault.”

    Nah, just name a suitably high figure - $2500 per day, minimum 2 days even if it's just a phone consult.

  37. James 36

    freedom of movement

    Does anyone except me think it is a good thing that we can work anywhere in Europe ?

    Why is the discussion always about "them" coming over here ?

    "We" can go over "there"

  38. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Pay more.

    Pay more. There, fixed it for you.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "an engineer is the guy who comes to fix your central heating"

    No, that's a technician or a fitter. A engineer would be a guy who designed a central heating system and specified the parts and methods needed to install it.

    I HATE the fact that my job title is "IT engineer", when in actual fact I'm a delivery boy. I turn up on site, take new PC out of box, put old PC in box, leave site. That's ***NOT*** engineering!!!!!

  40. learnnewskills
    IT Angle

    More Investment

    There needs to be more invesement in both IT and ICT within the UK.

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