IT skills shortage continues to impede businesses

Despite rising rates of educational attainment, employers continue to struggle to hire thanks to troubling skills shortages, a study finds.

In the private sector this issue is most prevalent in the tech space, according to a study by jobsite Indeed.

Shortages in Java skills – the most widely used programming language – are particularly notable, with businesses attempting to overcome the deficit by drastically raising wages.

The average role for skilled Java workers offers a salary of approximately £60,000, 130 per cent higher than the average salary of open positions across all industries, which stands at £26,600.

Despite the huge salary boost, UK enterprises are still struggling to entice candidates who hold the technological skills required for their roles. Worldwide, the share of job postings calling for Java skills is five times greater than the share of searches for this skill.

The report identifies that aside from salaries, candidates within these industries prioritise flexible and remote working. In the UK, job searchers within the healthcare and computing industry are most likely to look for jobs using specific criteria including ‘remote’, ‘work from home’, and ‘telecommute’.

Indeed’s chief economist Tara Sinclair says, ‘Rather than focusing on salaries alone as the cure-all for attracting employees, organisations would be wise to look closely at the wider expectations and demands of their candidates, if they are to draw in the best talent.

‘That said, while increasing the flexibility of the job offer can provide an effective short term solution to draw in the best candidates, ultimately even these measures won’t resolve systemic talent gaps that have a significant impact on the long term health of the business.’

With skills gaps growing, despite rising tertiary education attainment, the report points to the need for more targeted education and training for employees, if corporations are to overcome the skills gap in the long term, Sinclair says.

‘Employers need to reconsider the way they think about hiring. If candidates with the right skills and qualifications are lacking, simply throwing money at potential employees is not a long term solution.’

Money should be spent on better training schemes and qualification opportunities for employees, Sinclair adds.

‘With this strategy in place, enterprises can embrace candidates who are the right fit for the job in terms of culture, experience and willingness to learn – offering them the opportunity to gain specific qualifications on the job.

‘In a tight labour market, addressing barriers to education and self-advancement is a more valuable investment than outbidding competitors.’

Further reading on skills shortages

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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