Employers across the UK are already struggling to recruit the technically skilled staff they need. According to the Future Digital Skills Needs of the UK economy report, based on research commissioned by O2, this country’s businesses will need an extra 745,000 employees with up-to-date digital skills before 2017.
Technology businesses need programmers and developers, of course, but organisations in other industries are highly reliant on digital technology too. They need IT managers, helpdesk support, digital marketers, and other key specialists to support their business and guide its growth.
Where will those digitally skilled workers come from?
In theory, there should be a steady supply of school leavers with the skills businesses need to stay afloat in the rapidly growing digital economy, plus older candidates with higher qualifications or longer experience in the field.
The problem is that not all these students are learning skills that will be relevant or up-to-date by the time they find employment, while experienced digital specialists have to update their skills continually to avoid the same problem of obsolescence.
In practice, a lot of UK businesses outsource their digital tasks to individual consultants and freelancers, but there’s still the problem of availability. Outsourcing to a specialist company with a larger workforce is a more effective option, as you won’t have to worry about gaps in service.
Whatever way you handle it, the digital skills shortage will affect your business. Plan ahead now to avoid coming up against this issue later.
360ict provides IT management services and business support to SMEs in London and the SouthEast. Give us a call on 0208 663 4000 for expert advice to optimise your business.