Nearly three quarters of UK firms questioned are struggling to recruit properly skilled technical staff, research has claimed.
Figures released by managed services specialist Reconnix, which questioned more than 100 IT decision makers from the UK public and private sector and over 250 students or recent technology graduates, showed a growing gap between employer expectations and graduate optimism.
When questioned on the issue of hiring qualified staff, just 12 per cent believed there were enough candidates adequately skilled for the jobs on offer.
This is a stark contrast to the 82 per cent of existing technology students and graduates who remain positive with regards to employment prospects. And it is despite a concentrated drive from the government to promote the uptake of STEM subjects at second and third level.
The report highlighted three main talent black spots: web application development (38 per cent), internet and networking (36 per cent) and data analysis (34 per cent).
Pat Nice, chief executive of Reconnix, said: “The technology sector is currently facing a massive challenge in finding the properly qualified staff it needs to grow. The UK tech sector has been one of the darlings of the UK’s economic recovery but its full potential will not be reached as long as companies face difficulty in filling key technical positions.”
On the students’ side, support roles appeared more appealing to students and graduates, with server support garnering 38 per cent of votes, and desktop support 34 per cent. Just 18 per cent of students were considering careers in data analysis or networking.
Nice added: “Optimism from current students and graduates is encouraging to see following years of uncertainty, but the reality is that many are not at the level that employers need them to be. Graduates are leaving university with a broad understanding of technology, but lacking critical skills that employers actually require. Employers need to take a more hands-on approach to help develop talent in the industry, whether this is working more closely with education establishments or directly training through apprenticeship programmes.”
In addition, both sides agreed that technology-related qualifications need standardising, with 56 per cent of employers wanting to see professional training standards further developed.
Salary was also important, with remuneration being a main motivator. A total of 54 per cent of employers highlight salary as being the biggest factor in career choice, and 43 per cent of students and graduates admitted to being motivated by money.
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