I am very sceptical when I see yet another article presaging an “IT skills crisis” because I have long held the view that the UK is more than self-sufficient in technology skills.
The so-called ‘skills gap’ is generally to be found between supply and demand, i.e. the disconnect between skills holders and those who need the skills.
In days gone by this gap was undoubtedly the basis for a very vibrant contract market. Since then, however, the skills base has grown substantially – therefore increasing the pool of available and highly-skilled people.
However, despite legislation, there is also recognition that the IT talent pool is continuously drained by vigorously applied recruitment practices that still reinforce widespread perceptions of ageism.
The paradox is that we often hear of a skills gap, in parallel with tales of highly-skilled people leaving the industry.
I have also heard many ‘leavers’ cite frustration with the recruitment processes, feeling poorly served by agencies who don’t have the skills themselves to assess candidates properly.
Generally speaking the agencies, in defence of their short-listing processes, cite overwhelming responses to advertised posts. Which seems to re-inforce my perception that the UK does not have an IT skills gap.
My challenge to the IT recruitment process (employers and intermediaries) is to devise ways of working (particularly selection) that genuinely serve both clients and candidates.
Despite the broad application of IT to disintermediation of other business processes, we don’t yet seem to have come up with an effective application in the area of IT recruitment.