JobsManagementSkills

IT Skills Shortage: Where Is All The British Talent?

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

Google + Linkedin Subscribe to our newsletter 2 Comments

IT skills scarcity leads to one In four firms scouring foreign shores for IT expertise

A significant number of businesses are looking overseas for IT talent to supplement local skills and knowledge.

The is one of the key findings from an international study by IT resourcing specialist Experis.

International workers

The research investigated different approaches to resourcing from companies around the world across a variety IT business functions. Development Solutions was the discipline most likely to be handled by international workers, with 32 percent of businesses across all countries resourcing most or at least half of their work outside of their country.

Employment, Jobs © Luna Vandoorne Shutterstock 2012Yet certain functions are resourced almost exclusively in-country. Only seven percent of resourcing for Information Security and Project Management is done mostly out of country. These findings may illustrate companies feel safer resourcing security professionals closer to home, despite improvements in remote working technology. Similarly, it’s possible that Project Management challenges were viewed as more difficult to accomplish without in-person teams.

Geoff Smith, MD, Experis Europe, said: “Achieving the right balance between local expertise and international flexibility is never a simple task. Modern IT teams are governed by fierce cost and time pressures which often forces them into creating diverse international teams to get the job done. New technology makes it far easier to manage and facilitate this, but there is still a need for long term planning that takes advantage of global talent pools, but keeps local knowledge at the core.”

In the UK, areas most likely to be staffed internationally are Development Solutions (35 percent) and Business Intelligence & Analytics (32 percent), while Information Security was one of the least likely to be performed mostly out of country (seven percent).

In terms of the resource balance, the study also revealed that employers engage a wider range of experts within teams, but the makeup differs with the workforce outside of their home country. With regards to the international portion of their workforces, companies are more evenly divided between exclusively permanent employees (29 percent), a mix of permanent and contract workers (23 percent), exclusive use of contract workers (18 percent) and exclusive use of freelancers (nine percent). On the other hand, businesses resourcing locally are more like to tap into the permanent workforce (49 percent) and exclusive reliance on contract (six percent) and freelance (five percent) workers is much less.

Smith added: “Despite a steady incline in the number of UK businesses looking for IT candidates over-seas, our research suggests that they are still able to address many of their resourcing needs locally. This speaks volumes about the calibre of local candidates as it stands, but businesses need to look ahead to the years to come, when demand will increasingly outpace supply.

“As IT moves from a cost centre, to more of a strategic function, this pressure on available talent resources will increase and the trend of sourcing workers from over-seas will likely accelerate at a faster pace.”

How much do you know about British IT – The Thatcher Years? Try our quiz!