UK IT Employment Set For Boom Years

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The IT employment market can look forward to some healthy years ahead, but the industry needs to get youngsters interested

IT employment through to 2020 is set to grow at almost twice the UK average, according to research from e-skills UK.

Employment of IT professionals is forecast to grow at 1.62 percent per annum, during this period. Supply might not meet demand, however, as a record 129,000 new recruits a year will be needed to fill IT jobs in the UK, e-skills said.

The number of advertised vacancies has shot up from the slump in the depths of the recession in 2009 to hit over 116,000 per quarter in 2011. Almost three-quarters of those were for permanent roles.

Getting ’em young

Youngsters are losing interest in IT, the data suggested. The proportion of 16-29 year olds working in IT declined from 32 percent to 19 percent between 2001 and 2011. Almost half of those working in the industry are over 40.

The government is hoping to galvanise children’s excitement in IT by chucking out the old curriculum and letting schools have more say in how youngsters are taught. A new National Curriculum, including ICT studies, is being developed, but will not be ready until September 2014.

“With IT employment set to grow at such a pace, it is vital that we continue to invest in the skills of those working in technology, and create new routes for young people to enter exciting and challenging careers in the industry,” said Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK.

The technical skills most in demand from job adverts were SQL, C, C#, .NET, Java, SQL SVR, ASP, JavaScript, Agile and HTML. Software professionals make up a third of the IT and telecoms professional workforce, whilst nearly four in ten work in ICT management or IT strategy and planning.

Overall there are 1.5 million people working in IT and telecoms in the UK, equivalent to around one in twenty of the working population.

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