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Call for Greater Collaboration to Tackle Digital Skills Shortage

Dominique Adams

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As businesses face increasing competition for tech talent many believe better collaboration between government, business and universities will help tackle the digital skills shortage.

The competition to find tech and digital talent is tougher than ever with 85% of Chief Information Officers (CIO) in Scotland claiming it is now more challenging to find qualified professionals than five years ago.

With a potential UK talent exodus on the horizon in the wake of no-deal Brexit, which seems more and more likely, many fear the competition is set to become much more fierce.

Research from recruitment agency Robert Half Technology UK on hiring trends and career ambitions has revealed that Scottish CIOs agree more focus should be placed on alleviating the IT skills shortage.

The survey, which is part of an international study, showed that a 45% of Scottish CIOs feel that actively promoting IT as an attractive career path to Millennials and Generation Zers is crucial to address the skills gap.

15% thought there was a need for more in-house training, 15% felt there was a need for greater collaboration initiatives from the business community, while 10% said that increased collaboration with educators was best approach to tackling the problem. A further 5% said there was a need for more government initiatives.

Investment Must Increase To Remain Competitive

Polly Purvis OBE, chief executive at ScotlandIS and chair of CodeClan, said: “We would echo the call for more investment in digital technology skills. As the world changes and digital permeates all aspects of the Scottish economy the demand for specialist digital skills is only growing.

“As a country, we need to increase the investment in digital technology skills at all levels and we must do that urgently if we are to remain competitive in a global race for talent.”

Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half, commented: “With continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the potential of reduced access to skilled EU workers combined with visa caps, the IT skills gap is likely to increase unless all we take positive steps to address it.

“By taking a holistic approach to tech recruitment challenges, UK organisations will start to see more candidates attracted to a career in IT. Our research shows that the UK is not alone in its challenge to find qualified, highly skilled IT professionals. This is a worldwide issue that is particularly prominent in IT as digital transformation, automation and industry 4.0 shapes the future of the working world.

“CIOs in the UK recognise that if government, businesses, and universities can work together to provide the correct environment to nurture, develop and train IT professionals, the benefits to both organisations and employees will be a major boost to the UK economy,” concludes Weston.”

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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