Despite the weak economy, IT skills are still in short supply in the UK and Europe.
A report from industry body, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), in conjunction with market research company IDC, predicts that the IT skills shortage will rise to almost 1.7 million unfilled positions by 2005, up from 1.1 million in 2001.
The greatest demand for technology professionals in Europe will be in networking, according to CompTIA, where the skills shortage will increase by 19% over the next three years. This reflects the growth in the use of the Internet in European organisations, says CompTIA.
Pure technical skills are not the only ones in short supply. The shortage of so-called ‘soft’ IT skills, such as project management and leadership skills, will see the greatest increase by 2005, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 27%. Many respondents to CompTIA’s survey say their greatest challenge is finding staff with both technical ability and business acumen.
However, the downturn in the economy has at least slowed demand for skilled IT professionals. This is because many organisations are postponing projects and new investments and looking to improve efficiencies from existing technology installations. As European countries move out of the recession, growth in demand will again pick up from 2003 onward, concludes CompTIA.