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Michael Page International

Opinion Page

Britain’s future talent – addressing the technology skills shortfall

Posted by on Mar 31 12:35. | Edit

In the not too distant past I would have opened up this piece with the now outdated cliché of ‘you can’t open up a newspaper or turn on your TV these days without…’

We have not yet established a widely accepted replacement so I’ll offer:

You can’t blankly gaze at a smart device these days without being inundated with facts and figures on both the growth of British business and how the digital revolution is driving big and entrepreneurial business alike.

The FTSE has hit record highs; the economy is forecasted to keep growing by 2.5% for both 2015 and 2016; digital business will contribute £12bn of economic activity to UK; London, the South East, Oxford and Cambridge technology hubs are growing more quickly than Silicon Valley… We’ve even had Stephen Hawking warning that robots will be the end of us all (please excuse the artistic licence; he didn’t mention Skynet or Terminators per se).

Politicians are championing the message of mass job creation, but on the ground in the talent market where we technology recruiters spend our days at the coal face, the success of business and the effectiveness of new technologies are causing our clients a major headache.

There are simply not enough relevant technology candidates to meet our customers’ demand. Since 1990, the digital revolution has led to up to 10 new job titles created in companies being technology led. In a recent survey of both small and large companies, 76% and 88% respectively of respondents highlighted a lack of technology talent as a major inhibitor to the success of their business. The most challenging areas to recruit currently are data science, cyber security, technical product management and development. Although these are subject to change by the time this blog goes online…

There is no quick fix to this deficiency in the necessary technology talent in the UK. To ensure this problem is addressed, and a sustainable solution provided, we must confront the issue at source.

Steps are being taken. The National Curriculum now has coding as a mandatory subject for 5-16 year olds and the BBC has recently kicked off its ‘make it digital’ campaign to raise awareness among generation Z. More needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly. It’s true what they say – the children really are the future.

As part of our commitment to Britain’s future talent at Michael Page, we are looking to inspire the up and coming technology talent in the UK by sponsoring the Young IT Professional of the Year award at the UK IT Industry Awards on 18th November at the Battersea Park Arena, London.

We recognise the opportunity technology offers to both businesses and candidates alike. However, for technology functions to meet evolving business needs, it is the human aspect which will ultimately dictate success.

Technology talent must have the necessary relationship building skills and relevant commercial acumen to drive business decisions in order to be effective.

To find out more about our capabilities, speak to someone at Michael Page Technology today. Technology professionals urgently required, robots need not apply.

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