Plugging Asia's IT skills gap

Summary:Skills shortage is a perennial issue, both for the IT industry and businesses looking for in-house technical expertise. According to Hudson's latest report, the lack of candidates with the right skill sets is the No.

Skills shortage is a perennial issue, both for the IT industry and businesses looking for in-house technical expertise. According to Hudson's latest report, the lack of candidates with the right skill sets is the No. 1 reason for recruitment difficulties in Asia. This was cited by 75 percent of respondents across the four markets surveyed--China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

This is no surprise considering the pace at which technology changes, but there is, unfortunately, no quick solution. Two years ago, I filed a story on the need to re-skill IT workers, and here I am today writing about this.

A notable difference between then and now is the list of the top five skills that are lacking. (Unfortunately, I've only got information on Singapore.) Below is a comparison of IDA's manpower survey findings:

Top 5 skills most lacking (2003): 1. IT project management 2. database management 3. sales and marketing 4. quality assurance and management 5. business continuity/disaster recovery management

Top 5 skills most lacking (2005): 1. software development 2. infocomm security 3. database management 4. IT project management 5. Web services

I'm not sure if successful marketing of professional courses like the Certification for IT Project Managers (CITPM) is the reason for the improved ranking of IT project management (it's now the fourth-most lacking skill instead of the first), but certainly any kind of industry-level effort helps.

This year, we've seen the introduction of new certification programs targeted at hot areas such as RFID (radio frequency identification) by CompTIA and IT outsourcing by Singapore Computer Society. It's still too early to tell what effect they will have on the IT skills gap, but at least those, who are keen on these areas, can upgrade their skills and remain employable.

But certification alone is not enough. A long-term, multi-prong plan is needed to tackle this critical talent issue. The question is what?

Topics: CXO, IT Employment, Networking

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