News Burst: IT skills shortage getting worse

Analyst report paints gloomy picture

The shortage in European IT professionals is set to increase in the next two years, from 5% in 1998 to almost 20% in 2002, IDC has reported. The analyst firm issued almost the exact same predictions over a year ago.

"As today's businesses increasingly depend upon IT for communications, the Internet, e-commerce and electronic business, the demand for skilled labor will continue to grow year on year," said Andrew Milroy, a manager at IDC's European Training and Skills Management research program. "Soon the demand will significantly outstrip supply, leading to inflated salaries, increasing staff turnover, and therefore higher operating costs and lower profit margins." IDC predicts the internetworking area will experience the most acute skills shortage.

"Without a strategy for resolving the IT skills shortage, individual countries, and Europe as a whole, will begin to suffer at the expense of other countries and regions, which are already planning more strategically," he warned.

The most common reaction to a gap in appropriate skills is to retrain, typically resulting in increasing operating costs. Other answers include using offshore resources (from Eastern Europe and India in particular), or hosted applications.

A report from the giant Anderson Consulting group suggests that the Internet will create 850,000 jobs in the UK over the next three years, and that this boom will cause a skills shortage. Tony Westbrook thinks they're exaggerating. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.