Tech workers confirm UK skills gap still a problem

A recent survey has found many UK tech workers are convinced there is a skills shortage in the UK tech sector

Research by tech jobs site The IT Job Board has found the majority (56 percent) of UK tech workers that responded to its survey are convinced there is a skills shortage in the UK tech sector.

Sector skills body e-skills UK said around 140,000 vacancies a year need to be filled across IT professions, yet pointed out the UK only has around 12,000 computer science grads annually.

A large majority (72 percent) of the survey respondents also believed the skills gap is growing year-on-year. Asked why there is a skills shortage in the UK, more than half (55 percent) of respondents cited rapid changes within the IT sector, with the same proportion blaming a lack of IT pros.

Earlier this year the UK government gave the go-ahead for a National Skills Academy for Information Technology to boost techie numbers in the UK. The Academy will open its doors next year and aims to train 10,000 people in the first three years of operation.

Asked for views on ways to plug the skills gap, 70 percent of the almost 450 respondents to the IT Job Board survey said better training in workplace would help, with a smaller proportion (44 percent) suggesting offshoring is the answer.

The vast majority (88 percent) of respondents believe an IT skills gap is by no means a UK-only problem and does exist elsewhere.

Alex Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board, said in a statement: "The IT sector is a rapidly evolving one, and it is down to employers to invest in their staff, both via systems and training, to ensure they stay up-to-speed with the changes."

Just under half (46 percent) of respondents to this year's Skills Survey by ZDNet UK's sister site,, are convinced there is a skills crisis in the UK — a slight decrease from last year, while 40 percent said they have IT vacancies they can't fill, down from 45 percent in 2007.