Skills shortage worsens, says NCC

But it may be good news for IT professionals, as a survey shows skilled IT professionals are in high demand and can expect increases in salaries in upcoming years.

A shortage of skilled IT professionals in the UK has worsened, but while that may mean bad news for employers, it could lead to increased salaries and demand for IT professionals in the next few years.

The rate of perceived skills shortage has increased to 6.8 per cent this year, over last year's 4.2 per cent, according to a national survey of IT salaries and employment trends conducted by the National Computing Centre.

The shortage is more of a problem with recruitment than retention, with 73 per cent of respondents who need new skills planning to retrain existing staff instead of hiring new employees.

The skills shortage comes along with the increase in demand by companies for online business. "The repercussions of the credit crunch are unknown, but more and more organisations are doing business on-line so demand for web related skills is buoyant," said Ian Jones, NCC's head of content.

Employees with Oracle, SAP, .NET, web development, network support, business analysis and project management skills should expect to see high demand for their skills in the next few years, according to the survey results.

"With some skills moving into shortage, employers should be planning and budgeting for how best to acquire these skills now. It is an unwelcome message but they should be prepared for the extra cost," Jones said.

Nationwide, IT salary grew by a steady 3.7 per cent median increase from last year. Managers working in greater London saw 17 per cent salary growth, the biggest increase reported in the survey.

In addition to increased salaries, IT professionals also saw healthy growth in the number of employees who received performance related bonuses, up six per cent to 44 per cent. The value of these bonuses rose from 7.5 per cent to 8.3 per cent.

The results of the survey, the Benchmark of IT Salaries and Employment Trends in IT, come from the responses of 244 organisations with 5,493 IT staff members.

The results match with previous surveys, which have shown the skills shortage could mean a boost in salaries of up to 10 per cent.

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