Skills and investment shortage worries IT sector

Both private and public sector organisations don't have sufficient resources to generate growth

Skills gap

The global technology sector is suffering from a worrying lack of investment and a skills shortage that could prove problematic in the future, according to research. 

More than half of IT and telco professionals think there's a skills gap, with public sector employees bumping this statistic up to 63%, according to the global study by technology recruiter Networkers.

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The roles that are proving hardest to fill are IT security analysts and cyber architects. Those positons didn't exist 10 years ago, yet the speed of growth in the digital industry makes it more pressing than ever to onboard people with such expertise.

"To win the war on cyber security, we must continue to invest in defences and recognise the opportunities for securing talent for the future," said James Smith, managing director of Networkers.

"Businesses are often unsure what they actually need with regards to cyber security and big data due to a lack of time, budget and knowledge about what the future looks like. It is therefore imperative that they take heed of the advice of their workforce and ensure they are best prepared for the challenges ahead."

The problem lies in attracting and retaining talent, particularly in the public sector with only 44% of IT and telco executives believing there is room for growth. Although some organisations are launching new projects that skilled candidates would find exciting, a high level of bureaucracy, slow decision making and the fact most businesses don't know what the IR35 legislation means for them is making the public sector less attractive to many technology professionals.

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"More should be done to promote the public sector as an area where technology professionals can make a real difference to services that affect everyone in the UK," he added.

Not only is it proving hard to employ people with the right skills, but both public and private sector organisations are failing to invest the budget needed to combat security threats.

"CIOs and CTOs are faced with the challenge of convincing the board that investment needs to be made now to combat cyber security threats," Smith added. He referred to a stark warning by Prof. Richard Benham, Chairman of the National Cyber Management Centre, who predicted a major bank will fail as a result of a cyber attack in 2017.

"However, banks are not the only institutions under threat as 2016's data hacks showed," Smith said. "How many of these threats need to become reality before the industry seriously invests in cyber security talent?" 

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