by Julian Goldsmith

CIOs call on budget for skills

Mar 22, 2011
CareersIT LeadershipIT Strategy

CIOs appear to be joining the call for an emphasis on home-grown IT skills from George Osborne’s budget this spring.

There is an increasing worry across UK employers that the domestic skill base in the country cannot support a growing demand for talented IT people.

“I would like to see some form of incentive [from the UK government] to recapture the IT jobs, off-shored over the last decade, through something like a reduction in or removal of employers NI for three years to bring back roles to the UK,” said milk producer portal Milklink head of IT Jeremy Butterfield.

“Surely this makes sense for UK employers and the economy. Advantages include a reduction in UK unemployment and a growth in IT skills from the base. Too often it has been the graduate jobs that have moved, so where are the CIOs of tomorrow going to come from ?”

These sentiments were echoed by another IT boss, who called on the government to use the budget to incentivise businesses to nurture IT skills, rather than offshore the requirement.

Transport specialist Centro director Denise Plumptonsaid: “I’d like to see some incentive to keep jobs in Britain. I am increasingly concerned that the wave of outsourcing – which has quickly morphed to offshoring is destroying our IT industry.

“Young people are seeing the career ladders shipped off to other shores. We say we want experienced IT people who can innovate – yes, but they need to learn somehow and if we continue to offshore the “commodity” end of our IT needs we are removing that opportunity for them to learn and develop.

“I am particularly irritated, nay furious, when I hear of public sector organisations going for the offshore option to save money. Don’t they realise that by doing so, the taxpayer then has to foot the bill for the benefits for those unemployed amongst us, creating a false economy. Let’s back Britain.”

One recruitment specialist has also called for measures in the budget to favour home-grown IT employment, such as incentives to take up IT at school and college and a simplifying of agency workers regulations.

Recruiter Hays IT MD James Lloyd-Townsendsaid: “We would like to see the skills issue coming under the spotlight. Incentives should be put in place to drive skills development in the areas most needed by business now and in the future. Skill shortages are becoming increasingly prominent in areas like IT, particularly those specialising in niche technologies.”