Graduates are far from off-the-shelf employees

With the announcement by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (Hecsu) that IT graduates have the bleakest prospects with an unemployment rate of 16 per cent among its sector, the concern over the quality of graduates entering the job market comes into question.

Research suggests students are leaving university with the appropriate academic qualifications but lacking the technical skills, business knowledge and commercial experience necessary to secure employment within the developing IT industry, creating a catch-22 scenario for graduates, which is something CIO's need to address.

There appears to be a thinning of core technology skills in favour of wide generalist IT inclusive subjects and as such there is a likelihood that companies will have to continue to invest heavily in further training.

In addition, there is a reduction of candidates applying for these core technology degree programmes, which is unfortunate because there is a bigger need than ever for IT professionals and there will never be a shortage of jobs in the sector due to the increasingly important role it plays in society.

As a result, companies can find themselves with serious skills gaps but lacking suitable candidates to meet the specific requirements they are looking for, and there are two fundamental reasons behind this.

The IT industry is constantly responding to new technological trends, which is difficult for students fresh out of university to keep up with. With respect to the industry itself I believe there will continue to be a rapid rate of change across technology.

Possibly the key one though will be the support and maintenance of legacy technology. Many banks, for instance, are racing towards a time bomb – old programmers retiring and no one to replace them, as no one is learning these skills any more.

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