UK finance companies are on the verge of an IT ?brain drain? that will worsen shortages of Windows NT and Unix skills.
One in four companies in this sector, interviewed by IT systems group Keltec, believes that increasing demand for NT skills is luring Unix professionals to retrain, causing knock-on shortages in the Unix field.
?Many IT personnel are worried they will be trapped in old technology if they don?t retrain for Windows NT,? said John Fison, director of Keltec. ?Resource generally is already in short supply and this could create a vicious circle for Unix."
Andrew Boddington, marketing director at Keltec, warned that the shortage is set to get worse as NT develops into a robust high end operating system.
?NT is growing enormously, and as its reliability, performance and scalability improves it is becoming suitable for mission critical operations,? he said.
Nine out of 10 finance companies are dependent on long term contract staff in all IT disciplines, according to the report, and shortages can cause problems because inhouse-developed applications are often those that give companies competitive edge.
?Clearly the burden of legacy systems and tackling the millennium problem is fuelling the skills shortage and leaving organisations dependent on outside resource to tackle mission critical tasks such as application design,? said Fison.
?Lack of resource to develop these applications could mean that the UK finance sector is in danger of losing its competitive edge. The research should act as a warning sign to UK business and government,? he added.
In addition, the report noted that the standard of IT graduate trainees in the finance sector is unsatisfactory and there is a clear need for training additional staff to address the shortage. The big irony is that 90 per cent of respondents believe that the computer industry should invest more to retrain IT staff - but investment in training is still inadequate.
?The trouble is that people pay lip service to this ideal but the real investment in training is relatively small," said Fison. "No one seems to know where the buck should stop and in the mean time the finance sector is suffering.?
The Keltec report, 'IT resourcing trends in the finance sector', was based on research conducted by Metrica, which interviewed managers responsible for recruiting IT staff from 20 per cent of finance companies in the UK's top 2,000 companies.
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