IT departments are seeking to increase staff numbers next year, but fear they could be hampered by a lack of qualified applicants, according to research from CompTIA.
The industry group surveyed 1,385 hiring IT managers in companies across the globe, including 350 in the UK, and found that 59 per cent consider their departments understaffed.
Many IT chiefs plan to expand their IT departments in 2011, as do those who consider staff numbers to be adequate, but are concerned that they could struggle to do so.
Two-thirds of respondents find hiring new employees challenging, and 31 per cent are worried about being able to retain existing employees considering that rival companies could start to head-hunt staff.
Demand for new staff will be fuelled by growing IT areas such as project management, database administration and design, business intelligence, PC and technical support, cloud and software-as-a-service systems, network administration, virtualisation and security.
Matthew Poyiadgi, European vice president of CompTIA, warned that the lack of qualified staff could have serious consequences for the UK economy, and urged the government to lead the way in developing schemes to train potential staff to a high level of expertise.
"Demand for IT workers is increasing whilst [job] applications are falling, and there is concern about meeting skills demands. This needs to be addressed at organisational and national levels," he said.
"Organisations need to 'upskill' their workforces to meet changing needs and provide training routes for young people, and governments need to implement programmes to drive people into IT."
Poyiadgi added that the use of accredited training and certification could play a key role, as training provides the skills to meet the needs of business, and certification demonstrates that professionals are able to perform IT jobs.
"Many countries and companies have recognised the economic potential of IT skills, and are investing accordingly. The Singapore Infocomm Development Authority, for example, offers funded places for certain IT training programmes, " he said.
"This is the kind of action we need to meet the growing demands of the industry. Whilst some excellent small-scale initiatives exist, the UK risks being left behind by not providing more support to bring people into the profession."
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