Is the feared skills crisis merely hype?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Over the past year, it has been impossible to avoid discussing the IT skillsshortage. The press and industry experts have argued that Britain does not have thenecessary technology skills to succeed in the modern economy and it has beenpredicted that the UK could face a skills deficit of 600,000 workers by 2003. According to the simple rules of supply and demand, an IT skills shortageshould cause a marked increase in demand for IT training as companies seek totrain their workers and plug the skills gap. In fact, many IT training organisations, KnowledgePool included, have notexperienced such a steep increase in demand. One could argue that in today’s unstable economic climate, this basic relationshipbetween supply and demand has been skewed and that a fall-off in training couldbe attributed to slashed training budgets. However, I would argue that even in a recession, most companies understandthat they cannot afford to let their staff’s IT skills fall off. Indeed, in recession when redundancies are common, it is even more essentialthat staff are as productive and highly skilled as possible so that companiescan maintain their competitive advantage. Training is not a luxury to be foregone until better times, it is anecessity that companies cannot afford to do without. So, if cut budgets do not explain why there has not been an increase indemand for training courses, there must be another explanation, and I wouldsuggest that it is a simple one. It seems to me that the real reason there hasn’t been a surge in demand fortraining as a result of the UK’s skills shortage is that there is in fact noskills shortage. Indeed, considering the number of skilled employees who have recently beenmade redundant, we are more likely to have an excess of skilled staff. The UK has a highly trained and efficient workforce, ready to take on thedemands of the new economy. Technology is the way of the future and with new technologies being launchedevery week, IT training will always be necessary, but I believe the IT trainingindustry is currently meeting a steady and continuous demand, not seeking totackle a huge skills deficit. I would argue that the law of supply and demand does tell a story and it isone that Britain should be proud of. Our workforce already has the basic skillsnecessary to face the 21st century with confidence. The task now facing UK plc is to ensure that the skills of the workforce aremaintained and developed at a pace that keeps up with the ever changing ITindustry. Paul Butler CEO, KnowledgePool Related posts:No related photos. Is the feared skills crisis merely hype?On 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img

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