That we face a major IT skills gap, both here in the UK and around the world, is a given. That the IT skills gap is hampering business, organisational – and even national – performance and growth is certain. The key to enabling and accelerating that growth is to ensure employers have access to a rich talent pool of highly skilled and qualified IT professionals, with the Linux skills they urgently need. However, as this research shows, this is more complicated than it seems. It is not simply a case of pushing more people through certification programmes. Employers must recognise the value of certification and be prepared to reward, as well as encourage it through professional learning.
Some of our headline findings:
- 93% of employers indicated that skills gaps were negatively affecting at least one critical business area. Specific skills gaps included lack of understanding of network infrastructure, server management, help desk, and cybersecurity.
- As Cloud-based solutions become more prevalent and with Open Source the main underlying technology in Cloud-based solutions, these shortages are going to become more critical unless addressed.
- 90% of employers had faced difficulties recruiting workers with the required skills in the last 12 months.
- However, in an online survey of jobs, under a Linux search, fewer than 10% listed specified a need for certification. When one of the larger recruitment agencies, supposedly specialising in this type of role, was asked about the value of certification, they: “almost laughed when we asked if certifications were required, saying it was all down to experience.”
- A noted ‘knock-on’ from this apparent lack of certification requirement, from employers, is the industry profession view that salaries rarely reflect the value brought through certification. As one industry focus-group member stated: “Job adverts ask for considerable skills but the salary offered doesn’t relate to what is required or the expertise that can be proven by certification”.
- Not only were “one in three people working in the UK tech sector come from another European country” but “average salaries for tech workers in London are substantially lower than in Silicon Valley and New York, which have salaries 38% and 35% higher, respectively, than the UK.”
In conclusion, on the basis that technology moves fast we ask the question: shouldn’t investment in employees’ knowledge and skills keep pace? Employers should be taking ownership of the issue, supporting their current workforce’s development, while at the same time recruiting Interns or Apprentices that are trained in the workplace.