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Tuesday, 08 September 2015 11:34

Skills uncertainty is the real issue across Europe

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IT Skills are in short supply across Europe but trusted partnerships with third-parties are the key to insulating businesses from skills shortages by 2020

Recent research from Claranet has found that while IT leaders from across Europe report skills shortages as a challenge, they do so to differing degrees, and over the next five years, this divergence is set to increase with one in four businesses in Europe expecting to be affected by 2020.

The research, which surveyed 900 IT decision-makers from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux, from a range of mid-market organisations, found that concerns about skills shortages across Europe are rife and are likely to worsen.

Today, 21% of European businesses cite skills shortages as one of their biggest IT challenges, and this is expected to increase across Europe to 25% by 2020. With countries and areas like Portugal and Benelux expecting extreme problems, while even France and Germany where skills aren't currently such a problem as the UK expecting the market to get worse by 2020.

What are the biggest IT challenges your organisation is currently facing / expect to face in 2020? (Skills)
Europe UK France Germany Spain Portugal Benelux
2015 21% 26% 10% 18% 21% 36% 26%
2020 25% 16% 14% 21% 19% 55% 47%

The UK, however, bucks this trend; 26% of UK businesses are currently concerned about skills, and this is set to decline to 16% in five years’ time. One possible explanation for this is the UK’s anticipated increase in the use of third party providers to support internal IT teams; It is expected third parties such as Claranet will manage 22% of the average UK IT estate by 2020, up from 15% today.

Commenting on the research, Andy Wilton, Claranet’s Group CIO, said: “It’s clear that the labour market is in flux and, in truth, it’s difficult to know with certainty what skills will be needed in five years’ time or where those skilled professionals will be – particularly as free movement in the European labour market continues to take hold and IT skills become more specialised.

“For a long time businesses, particularly those in the mid-market, have tried to be masters of everything, and manage everything internally. But that kind of approach doesn’t make sense any more – nor is it possible as certain skills shortages start to bite. The key for European businesses wishing to move away from deepening uncertainty over skills is to develop beneficial partnerships, which will help to insulate against any skills shortages and allow them to up-skill staff to directly add value to their businesses,” Andy concluded.

We think that Claranet are being optimistic on the use of third-parties by 2020. . We feel that IT departments are still unlikely to devolve their solutions to third-parties as much as Claranet thinks, and additionally this pre-supposes that the third-parties are able to get access to the skills - or create them in-house. Are you expecting to move your IT skills requirements to third-parties? We'd like to hear from you if you are and what your plans are.

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