Skills Uncertainty, not Shortages is the Problem says Claranet

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. For the managed services provider (MSP), the results point to an uncertainty over the future of IT skills across Europe which can only be addressed by establishing trusted partnerships with third party suppliers.

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 per cent of European businesses cite skills shortages as one of their biggest IT challenges, and this is expected to increase to 25 per cent by 2020.

The UK, however, bucks this trend; 26 per cent of UK businesses are currently concerned about skills, though this is set to decline to 16 per cent 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; third parties will manage 22 per cent of the average UK IT estate by 2020, up from 15 per cent 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 continued.

“Through our work as an MSP in the UK and Europe, we’ve helped our clients manage their IT, allowing them to add better value to their businesses rather then struggle with technical issues. Strong use and implementation of MSPs is key to reducing the uncertainty around the skills crisis. Ultimately, this will increase the confidence of mid-sized businesses through shouldering their IT skills risk, allowing for better focus on business growth in the modern world,” he concluded.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine