Skills shortage driving up labour costs: survey

While IT managers continue to lament the continuing skills shortage, a new Australian survey has found they are actually reducing their commitment to staff training.

In a national survey of 57 training managers from Australia’s blue chip companies representing more than 80,000 employees, respondents cited “lack of time” as hindering attempts to address the IT skills shortage.

This is despite most respondents claiming they preferred to develop their own IT staff rather than buy skills when required.

In the survey conducted by The Leading Edge Market Research Consultants for Com Tech Education Services (CTES), 77 per cent said they are committing less to staff training.

The report said many companies are hitting the training target of about seven days per year but any longer than that is untenable.

Almost half of respondents said this is due to a lack of commitment from senior management to invest in training.

More than 60 per cent of companies surveyed said they have unfilled IT positions, supporting figures that show globally that 10 million people work in IT with one million job vacancies.

The survey asked respondents to rate the impact of the IT skills shortage on their business from a scale of one to 10.

Almost half gave a rating of six or more with 62 per cent of companies showing unfilled positions. These included shortages for Windows 2000 (40 per cent), project management (32 per cent) and Web design (19 per cent).

The survey shows a widening skills gap for Windows 2000 with respondents expecting the shortage to increase further over the next 12 months.

An astounding 70 per cent of IT training managers identified the current IT skills shortage as a reason for creating an employee hierarchy with spiralling labor costs.

Com Tech Education Services general manager Steve Ross said the survey shows a continuing crisis in IT skills.

“More alarming is that while respondents agree that training staff is better than buying in the skills they are faced with budget and time restraints which prevent them from addressing the problem,” he said.