U.K. IT workers ‘demand better training’

The majority of IT workers are not happy with the amount of training that their organisation provides, according to a new survey.

The Unite union surveyed around 400 employees of major IT and communications companies, and found that 62 percent of respondents believed they did not receive the necessary training to keep their skills up-to-date.

Only 15 percent said they were satisfied with the training their employer provided.

Employees from companies including Accenture, Apple, Atos Origin, Capita, CSC, Ericsson, HP, Phoenix, Everything Everywhere, HCL, Logica Fujitsu Services, IBM and TCS responded to the survey.

Peter Skyte, Unite national officer, said that the figures were “worrying” in such a fast-moving sector.

“UK workers will lose out unless they can compete in a global IT market. Employers must do more to keep their employees’ skills up-to-date,” he urged.

The survey also found that 91 percent of respondents felt that ‘forced ranking’ had a negative effect on team working.

“We were surprised at the extent of pre-determined performance distribution [which exists for 66 percent of respondents] and overwhelmingly this is regarded as impacting on team working in a negative way.

Other findings in the survey showed that 78 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the level of reward for their work over the past three years, compared to just eight percent who said they had been fairly rewarded.

Furthermore, just over a fifth of respondents (21 percent) said that performance appraisals did not occur regularly, with 27 percent believing that that their manager took the appraisal process seriously. Only 44 percent were satisfied with their appraising manager’s approach.

“Unite will be meeting employers to raise some of the issues arising from this survey and will suggest ways of improving training and remuneration practices,” said Skyte.

Meanwhile, the Chartered Management Institute is planning to launch a new scheme to offer management training to college and university students, to be undertaken alongside their main subjects.
The initiative aims to boost the future workforce’s skills in team leadership and improve students’ soft skills, to address the fact that only one in five managers in Britain have a professional management qualification, much less than in countries like Germany and France.

Companies including IT provider Cisco, Centrica and the National Grid have committed to support the scheme by providing mentors or by sponsoring bursaries, according to the Financial Times.

The CMI expects to offer 1,500 management qualifications to students over the next 12 months. It hopes to expand the scheme to 10,000 qualifications a year by 2015.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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