Umbrella Companies supplying contracting IT professionals are poised to see unprecedented demand for their talent with the UK facing the worst information technology skills shortage in Europe.

Recent IT glitches experienced by HSBC, which resulted in its online banking going down intermittently over the course of two days, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, were the result of a shortage of qualified IT talent rather than a lack of awareness regarding vulnerabilities, according to Telegraph Technology News Editor James Titcomb.

Although this crisis is international, the shortage of IT talent in the UK is especially acute, with the European Commission estimating that the UK’s shortfall of 555,000 qualified IT professionals in 2015 was second only to Germany. By 2017, is it reckoned the shortfall will be the worst in the EU and is on course to reach 171,000 by 2020 – more than trebling in five years.

The problem is not confined to the banking sector; according to big four accounting firm PwC’s Head of Technology Jonathan Tate, the need is equally pressing in cybersecurity and key corporate IT functions − systems that keep big companies running.

Millions suffered personal data breaches as a result of cyber attacks on mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and broadband provider TalkTalk, but Tate believes these attacks will appear relatively trivial compared to those that will be made in the future as they become more common and sophisticated.

In the long-term, the solution lies in encouraging more people to take degrees in computer science or IT and better training, according to Titcomb; in the short-term, IT contractors are set to be busy.

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