Umbrella companies with specialists in IT contracting on their books may well have found that demand for their services has been outstripping their availability. Findings in a new report from E-skills UK reveals that “The number of advertised vacancies for IT staff rose for the sixth consecutive quarter to 105,000 positions, while the count of ‘ready candidates’ declined to 95,000.”

The IT profession in the UK (a growing proportion of whom work as PAYE umbrella contractors) is at an all-time high numerically, having breached the 1 million mark, the study notes. The positive figure conceals a more troubling fact – in such a rapidly changing sector, only 23% of IT professionals had received training or education in the last 13 weeks, a percentage that compares unfavourably with the average of 27% in other sectors. The feeble economy has taken a toll on small firms in particular, which are more likely to have cut back on skills and training. Only 15% of IT workers in SMEs received training over the same period.

E-skills UK’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Price, was heartened by the news that IT is contributing so strongly to employment growth in the UK, but warned that greater investment in skills and training was necessary if the trend was to continue. She said “More needs to be done to make fit-for-purpose and affordable training available to employers, and particularly to small businesses.”

Her organisation is actively working with employers to achieve this by developing the National Skills Academy for IT.

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