Umbrella Company IT pros with skills in web and software development might be tempted to start offering their services north of the Border in the light of a new survey revealing a significant IT skills shortage in Scotland.

Research by the technology recruiter 9-20 and the Scottish trade body ScotlandIS has found that 52 per cent of the Scottish technology businesses polled in the 2013 Scottish Technology Industry Survey are being forced to seek talent outside Scotland because of a widening skills shortage. 70 per cent are currently seeking staff but are struggling to find candidates with the required skills.

The problem is preventing some firms from growing, according to ScotlandIS executive director Polly Purvis. She said:

“There’s an increasing buzz about the industry as business and government transform their operations through the smart application of technology. We’re seeing growing confidence across the industry, from start-ups to the growing number of Scottish digital technology businesses carving out export markets around the world.”

Scotland is likely to need an additional 45,000 appropriately qualified and experienced new IT workers over the next five years.

The survey confirms trends noted by the European Commission, which last month announced the launch of a “grand coalition” to overcome the continent-wide IT skills shortage.

The EC’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said at the time of the announcement that the competiveness of European forms hinged on their being able to recruit candidates with relevant computer skills but, as things stood, insufficient numbers of people were receiving the required level of training or tuition to plug the skills gap.

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