Technology Companies Concerned about Skills Shortage
During the weeks leading up to the Chancellor's 2015 budget announcement, there was plenty of optimism that the Government would be dedicating more resources to addressing the skills shortage now prevalent across many industries. Unfortunately, Chancellor Osborne did not indicate any substantial plans to address the problem through the workforce. Technology companies, such as those involved in data cabling and network installation, are particularly concerned.
Recruiters and company HR departments alike are scrambling to find skilled workers capable of performing up to par. We have already seen great concern in a haulage and transport industry that has been dealing with a severe driver shortage for years. Now though, those same skills shortage issues are beginning to impact technology.
According to a report from Network Communications News, 59% of business executives interviewed last year (2014) were concerned that the skills shortage would prevent them from adding new workers to accommodate increased staffing levels. That number rose to 70% this year. Technology companies are among the most affected by the skills shortage.
Training and Recruiting
One could make the case that the lack of skilled technology workers is due to a lack of training and recruiting. However, it would be a weak case. There are plenty of companies like TNS Europe working hard to recruit and train the next generation of cable installers, network installers, and network engineers. What we are finding is that there are not enough candidates to fill our classes. It is not that we are training in small numbers; we are not. Nevertheless, we could easily accommodate larger numbers of students if they were out there.
Perhaps part of the problem is the decades-old practice of encouraging every student to go on to university rather than pursuing vocational training. We are now finding out that a university degree is not a panacea. It is not the be-all-and-end-all of establishing a career. Young people can undergo vocational training through a company such as TNS Europe and go on to land very lucrative jobs resulting in long and fulfilling careers.
The most surprising thing from our perspective is that the shortage persists despite growth within the digital sector not being a secret. We all know that we now live in a digital world relying heavily on network installations to power everything from international financial transactions to small shop sales. It should be obvious that making the most of the internet age requires an ample supply of skilled engineers and technicians capable of installing and maintaining the world's networks.
Good and Bad News
The bad news from the 2015 budget is that there will be little government help to end the skills shortage in the technology sector. The good news is that there is plenty of training and work available to anyone who wants it. It is a matter of digging around and finding a training programme that fits the needs of the individual student.
Training is available in so many areas, including fibre optic cable installation, copper cable installation, network design, network installation and maintenance, network security, and more. What's more, the industry is an exciting one to get into. It is changing and evolving at breakneck speed to adapt to new technologies and best practices. Anyone who enjoys the excitement of the internet age would find him/herself right at home working in our industry.
The Government may not be able to help right now by investing in skills training. That should not stop anyone from pursuing a career in the network installation and maintenance sector. The work is there. Go and get it.
1.NCN – http://www.networkcommunicationsnews.co.uk/index.php/1505-specialist-technology-firm-says-budget-didn-t-deliver-on-skills-shortages