The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) latest jobs report indicates that although permanent jobs in IT and computing are still experiencing strong demand, when compared to other sectors there is a troubling skills shortage in the market.
This is the second month in a row where IT and computing has topped the chart for demand for permanent staff, beating other sectors that include engineering, nursing/medical, accounting, executive and blue collar.
IT came out with a score of 58.4 - where a score of 50 would have indicated no change on the previous month. In the same month last year IT was in second place, but has overtaken engineering in 2013, which scored 57.8. Last month IT and computing scored a slightly higher market of 60.7.
Secretarial/clerical and hotel & catering experienced the lowest demand for permanent staff in March, with respective scores of 51.4 and 50.9.
However, despite this strong demand for IT skills, REC highlighted that there are a number of computing skills that are in short supply for permanent staff. This information is provided by consultants that are invited to specify any areas in which they have encountered shortages in the last month.
REC found that companies are struggling to find permanent staff with the following skills: business intelligence, DBA, developers, digital marketing, Java, .Net, online marketing, PHP, PPC, SEO and SQL server.
Kevin Green, chief executive at REC, said that the government needs to intervene to help ensure companies are not paying above the odds for below-par talent.
“Recruiters report that businesses are willing to pay better starting salaries to get the right talent but are struggling to find people with the right skills and experience as candidate availability declines,” said Green.
“It’s a worrying trend that is particularly problematic across IT and engineering and at senior levels in other sectors. Persistent skills shortages in these areas could have a disastrous impact on critical infrastructure projects, especially if employers can’t find the talent they need to jump-start new ventures in energy, transport and construction.”
He added: “The government needs to build the talent pipeline for the future by increasing funding for apprenticeships in sectors where there is demand, refocusing the Work Programme to train people who have potential but who lack the skills to fill current vacancies and driving take-up for existing schemes like the Youth Contract.”
Demand for temporary IT staff ranked mid-table when compared to other sectors, scoring 55.9. Nursing/medial temporary jobs experienced the highest demand with a score of 59.4, with hotel and catering scoring the lowest at 49.5.