Skills gap could hit public services

The shortfall in IT graduates could cause trouble for increasingly tech-dependent public services, the British Computer Society (BCS) has predicted.

As top IT grads are increasingly sought after, they're more likely to end up working for high-paying companies in the City or defence, leaving the public sector struggling to compete, BCS members suggested during a video debate on IT Skills Supply and Demand Cycle'.

"Those who can afford to raise salaries and become more aggressive about their recruitment are going to be the ones who attract the best IT graduates," said David Evans, government relations spokesperson at the BCS. "There is always going to be a point further on down the line when this will start to affect those things that matter to us on a daily basis, like public services."

A few attendees offered solutions. Professor Dominic Palmer-Brown, associate dean of the School of Computing and Technology at the University of East London, said: "Around fifty per cent of the population are female and we recruit extremely poorly from that 50 per cent. If we could do something to address that, we could make a massive change."

Jeff Barnes, from IT training company QA-IQ, suggested: "There is a huge pool of potential IT talent among people who are already working and there should be more efforts to drive these people through appropriate courses. If they've already been in industry, we know they've got those business and communication skills that are now so vital to IT."

A video of the debate can be seen here.