Employers failing to train underskilled IT workers

Employers are taking on "sub-skilled" and doing little to boost their skills once they are in post, the learning and skills council E-Skills UK has warned.

E-Skills UK figures show that skills shortages among companies that are recruiting IT staff are at a two-year low of 6 percent. But the same proportion of employers also reported skills gaps among their existing professional IT staff in the last quarter of 2006, the latest issue of E-Skills UK's ICT Inquiry report says.

The gaps center on business-related and other nontechnical skills, "which implies that employers are taking on sub-skilled staff and doing little to up skill them following their recruitment", the report warns.

It highlights levels of business acumen among IT professionals, which were rated as "poor" or "very poor" by more than a quarter of the employers surveyed by E-Skills UK.

The report also notes that firms recruiting to fill IT positions are still overwhelmingly choosing experienced IT staff, with 76 percent of all recruits fitting this description. "This was found to be true for firms of all sizes/industry sectors," it says.

But there were differences in recruitment patterns across sectors, with public sector organizations less likely to take on contractors and companies in the IT industry more likely to recruit new IT graduates or post graduates.