A survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development and the Manx ICT Association (MICTA) has indicated that the excellent growth potential for local businesses is being hampered by a local shortage of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) skills.
The survey attracted responses from 53 local companies. The large majority of companies were very positive about the potential for growth, with 28 of the companies who responded expecting to create more than 60 new jobs in the next 12 months alone.
Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin MHK commented:
‘These figures for job creation are encouraging. At the same time, a more detailed analysis of the survey shows that the level of jobs growth would be even higher as some employers are outsourcing work off-Island as the skills they require are not available locally. In fact only 32% of respondents expected to be able to recruit sufficient suitable ICT staff this year.
‘In response to this issue, I have announced changes to the work permit process for ICT professionals to assist companies in the short term. To meet longer term requirements we are working with industry to address the key issue of local ICT skills development so that local people can gain the skills they need to succeed in this exciting and growing profession.’
MICTA Chairman Chris Gledhill commented:
‘The survey reflects the fact that ICT skills make an essential contribution to the competitiveness of businesses of all kinds. In the short term Manx businesses have to compete with other places to attract the best people to work here. In the longer term we need to do more to provide the right mix of education and training locally to help fill the gap.
‘This is not just a problem in the Isle of Man. In March this year the European Commission stated that up to 900,000 job vacancies are expected to exist in Europe in ICT by 2015. Despite the current levels of unemployment, the number of digital jobs is growing by more than 100 000 per year. Yet the number of fresh ICT graduates and skilled ICT workers is not keeping up.’
The Department and MICTA would like to thank all of the businesses who completed the survey which was based on similar research in other economies. This has also indicated a consistent picture of high demand for skilled ICT workers from IT companies as organisations become ever more dependent on their information processing and online systems.