IBM boss: skills gap leaves 200 jobs empty
IBM has written to the Government about the need for a new school curriculum after it was unable to fill 200 jobs because of a critical shortage of skilled workers.
The software giant has created about 1,000 new technology, analyst and consulting jobs across the UK over the past year but has only been able to fill 80pc of them because there are too few quality candidates coming through the system.
Stephen Leonard, chief executive of IBM’s UK and Ireland operations and a board member of technology sector skills council e-skills, says that a lacklustre GCSE curriculum is partly to blame, and that he has written to the Department of Education to detail proposals for an alternative.
“Our combined ability [as an industry] to identify, recruit and retain skilled candidates is weaker today than it has probably ever been,” he said. “We need to do more as a country to develop more IT-capable people and we need a curriculum that is more adaptable to change over time. If we pioneer new technologies here then we can take them elsewhere, and we have a great reputation as innovators and entrepreneurs, but how do you keep that going when there are not enough people?
“We are going to have a shortfall of 20pc over the next two or three years and it is potentially going to widen further. Skills, I think, is the biggest challenge we will face in the next five years.”
Mr Leonard added that the shortfall threatened Britain’s standing as a world leader in all sectors – not just the technology industry. “Economic growth and all the emerging market opportunities for the UK are based around technology. There is danger that we will fall behind in the race to lead the world.”