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Battle for skilled talent seen hotting up in IT Inc

Last updated: 19 December, 2009
Subrahmanyan Viswanath, Bangalore, Dec19, DH News Service: 22:02 IST

Study suggests business studies & language skills for Asian nations

Not since the dotcom crash at the turn of the century has the global IT sector faced such a tough operating milieu. Despite the sector faring better than the other sectors during the global economic crisis, it is, however, by no means immune to the current downturn.

Thanks to global economic turmoil, among the many problems plaguing many IT firms is talent shortage. However, as economies recover and hiring eventually resumes, competition for best talent will again grow fiercer, says Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its latest report — Resilience Amid Turmoil: Benchmarking IT Industry Competitiveness 2009.

While recession has thrown into stark relief some of the problems facing the sector, many remedies remain the same as in a boom. Without a good supply of local talent, countries are unlikely ever to develop competitive IT sectors, it says.

Engine of growth
Further, though most governments rightly view the sector as an important engine of economic growth and are also taking appropriate steps to stimulate it’s growth, however, among several factors impinging on the sector’s unfettered growth is that of availability and quality of IT talent pool the industry requires. As global economy recovers and hiring resumes, IT companies will face fierce competition for best brains in the market, with rising international competition and demand for more value-added services, countries like India would need talent in spades.

It cites Nasscom study which states that India faces IT talent shortfall of between 8,00,000 and 1.2 million workers by 2012. It observes that, though many producers continue to work with universities, government and other firms to improve the quality of technology education, and Asian countries continue to produce large numbers of IT employees, they, however, lag in comparison with North America and Europe in providing well-rounded technology education. Among Asian economies, the concern is that education systems puts too much focus on pure IT skills and not enough on IT in the business context. Likewise, top schools in the US and Europe, which do better in this area, face long-term challenges in cultivating science and technical engineering skills of its younger students. Thus, globally, the study posits that investment in skills development remains long-term imperative.

In this regard, it stresses the need for co-ordinated efforts among government, universities and IT firms to improve the quality of technology training and expand the pool of potential hires. It suggests that, while in Asia, IT training would benefit from greater investment in business studies and language skills, in Europe & North America, they need to encourage more young people to choose mathematics and science-based subjects at universities.

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