Earlier this month, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne gave the first Conservative Budget speech for 19 years. This came just three months after the final coalition budget, offering a platform for the party to showcase what it has in store for the UK over the next five years.
The big talking points included a new national living wage, business tax reform and continued economic growth. However, those who were hoping the government would commit support to growing the UK's digital footprint were likely left disappointed - technology wasn't mentioned once during the hour long Budget speech. Although nobody was expecting the ins and outs of the data centre industry to be discussed, supporting the growth of UK's technology scene should be a priority. If the Summer Budget is anything to go by, that currently doesn't seem to be the case.
Ignoring the skills gap
The IT skills gap has been a much discussed issue over the past few years and one which should be viewed as critical to ensuring continued economic growth. With reports showing the technology industry is set to grow four times faster than GDP this year, ignoring the problem isn't an option.
As the industry grows, technology complexity increases, as City Lifeline research showed almost a third of UK senior IT personnel believe IT equipment has become more complex than five years ago.
Without continued financial support, technology businesses will be forced to invest in training current staff, rather than increasing the workforce and growing the company. If this ideology is rolled out across businesses throughout the country, economic growth will come to a halt. From software development agencies to data centre providers, tech business leaders are crying out for a solution to the problem and the Summer Budget would have been the perfect opportunity to give the technology scene exactly what it needs.
Does the IT skills gap really affect me?
The IT skills gap isn't an issue which solely impacts technology professionals, the ramifications reach much further than you might realise. If you're currently sat at work pulling your hair out due to legacy IT systems, this may be due to a lack of funding or finance having to be earmarked for training rather than new hardware. Worse still, students currently pay £9,000/year in tuition fees at university and many of them will be looking for jobs in the technology sector. Simply put, if the IT skills gap keeps growing at its current rate unemployment will rise and graduate jobs will become increasingly hard to find. If action isn't taken now, where will the next generation of software developers, engineers or data centre professionals come from? Your guess is as good as mine.