Belfast Telegraph

IT vacancies on rise but bosses still struggling to recruit

By Clare Weir

Jobs in the IT sector will pick up this year, but more firms in the industry are forecasting recruitment problems, according to a new report.

A sector skills council for business and information technology, e-skills UK, has published the fourth Northern Ireland ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Snapshot, which has shown that 12% of all companies and 14% of ICT companies in Northern Ireland have vacancies for one or more ICT professionals, an increase from previous surveys. Of those companies, just under half (46%) are looking for software development roles - which also comprise the highest number of vacancies.

Future recruitment outlook is encouraging with a growing number of companies expecting to recruit ICT professionals over the next six months. Overall, one-in-five companies expects to recruit ICT professionals over the next six months, rising to nearly a third (29%) of ICT companies.

Two-thirds of recruiting businesses are looking to recruit into software development/engineering roles.

However, an increasing proportion of companies predict recruitment problems. While a fifth (20%) of all companies think it will be difficult/very difficult to recruit, ICT (28%) and small companies (25%) are more likely to be affected.

Mark Feeney, e-skills UK Manager for Northern Ireland, said that skills gaps in the workforce appear to have increased with over a quarter of businesses reporting gaps between the skills of their ICT employees and the skills needed by the business.

"The latest Snapshot shows that employers are feeling positive about the future, while acknowledging the challenges facing the ICT sector in Northern Ireland," he said.

"e-skills UK remains committed to working with the sector to encourage investment in training and development. This will ensure Northern Ireland develops and maintains the highly skilled technical workforce required for this growing sector."

The ICT Snapshot conducted the survey of 300 employers of ICT professionals in Northern Ireland.