• Jack Sharp

The skills gap: Will we ever stop defining new job roles?

By 2020, 1.4 million computing and engineering positions will need to be filled. In this time however, there will be approximately 400,000 computer science graduates. The result? A skills gap.

In an industry that is continuously defining new job roles, the education system cannot keep up. And to work in even the basic realms of the technology industry, it requires a high level of education. To find qualified candidates who understand IT security, GDPR, big data and AI, then, is near impossible.

So, will we ever stop defining job roles?

First and foremost, innovation is everything

Before we begin to answer this question, we must first ask why this question even exists. The answer is simple: Innovation. In every single industry, we rely on innovation to make progress. Complacency kills business, but finding and exploring new ground (and offering this innovation as a service to our customers) will keep a business afloat.

The technology sector leads this innovative landscape right now. And there are no signs of it slowing down. With Industry 4.0, renewable energy, the internet of things, ‘smart’ products and the desire for data, we’re very much at the beginning of what technology can offer.

In short: No, we won’t ever stop defining job roles

In the UK, the technology sector is growing 2.6 times faster than the economy is. This is unprecedented. Because of rapid innovation, the skills gap will always be a very real issue not just in the technology sector, but in every sector.

Think about it. Every business in every industry uses technology to some extent. Every bank, retail company, medical business and public sector branch will eventually need a team of IT security employees, alongside data scientists, AI experts and automation lovers. And these are only the jobs we know about.

As technology progresses, the likelihood of needing to find specialists in new and unexplored areas is almost a certain.

And we’re failing to educate the next generation

Knowing that we won’t ever fill this skills gap doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be ignoring it. Educating the next generation of workers to understand how to work in a world of AI and big data should be a top priority, and it’s a priority that is currently ignored in schools.

Fortunately, businesses are taking their own approach to this solution. James Dyson has launched a new university to bridge the engineering skills gap, for example. The Dyson Institute of Technology looks to educate workers about engineering with the hopes of landing a job at Dyson once they graduate. This is Dyson’s way of recruiting 6,000 new qualified engineers by 2020.

What does this mean for recruitment?

Sourcing qualified candidates for technology is difficult. The saving grace is attractive salaries – CIOs are often expensive to recruit because these roles are uncompetitive. But perhaps this new era of education will make recruitment easier. Perhaps with more qualified candidates coming about of business-led universities, we’ll have more pools of talent to search through and a better relationship with businesses looking to hire.

However, like all industries, recruitment will suffer from a technology skills gap. Automation is already dominating the industry and the face of the industry is rapidly changing. It’s only a matter of time until AI and big data are adopted into every day life.