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Offshoring is fuelling an IT skills crisis

Yesterday, I read an article on TechRepublic’s website (Offshoring has fuelled IT skills crisis) which quotes John Harris, the chairman of the Corporate IT Forum as saying, “Outsourcing of entry-level IT jobs has left UK businesses struggling to find staff with sufficient experience to fill senior roles”.

Harris was commenting on the findings of a report for the forum which found that 59 per cent, of forum members have been unable to find people with the right technical or business skills for an IT role. Apparently 25% of forum members feel that Offshoring is the biggest barrier to entry for the IT profession and 59% of companies are struggling to find people with the right skills.

This is a damning indictment of the state of the UK IT industry and the race to the bottom (in terms of cost) is having serious repercussions for IT and the UK economy as a whole. Our IT industry is becoming devalued as quality is eroded.

One of the people who commented on the article said, “When you go cheap, you get a cheap outcome”. This and the fact that many of the discussion boards that I frequent are often filled with offshore workers; struggling with problems that they haven’t been trained for and desperately seeking out help or advice on the Internet, prompted me to reply.

In my reply, I stated,

This reminds me of the quote often attributed to John Ruskin.
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

In a dash to the lowest cost model, which incidentally isn't truly "low cost" due to the extra management overheads and the build-up of technical debt; we've ended up with truly awful IT systems in some of our largest organisations. Unless something is done quickly to prevent parasitic practices in the IT industry, UK IT will go the same way as cotton, wool, electronics and car manufacturing.

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