Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

IT skills gap stunts global competitiveness

Concerns cited by the European Commission, and Facebook about the UK’s rapidly growing digital skills gap highlights the importance of skills matching, says interim management and executive recruitment company Executives Online

Concerns cited by the European Commission, and Facebook about the UK’s rapidly growing digital skills gap highlights the importance of skills matching, says interim management and executive recruitment company Executives Online.

With 90% of all jobs in Europe requiring e-skills by 2015, jobs for highly qualified specialists are expected to rise by 16 million between 2013 and 2020. This anticipated growth coupled with on-going technological developments could result in demand seriously exceeding supply, in turn stunting innovation and global competitiveness.

James O’Brien, managing director at Executives Online, said: “Industry frontrunners, who usually have their pick of the talent pool, are already struggling to find employees with the right skills for the job.”

Executives Online is a fast-track provider of senior IT Managers, IT Directors and CIOs across a variety of both permanent positions and interim assignments. Its global talent bank of over 15,700 highly experienced IT professionals, offers individuals with proven track records working in some of the most dynamic and challenging IT environments, for listed plcs, private sector companies, start-ups, government and public sector bodies.

Mr O’Brien continued: “Companies that may be struggling to find the right candidates for permanent positions could consider the merits of an interim position instead.  Interims offer many employers the flexibility of being able to start immediately, are highly skilled and experienced, can consistently deliver to an incredibly high standard, and help companies to maintain innovation and competitive edge.”

One example of how Executives Online works with clients to identify niche IT skills and match potential candidates is its work with Aston University.

Aston University - case study

An Interim Director of IT appointed through Executives Online enabled Aston University to become the first educational institution in the UK with a live fully-converged digital network.

Aston University turned to Executives Online when its £4m ground-breaking Aston IP system needed a director with specialist capabilities to implement it. The network runs data, telephone and video systems over the same cabling and integrated technology structures. This gives competitive advantage to Aston University by providing customers, students, and academic and support staff with a secure platform.

This project was a huge undertaking which required re-cabling the entire campus and migrating hundreds of PCs and networks. Professor Fred Hewitt, the Pro-Vice Chancellor responsible for ICT strategy, decided to recruit an Interim Director of the ICT infrastructure development and support group to head up the major project.

"Executives Online took a very structured approach to the selection process," says Professor Hewitt. "Together with our personnel manager they drew up a list of potential candidates to present to me. Four candidates were interviewed after which a final shortlist was compiled and at the final stage two candidates went through to meet the Vice Chancellor."

Professor Hewitt was impressed with the speed with which Executives Online found a range of high calibre candidates for his team to choose from. "We needed someone quickly, but it had to be someone with exceptional skills who could also operate in the university environment," he says.

Aston had its Interim Director of IT in place within four weeks. The panel chose to appoint Ian H – an IT troubleshooter with nearly 30 years’ experience. At Aston he managed and implemented the project which he brought in ahead of time and on budget. The successful network has been showcased for technology demonstrations to highlight its e-learning capabilities.

"Interim managers can avoid the usual distractions and remain very task-orientated, which was vital for this project," comments Professor Hewitt. "The interim route is an ideal way of quickly tapping into specific skills and experience as well as bringing a fresh perspective.”

Executives Online is an executive recruitment company that employs a unique blend of online methods and personal, professional service to deliver targeted and cost-effective recruitment for clients. Its executive recruitment service delivers senior directors and managers for interim and permanent roles, selected for their specific experience and skills, in virtually every functional and professional discipline. At the heart of Executives Online’s service is its Global Talent Bank, a growing and constantly refreshed network of over 100,000 candidates. These individuals represent a diverse and highly experienced resource for companies facing an urgent need for talent.