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Second UK CIO complains of skills shortage

UK-based IT leaders are finding difficulties in recruiting staff with the right levels of skills and experience.

Tom Clark, CIO of Leeds Building Society, told Computing that he had struggled in recent times to recruit people in reasonable timescales. This comes a few days after Joanna Smith, CIO at Royal Brompton Harefield NHS Foundation Trust cited recruitment woes as her biggest concern.

“Recruiting the right skills in the Leeds area has been difficult,” said Clark. “There are a number of IT-savvy companies, like Sky, Skybet, William Hill, Yorkshire Bulding Society and other financial services firms in our area. So when you put job ads out, there’s not typically a huge response, and jobs are taken longer to fill than you’d hope.”

In fact, Clark added that it’s taking an average of four to six weeks longer than he’d expect to fill available positions, which can result in project delays and loss of revenue.

Joanna Smith explained that she finds the situation to be little better in London.

“My biggest concern now is around skills shortages and skills capability,” said Smith. “Here in London in the NHS it’s quite challenging to attract and retain the best resources. We invest heavily in great new systems and technologies, and it’s really important that I maintain the ability to support them moving forward.”

Recruitment delays have been especially problematic as the IT department at Leeds Building Society has had to grow from 70 people to 150.

“To accomplish that we’ve had to bring the hiring process forward to give ourselves more time, basically by starting earlier than you would normally.  We’ve hired lots of very good people from the market, as well as re-trained internally,” said Clark.

He explained that he also took our corporate membership of the British Computer Society (BCS), encouraging his entire team to attain chartered status.

“We’ve had some success there, with people also using the e-learning tools from the BCS. And we use SFIA [Skills Framework for the Information Age] from the BCS for our personal development plans and role-mapping skills. That helps us to indentify gaps.”





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