Scarcity in the IT labour market is obvious for everyone. The scarcity has lasted for years now and as long as digitalisation continues, the end is not yet in sight. In fact, COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency of digitalisation. And it has made the problem bigger. What we find particularly interesting is which IT skills are, remain and become scarce.
Strong growth in open IT vacancies
According to the annual 'European Tech Hiring Trends' report by CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), Belgium is experiencing a general increase in demand for IT specialists, with growth rates of 13 to 24 percent. With 38 453 vacancies - an increase of no less than 30 percent compared to 2020.
What does not surprise us in the figures is the growing demand for software developers and web specialists. CompTIA recorded a 24% increase in demand for Belgium in Q1 of 2021 compared to Q4 of 2020. Within Computer Futures we see the same picture. Most of the enquiries are in the Software Development domain. Demand is also growing for system analysts and cyber security specialists, although in absolute terms the increase is a bit less (+10 488 according to CompTIA).
As already mentioned, COVID-19 has only reinforced the digitalisation trends. Because most of the people were working from home during the lockdowns, IT Security has become high on the agenda of many organisations. And the large amount of online shopping has given a boost to the number of e-commerce projects and the development of new apps and web shops.
Junior profiles in particular on the rise
Another and more striking trend is the large share of junior profiles. During the first quarter of 2021, many employers focused their recruitment on starter positions. Four out of ten vacancies - almost half - are explicitly aimed at this target group. We see that companies that cannot immediately find the right IT profiles are now opting to recruit starters and then train them themselves. This is also reflected in the salaries. Only 40% are above €36,000 per year.
Nevertheless, as a company you don’t have to resign yourself to the reality of the IT skills gap. Sharp insight into the scarcity of the IT labour market enables you to make smart, strategic choices. As a result, skills and capacity no longer need to be the deciding factor for the timely implementation of your IT roadmap and your organisation's digitalisation projects.
Our advice is to avoid entering the war for talent unprepared. Map out your skills needs at an early stage and make a strategic choice on how to fill them (in-house training, recruitment, outsourcing or a combination). This gives you a much better grip on the way you can deploy the available talent. Are certain skills extremely scarce? Then it might be smart to reconsider the timelines or to see if there is an alternative for the chosen technology. You don't have to do that alone, by the way. Get advice from a specialist, who is familiar with the current market trends. My tip is therefore: be well informed in good time!
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