It’s no secret that the UK has been heading towards a significant digital skills shortage for some time now
In fact, recent research from The Learning & Work Institute revealed that the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE has dropped by 40% since 2015. The digital skills shortage continues to climb across the country as a result of a few reasons such as a lack of clearly-defined job roles in certain fields, understanding and guidance about career paths, relatable role models and the difficulty in making the profession appealing for young people.
Yet, as the shortage increases, so does the demand. In particular, the demand for software developers has been dramatic. The past 12 plus months has accelerated the developments and widespread adoption in digital transformation. As a result, businesses across various industries have grappled to keep up with the fast-paced digital landscape, increasing the demand for highly skilled, software developer professionals.
In this article, I will explore what the software development talent gap has meant for businesses, workforces and the wider economy and how nearshoring in the wake of COVID-19 may be the answer we’re all looking for.
Unearthingthe software development skills gap
The lack of IT talent in the UK and general Western Europe has put huge amounts of pressure on recruiting organisations attempting to navigate their way through what has been one of the most disruptive years to ever face humanity. In fact, last year nearly half of IT workers claimed their company is actively recruiting candidates for tech-based roles.
As technology continues its rapid development, businesses risk huge profit loss if they choose to neglect investment in their software development processes. Without sufficient software development, IT processes become quickly out-dated and in-effective. If a company hesitates to keep up with changing customer behaviours and demands as a result of the pandemic, they’ll be left exposed for competitors to innovate and take advantage of the untapped market space.
For workforces, the pressure has been on! Many companies have looked in-house to overcome technical developments, taking away time and focus from their core activities. As a result, the development of software lacks quality and processes are missing the mark. What’s more, employees’ workloads have increased and their day-to-day activities are compromised for a lower standard affecting core parts of the business and consequently weakening their market position.
Nearshoring in the wake of COVID-19
Location is a vital factor in the bottom line of an IT project, and can often make or break the success of software development. This is where nearshoring comes into play. Nearshoring is the process of outsourcing business IT activities to companies in a nearby country.
By opening up a pool of fresh talent, a near-shored software development company allows organisations to access expert knowledge for their cultural counterparts. As an extension of the team, the nearshore IT partners can apply their professional skills and capabilities to the company’s weak points -perhaps a new issue that has arisen due to the pandemic. What’s more, this type of local investment can bolster an organisations’ competitive advantage by creating a space to develop high-quality and innovative software solutions that drive overall competitiveness.
Greater flexibility to resource capabilities
Risk mitigation is a huge part of nearshoring and if there’s anything we’ve learnt in 2020, it’s that contingency planning is critical. Looking ahead, companies may have increased IT needs for short periods of time but asking existing employees to do the extra work can take away their focus from core activities. Nearshoring IT projects allow businesses and its employees to focus on their primary activities and leave the technical development of software to the experts. Moreover, the outsourced partners can offer more than just software development and also add flexible resources that can be called upon when needed, freeing up resources and budget.
There’s no doubt that the global pandemic has accelerated the development of nearshoring for businesses, as many have had to react quickly to meet changing demands and serve their customers across online channels. The combination of the increasing IT talent shortage in Western Europe, constantly growing IT recruitment as well as rising employment costs have certainly put the pressure on companies in the current landscape.
Nearshoring is all about providing businesses with confidence and flexibility in today’s uncertain marketplace. It allows businesses to simultaneously decrease expenses, save time and bring years of experience to the project with ease. For those businesses looking into nearshoring options in the wake of COVID-19 should be encouraged in order to help bridge the gap between the increasing IT talent shortage while benefiting from greater flexibility to resource capabilities.
About the Author
Paul Blowers is Commercial Director UK & Ireland at Future Processing. We leverage technology and ask the right questions to deliver reliable, sustainable software on time. We are flexible, we quickly adjust to clients’ needs and the situation on the market. All this with a focus on the highest quality of provided services.
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