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The roles of IT professionals are predicted to change significantly over the next ten years to encompass business, interpersonal and project skills and to develop expertise in: systems integration; networking; and security. The IT and Telecoms professional workforce, particularly ICT managers, IT strategy and planning, and software professionals, is expected to increase by 1.6% per annum.

Businesses in the sector are experiencing problems with the recruitment of: software engineers; technical support staff; systems designers; programmers; systems developers; and IT/telecoms managers. This is likely due to a lack of applicants with the technical and business skills required.

Source: e-skills UK AACS LMI 2009 and Technology Counts 2008

IT occupations

The composition of IT occupations has changed over the last seven years and further changes are forecast. Employment in IT & Telecoms professional occupations has grown significantly since the 1990s. ICT Managers or IT Strategy and Planning Professional occupations have grown the most over the last few year, and 40% of professional are now employed in these occupations. A further 30% are employed as Software Professionals. The share of IT user support, database and engineering roles, has decreased and this is set to decline further by 2014 and is the result of globalisation and the impacts on the employment mix.

Since 2001, the number of people employed as database assistants/clerks has decreased by 31%, line repairers and cable joiners by 13%, IT user support by 10% and computer engineers by 8%. There has also been a decline in the number of Telecoms engineers, software professionals and IT technicians.

Source: Technology Counts 2008, Employment Forecasts 2008 and Profiles of the Industry and Workforce 2008

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Occupational earnings

The median gross weekly earnings across the UK workforce (for people working full time) is £440 per week. IT and Telecoms employees earn £640, which on average is 45% more. All occupations within IT and Telecoms have median gross weekly earnings above the UK median with the exception of: IT User Support Technicians earn £400 per week; Database Assistants/Clerks £320 per week; and Computer Engineers £420 per week.

Women working in full-time IT and Telecoms roles earn less throughout their working lives than their male counterparts; earning 13% less than their male counterparts. From 2001-2008, male IT professionals earned more between 40 -49 years, compared with females who have generally earned the most across their IT professional careers between 30-39 years. Full-time male IT professionals age 40-49 years, on average, earn 30% more than full-time females in the same position. Male IT and Telecoms professionals earn on average £65 a week more than females.

There are also regional differences of IT and Telecoms staff gross weekly earnings. IT and Telecoms staff in London earn £730 per week compared to staff working in the North West who earn less than £500 per week.

IT and Telecoms professionals with a degree or other higher qualification earn more than those with lower qualifications; earning on average £210 per week above the national average. Those with a higher degree (such as a Masters or Doctorate) earn on average 13% more than those with A Level or equivalent qualifications and 19% more than those with GCSE or equivalent qualifications.

Weekly advertised earnings for IT professionals has decreased by 1%.

Sources: e-skills UK AACS LMI 2009, e-skills Bulletin (Q2.09), Women in IT Scorecard 2008 and Profiles of the Industry and Workforce 2008

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Future occupational demands

Although, IT operations and development programmers have experienced a reduction in numbers, systems integration, networking and business analysts have grown. In the future, there will be increased demand for business analysts, web support, IT architects and security specialists. There will be an increasing demand for networking specialists and systems integration competencies.

There is a short supply of IT architecture skills and this is predicted to continue with the growing importance of IT architecture and infrastructure.

The nature of IT solutions will change in the future as IT products and services develop. An increased understanding of the way in which solutions are deployed in different industries will be required so there will be a need for solution analysts.

Project and programme management skills will be required by IT professions as there is an on-going concern over large IT projects and a need to understand drivers to deliver business change through IT.

Recruitment in the IT and Telecoms sector to cover growth and replacement demands, means that:

  • 65% is required in managerial and senior professional positions
  • 19% in associate professional and technician positions (such as IT Operations Technicians and User support)
  • 17% in trades (such as Telecoms and Computer engineers) and administrative roles (such as Database assistants)

Source: e-skills UK AACS LMI 2009 and IT Insights: Trends and UK Skills Implications 2004

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Occupational roles and sources of information

e-skills UK offers a range of resources for potential entrants, careers advisers and careers advisory organisations on the careers website including information on the sector and various job roles, together with case studies and routes into work. Additional resources are also available from e-skills UK including IT careers videos and written job profiles.

A variety of key roles in the IT sector are identified by Graduate Prospects and detailed information is available. Some selected examples include: applications developer; web designer; IT consultant; systems analyst; and systems designer). For information on these roles and others in the sector go to the Graduate Prospects website case studies.

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for the Information Technology and Information Management sector. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

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