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Annie Hayes

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Firms fail to formalise IT professional development

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More than 80% of UK employers consider it important to develop their IT staff’s professional skills, but only 9% run a professional development scheme, according to a new survey.

The survey of 183 UK organisations by the British Computer Society and InfoBasis Limited, also found that 40% of employers considered having an externally-accredited professional development scheme as ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important.

“The figures show both sides of corporate attitudes to professional IT development in the UK,” said Malcolm Sillars, BCS professional director.

“While increased professionalism of the industry is widely viewed as important, only a handful of employers are actively engaging in it.”

He added that the broad spread of spend on development products and services re-enforced this view. Over the past 12 months, while nearly one fifth of organisations represented had spent £10,000 or more, just over half the respondents indicated that their employer had spent nothing or did not know how much they had spent.

The generally positive view of professionalism, though, was reflected in higher than expected recognition of industry-standard formal skills frameworks. Almost a third – 31% – had heard of the BCS’s Industry Standard Model (ISM), 28% of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), and 22% of SFIAplus.

“The organisations which recognise these frameworks are the ones leading the way with professional development,” added Sillars. “Like the 10% of respondents who use some form of IT skills gap analysis software, or career development package. And it seems that more are keen to join this group. Over 30% of employers are looking to deploy some form of IT skills assessment or career development system.”

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Annie Hayes

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