The UK faces a shortage of 33,300 skilled IT and tech workers by 2050 due to a skills deficit, an ageing workforce and restrictive migration policies, according to recruitment firm Randstad Technologies.
The firm based its findings on the most recent population and employment figures from Eurostat, the statistics provider of the European Union.
Randstad then analysed the projected changes in UK population and working age rates for 2050 to work out the gap between employment demand and workforce supply for the UK.
According to Eurostat, IT and technology employees currently represent one per cent of the UK workforce and Randstad said that if that were to remain constant by 2050, the UK would have a deficit of 33,300 IT-related staff - but this is less of a shortfall than many other professions such as the education, construction and engineering sectors.
Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad, said that the IT and tech sectors are vital for the overall health of the UK economy and that educational establishments as well as tech hubs such as Silicon Roundabout must continue to ensure the UK has the required amount of IT professionals, otherwise the country could slip behind other developed nations.
"Our projections for the size of the IT and technology workforce are conservative, yet they paint a very grim picture for the UK's economic prospects. Unless we can plug the employment gap, we'll be unable to capitalise on the advance and growth we've achieved over the last few years and this will have serious consequences for the overall prosperity of the country," he said.
The recruitment firm suggested that the IT skills shortage was one reason for the projected deficit, but that the UK's migration policies will also play a part.
According to the Office of National Statistics, since 2007, overall work-related emigration from the UK has increased by 16 per cent, while work-related immigration has fallen 24 per cent over the same period, suggesting that employees are looking at opportunities abroad for higher salaries, while overseas candidates are deterred by the UK's immigration policy.
"Unfortunately, with a stagnant economy and crippling migration policy, the UK represents a much less attractive option for both domestic and overseas talent," Beresford explained.
In order to ensure that the UK remains an attractive workplace for IT employees, salaries within the sector have begun to rise according to Randstad's latest salary survey, which predicts that pay for IT systems roles in London will increase by 20.4 per cent next year.
Meanwhile, in 2013 pay is expected to rise in the following areas: IT development (9.4 per cent), IT technical support (four per cent), BI and analysis (10 per cent), IT architecture (9.1 per cent), IT change management (10.3 per cent), IT project management (2.2 per cent), ERP (3.2 per cent) and IT infrastructure (11.1 per cent).
"A growing economy will not only help prevent home-grown skilled IT and technology workers from moving overseas, but combined with a sensible migration policy, it will also encourage foreign talent to consider a career in the UK. Without foreign skills bolstering the IT and tech workforce the sector will have to deal with a large black hole over the coming years," Beresford added.
But not all of the results from the survey were positive, as the salary for those working in the software sector is forecast to decline by 6.9 per cent in 2013 and IT data management roles are likely to see a decrease by one per cent from 2012.
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