CIOs: Government, business and education must work together to solve UK tech skills crunch

Over nine in ten (93%) UK CIOs are calling on government, businesses and universities to help solve the country’s tech skills crisis.

•    93% of UK CIOs agree more focus should be placed on alleviating the IT skills shortage 
•    Less than a third (31%) of European CIOs feel actively promoting IT as an attractive career path to Millennials and Generation Z is a crucial option

London UK, 28 August 2018 – Over nine in ten (93%) UK CIOs are calling on government, businesses and universities to help solve the country’s tech skills crisis. Research from recruitment specialist Robert Half Technology UK shows 31% of UK CIOs feel that actively promoting IT as an attractive career path to Millennials and Generation Zers is crucial to address the skills gap. Another 20% believe that an equal mix of measures – including more investment in training, closer collaboration with educators and additional government initiatives – is the best approach to solve the crisis. 

This view is held across Europe, with the continents CIOs agreeing that a mix of these initiatives would be beneficial in solving the skill shortage, even if exact solutions differ. CIOs in Belgium place higher priority on promoting IT as career path for Millennials/Generation Z professionals (45%). Where as French CIOs place greater importance on in-house training (21%) compared with 13% in the UK to address the tech skills crunch.

European CIOs were asked: In your opinion, what is the single thing that would alleviate the skills shortage in the technology field?

  Continental Europe and UK UK Belgium France Germany
Promote IT as an attractive career path for Millennials/Gen Z professionals 31% 31% 45% 31% 16%
All of them in equal measure 10% 20% 4% 5% 15%
Increased in-house training initiatives 17% 13% 15% 21% 16%
Increased government initiatives 10% 11% 9% 10% 11%
Increased collaboration with education providers/universities 16% 13% 16% 12% 23%
Increased collaboration initiatives from the business community 12% 8% 8% 16% 15%
Nothing 3% 5% 1% 3% 3%
Don't know 2% 2% 2% 2% 3%
Source: Robert Half, 2018

“With continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the potential of reduced access to skilled EU workers combined with visa caps, the IT skills gap is likely to increase unless all we take positive steps to address it,” commented Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “By taking a holistic approach to tech recruitment challenges, UK organisations will start to see more candidates attracted to a career in IT.”

Businesses are already facing increasing competition for talent in the technology sector. In fact, 79% of CIOs claim it is now more challenging to find qualified professionals than five years ago. This is comparable with Europe, where 67% of CIOs agree that it is more challenging today. With a possible tech talent exodus imminent, upskilling and training current and future employees now is key to the UK’s continued competitiveness.  

“Our research shows that the UK is not alone in its challenge to find qualified, highly skilled IT professionals. This is a worldwide issue that is particularly prominent in IT as digital transformation, automation and industry 4.0 shapes the future of the working world. CIOs in the UK recognise that if government, businesses and universities can work together to provide the correct environment to nurture, develop and train IT professionals, the benefits to both organisations and employees will be a major boost to the UK economy,” concludes Weston.


About the research

The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in June 2018 by an independent research firm among 700 CIOs in businesses in the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace. 

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and