Global IT giant warns of skills crisis in Britain

BRITAIN faces a looming computing skills shortage over the coming years, a director at one of the world’s biggest IT companies has warned.

BG Srinivas, the European head of global software consultancy Infosys, told City A.M. that “the number of people wanting to get into IT has dropped” and that he sees a shortage of qualified job candidates in future.

Srinivas said: “It goes back to the grassroots. The number of students taking up science and maths has gone down, so that is something we need to improve, that awareness.”

The Bangalore-based outsourcing giant, which employs around 6,000 people in its European offices and tens of thousands of developers in India and China, is signing up around 100 apprentices in the UK over the next five years. The company is looking to expand its presence in Europe, after recently buying Swiss consultancy Lodestone for £218m.

But even in the relatively small numbers Infosys recruits, it still anticipates challenges finding suitable candidates.

“If we looked for large scale numbers there would be a challenge but at the numbers we are hiring so far it is not an issue,” Srinivas said. “But I’m looking at the medium term to long term, it could become a big problem.”

He called for a concerted effort from government and the education sector to improve awareness of opportunities in the IT sector, and argued that Europe needs a technological hub to rival Silicon Valley in order to compete with the talent in the US.

“This is a problem that can not be tackled just by one industry. It requires academics, the industry and the government,” he said. “There is a lot of innovation which can happen in this marketplace, but it is not on the scale that Silicon Valley comes out with. Once you do that you will create a lot of local excitement not only for people to participate as engineers but entrepreneurs, investors and that is something we need to scale.”