IT Skills Shortage Is Especially Acute for Financial Services Firms

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While finding qualified IT personnel is no picnic in any industry these days, it's apparently an especially arduous task for financial services firms.


Half of such companies that responded to silicon.com's 2007 Skills Survey said they are unable to fill vacant tech positions. In comparison, 44 percent of respondents from the retail sector and 35 percent of those in the public sector reported similar experiences.


In particular, financial services firms are finding it tough to fill slots that require programming expertise, followed by those that demand database skills. Project management was cited as a key non-technical need by all three industry sectors. For financial services firms, "knowledge of the sector" is also a key qualification -- likely because of the large number of regulations with which the firms must comply, notes silicon.com.


Less than two-thirds of the financial services firms say they are outsourcing to address staffing gaps, compared to nearly three-quarters of their retail sector peers and less than half of those in the public sector.


The majority of respondents from all three sectors agree that hiring contractors and beefing up in-house IT training are effective ways of dealing with short-term skills shortages.


Some companies are beginning to promote skills training as a way to both attract and retain staff. Sixty-three percent of CIOs responding to a spring 2006 survey by Robert Half Technology cited providing training or career development opportunities as a key tactic for retaining IT talent.


Offering training, especially cross-functional training, is one of many good suggestions offered by KEYGroup founder Joanne Sujansky in an interview with IT Business Edge, Keeping the Talent: Show Them They're Valued.