Immigration of Skilled IT Professionals Offers Immediate Solution to European Skills Crisis, IDC Says

AMSTERDAM – OCTOBER 5, 2000 – IDC’s resourcing model reveals the overall shortage of skilled IT professionals will grow from about 850,000 in 1999 to 1.7 million in 2003 in Western Europe. In absolute terms, IT skills shortages will increase in every country between 1999 and 2003.

Today Western Europe is experiencing an unprecedented IT skills shortage that is set to worsen over the next five years. IDC predicts the demand for skilled IT professionals will continues to grow year on year at a rate that will significantly outstrip supply.

“The outcome will be an increasing gap between the supply and demand of skilled workers,” said Andrew Milroy, director of IDC's European Services. This is already leading to inflated salaries and increased staff turnover, thus raising operating costs and lowering profits for companies. “Without a strategy for resolving the IT skills shortage, individual countries and Europe will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage against the United States, which has been addressing its IT skills shortage strategically for several years.”

The most common reaction to a gap in appropriate skills is to retrain, typically resulting in incremental operational costs. In the case of sustained shortages, companies typically outsource (which is just the transfer of the lack of skills to a service provider). Other answers include using offshore resources or less labor-intensive means of computing such as the ASP model.

Europe Must Become a Net Importer of Skills

A growing number of European governments recognize the need to attract skills to their countries as a means of driving their economies. For example, the German government plans to issue 20,000 special visas to skilled immigrants, and the United Kingdom is attempting to speed up the process of issuing visas to skilled immigrants. Some U.K. politicians have even talked of a "Global War for Talent."

Although training and education can increase the supply of skilled labor in the medium and long term, the only answer to the short-term challenge is skilled foreign labor. To compete effectively in the "New Economy," countries must liberalize the supply side of the IT labor market. Furthermore, they must also work to make their countries more attractive to foreign immigrants.

IDC's report Europe’s IT Skills Shortage, 1999-2003 (IDC #TT15G) defines the changing nature of IT skills, discusses skills trends, and analyzes the projected growth in the shortage. This report is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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