Why Hasn't IT Embraced Remote Working?

Author:Grzeskowiak, Jarek
Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: OPINION
 
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Tech City UK's Tech Nation 2017 survey found that 50 per cent of the nation's digital tech community believed the shortage of skilled talent was the biggest challenge facing the industry. Here, Jarek Grzeskowiak, delivery lead for Microsoft's leading recruitment partner Curo Talent, explains why the sector needs to adopt a remote working model to broaden the talent pool.

It's becoming abundantly clear that there needs to be a shift in the way the technology sector operates to encourage fresh talent into the industry. But, what can be done?

School's out

It's no secret that IT education in the UK is lacking in consistency. The quality of tech education seems to come down to a postcode lottery, where students attending schools or colleges with the resources or access to qualified and experienced teachers achieve greater success.

This is part of the reason that the UK Government is introducing a new qualification for technical education, called T-levels. In his autumn 2017 budget announcement, Chancellor Hammond said that the aim is to overcome "a lingering doubt about the parity of esteem attaching to technical education pursued through the further education route".

This will see an increase in the number of hours of training for 16 to 19-year-olds on technical courses by more than 50 per cent, including the completion of a high-quality industry work placement during the programme. This will come into effect in 2019 and there will be over 500m [pounds sterling] of funding to be invested each year.

Standardising the quality of education is intended to close the nation's productivity gap. To use the Chancellor's own words, "Simply put, higher productivity means higher pay. The stats are well known. We are 35 per cent behind Germany and 18 per cent behind the G7 average. And the gap is not closing".

However, businesses will still struggle to recruit the most skilled software and infrastructure engineers if the IT industry doesn't move away from a legacy system that relies on office-based working.

London calling

Unless IT graduates are based in influential areas like Reading, London, Cambridge or Manchester, they have to relocate to find employment. This is simply a fact. The IT sector is still operating on the rigid, office-based, model that is restricting both the talent pool and businesses. Large corporations, such as Microsoft and Oracle, historically set up headquarters in key UK places like London and Reading, and the draw of being close to...

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