New research amongst IT professionals has identified a need for children to start learning tech skills from a younger age – with nearly half (49%) indicating that learning should start aged 8 and under, to ensure the future of the IT industry.
Investigating the decline in young people entering the industry, the research further identified that 64% of IT pros think tech firms are not doing enough to attract young people into the industry. This comes despite Google’s plans to manage the roll-out of specialist tech teachers to help schools across England enhance their IT curriculum and to provide funding for teaching aids such as Raspberry Pis.
Richard Nott, Website Director, CWJobs.co.uk explains: “Britain’s place on the IT world map is precarious – with a lack of investment largely to blame. Google’s focus on IT education is a step in the right direction, but we need to see more campaigns of this nature. The IT industry currently contributes £81bn to the UK economy – and this has the potential to grow given the sustained demand on IT to support evolving business and consumer needs. For the UK to take advantage of this potential, we need to invest in the next generation of IT talent, to ensure we have the workforce to deliver success.”
The challenge in recruiting young people into IT, according to over half of those working in tech roles, is still in overcoming the industry’s stereotype of being ‘geeky’ – with a further 39% identifying that IT is not thought of as a fun career. To combat this, respondents identified the areas of IT they believe to be most attractive to young people – namely social media (39%) followed by mobile (21%) and gaming (17%).
Nott continues: “There seems to be a disconnect between what young people perceive a career in IT to be and an acknowledgement of how this translates into the gadgets, smartphones and consoles they use on a daily basis. Ensuring the role of the IT professional is relevant to young people will ensure their interest in the industry for a future career.”
Other measures identified in the research to ensure the future of the IT industry included offering more apprenticeships (66%), better promoting the industry to young people at the point of career decision making (60%) and sponsoring university degrees (51%).