Channel Conference: The IT skills gap and how to close it

Regional experts offer solutions for plugging resource rifts

Tags: ComGuard FZ LLCIntelligent DecisionsKaspersky LabOxygen Middle East ( ( Arab Emirates
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Channel Conference: The IT skills gap and how to close it Organisations shy away from training employees because they become more marketable.
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 12, 2014

The Middle East's leading IT channel experts have again been discussing the uncomfortable bane of the region's IT skills shortage.

The debate took place at the Channel Middle East Conference at the Grosvenor House Dubai Marina, where a number of technology supply-chain issues were addressed through presentations and panel sessions.

"Last week I received three or four calls from people looking for work, which is normal, but I also received a similar amount of calls from companies who are looking for people," said Asem Galal, managing partner, Galal and Karawi Consulting, and moderator of the IT skills session. "So there is a demand for skills, but there is a big mismatch between the skills in demand and the skills in supply."

Regionally, more has been done to address the gap in some territories than others.

"Saudi Arabia is a key territory where we find the gap is still very wide," said Ajay Singh Chauhan, chief executive officer, Comguard and Spectrum Group. "The UAE has tried to close the gap and most training centres are now available here. The challenge today is the number of people that are willing to get trained. And organisations, when they do invest in training, they don't have the [ability] to retain [staff]."

One solution offered to address the skills gap was to harness pre-existing in-house talent and mould it, by retraining those employees with new skills.

"Organisations need to develop [in-house] IT skills and use them as a competitive advantage in the market," suggested Aman Manzoor, regional consumer sales director, Kaspersky Lab, Middle East. "If you have the talent in [your] organisation you need to take that talent and make it relevant to evolving technologies and continuously develop that."

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