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Information Technology

The Job Market

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  • The IT industry is extremely important in the UK - for instance, Britain has the largest e-learning industry in Europe and one of the largest games industries in the world

  • There are estimated to be well over a million IT professionals. Around half of them work in IT companies. The rest work in various sectors, such as finance (fewer opportunities than before because of the economic problems) and retail (the larger supermarkets run IT graduate trainee schemes)

  • The public sector - hospitals, museums, educational institutions, local councils, national government offices, etc - also employs IT professionals, although far fewer than in the private sector

  • In addition, millions of non-IT professionals use computers at work

  • Call centres, for instance, such as those used by insurance firms or travel companies, employ workers with IT skills. However, advanced IT skills are only needed if the job is providing computer support to callers

  • Lots of the major international computer firms have offices in the UK, especially in London, but there are also many smaller companies. According to ESkills, around 100,000 businesses in the UK offer IT and telecom products 

  • The IT workforce is well qualified - around 60% have a higher education qualification.

  • IT degrees, however, are often not required. Even for IT graduate trainee roles in computer firms, many employers will consider any subject provided a high class of degree (at least a 2:1) is obtained. People with non-IT degrees are sometimes thought to have skills considered to be lacking by some in the IT industry (such as interpersonal skills, communication skills and business skills)

  • Competition for IT work comes from overseas: India, for instance, produces many IT graduates and increasing numbers of entry-level roles in the computer industry (such as end user support worker, and programmer) are ‘outsourced’ there and in other countries 

  • Young people and women are vital to the continued growth and success of the industry - they are currently under-represented both on IT courses and in the industry itself