SA faces networking skills shortage
There is a significant networking skills shortage across the Middle East and Africa, according to International Data Corporation research commissioned by Cisco Systems.
The demand for advanced, specialised skills will outweigh the supply in SA by 24% (113 900 skilled people) in 2009, compared to the current 19.5% gap, if nothing is done to rectify the situation, the study reveals. The European skills gap, in comparison, will be 11.8% by 2008.
Due to the skills gap, individuals with required technology skills are highly sought after and this increases their price tag, says Clive Fynn, Cisco GM in SA. The advanced technology fields that Cisco has identified include wireless technology, IP telephony and business.
"Obviously, the bigger the gap between supply and demand, the more expensive specialists will be. This will impact heavily on the labour market," he says.
Thirty-six percent of companies in SA hired networking engineers in the past year. However, 40% said the right skills were too expensive. Sixty-two percent admitted it was difficult to find candidates with the right networking skills. Furthermore, 60% struggled to find engineers with the right combination of advanced skills.
"The market remains positive about vendor certification," Fynn says, "and there is now increased government and industry collaboration towards certification."
Certifications were viewed as skills drivers by 59% of respondents, who said they will become increasingly important; however, 36% of respondents said experience remains a key factor when recruiting.