IT directors recognise the need for all-round skills

4 August 2003

Less than half of IT directors and senior managers believe their organisation actively encourages career development, according to a new survey from Henley Management College and BCS.

This latest Career Development Survey was carried out among more than 50 senior IT figures, half were responsible for budgets of more than £5 million.

The most important factors in building a successful career in IT are seen to be leadership and communication skills (ranked by 69% of respondents as the most important), followed by management skills (22%), professional skills (16%), and business skills (8%).

IT directors and senior managers raised serious concerns about a non-technical skills gap among their staff. 53% indicated that there was a shortage of people with the right level of personal skills, such as communication, people management and leadership; 51% said there was lack of business and management skills. Just 2% said that their organisation lacked IT managers with the right technical skills. This requirement for well-rounded IT professionals means that respondents are as likely to look outside of the organisation for new recruits with the right skills as they are to promote internally.

IT competency frameworks and qualifications were recognised as being valuable by a majority of the IT directors and senior managers. Competency frameworks support individual career progression and organisation development while qualifications were seen to provide an industry benchmark of capabilities. Yet there is only limited use of these tools as a professional foundation, with just 20% using an IT competency framework.

According to Dr Sharm Manwani of Henley Management College and a founder member of the BCS Management Forum, "This survey demonstrates that IT directors recognise the importance of combining interpersonal, management and professional skills. The challenge now is to help their aspiring managers to reach the same level and the BCS and Henley have some joint initiatives planned to support this goal."

To help employers, BCS have released an updated version of their popular, software-based Career Development Framework (CDF) to existing customers. Specifically designed to encourage and support IT organisations and individuals, CDF offers a scalable set of internal processes, performance indicators, procedures and documentation. The competency framework aims to significantly improve employer IT training and development. A full release of the product is expected later this year.

For further information please contact the BCS Press Office.