Microsoft research warns of IT skills shortage


A survey from Microsoft has found that 82% of 16 to 18 year olds in education use Facebook every day, yet within school there remains significant untapped potential in how teenagers use technology.

Microsoft's director of education, Steve Beswick, warned that this could mean students leave school  still needing appropriate skills in information technology needed for the jobs market.

The research found that 71% of the 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds surveyed agree that they learn more about technology outside of the classroom, with 58% believing that they have a greater level of understanding of IT than their teachers.

The majority of students (85%) also think that their own use of the internet outside of school provides the most important source of information about technology and only 39% of students believe their school’s investment in technology really gives them the skills they need for future work.

For the first time, there are now four generations in the workforce: the Traditional Generation (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and the Millennial Generation / Generation Y (1981-1999), which creates unique challenges as each generation has its own characteristics, aspirations and preferred work styles.

Microsoft’s study aims to highlight the importance of skilling the next generation due to enter the workforce and engage with today’s schools and businesses to ensure Generation Five (18 year olds and younger currently in education) integrate their IT skills into future organisations effectively.

“These results reveal a major concern for businesses if schools are not equipping students with the appropriate skills and knowledge for future employment,” said Steve Beswick.

"The world has changed and is continuing to change. People are learning, communicating and working in different ways and education and businesses need to adapt in order to survive.

"The education sector has not been immune to recent budget cuts, but this is a time to transform education, re-invest in technology and integrate IT into every aspect of the classroom.

"We still need to encourage the development of skills at home, but ensure that within the school environment itself students are also engaging with each other and being taught the necessary skills for the future.“

January 2011

Digital Learning