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The problem of shortage of specialists in information and communication technology in Saudi Arabia
During the past few years, noted the reports and studies that focus on the markets of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States that the companies – in areas in which they operate – can expect to face continued challenges in finding specialized skills in the field of information and communication technology. These reports also mention that this problem is likely to worsen.
This is due to the lack of proportionality between the expected increase in the number of vacancies – especially in areas such as Internet security and cloud computing and big data analysis – on the one hand, and the levels of skills available to the specialist ICT on the other hand. And exacerbate these expectations low number of local graduates in the field of information and communication technology.
The suffering of the Middle East in general and Saudi Arabia in particular, from similar circumstances, as a growing reliance on technology companies in Saudi Arabia, and there is increasing reliance on skilled in the field of information and communication technology. And probably will continue to be demand for specialized skills in information and communication technology in view of expectations, driven by the growth of spending plans for infrastructure and investment diversification. This has resulted in already difficulties in finding qualified specialists in information and communication technology in the Kingdom.
It adds a combination of employment in the Kingdom more complexity to it. Given the traditional reliance on foreign workers – especially in the private sector – the impact of Saudization policies, such as the “bands”, it becomes more obvious with the difficulties faced by companies in the recruitment and training of specialists in information and communication technology, and maintain them.
In fact, according to a recent study by the IDC research firm, the market for 51% of Saudi companies surveyed indicated that the lack of skills is currently the most prominent among the challenges faced by these companies.
And affects the shortage of specialized skills in information and communication technology companies in multiple formats. On the one hand employment, companies are facing problems such as recruitment sessions long and high and the pace of change and increased training costs, and other cases where the skills are not commensurate with the assigned job requirements. From a business point of view, it refers to companies facing high operating costs, and delays in the launch and implementation of projects. The companies also lose the opportunity to expand and take advantage of the latest technical developments.
In spite of the existence of a general preference among many Saudi companies to carry out the responsibility of information technology itself, but the gap in skills pay for IT managers to search for service providers outside, but convince some of them do so through options such as outsourcing and cloud computing and managed services. It is important to recognize that the problem of skills shortage greater impact on small and medium businesses SMBs compared to large companies, small companies are much less capacity to attract talent in a competitive job market, coupled with the weakness of their ability to withstand the financial implications of it.
In addition to the problems mentioned above, companies must ICT workforce in Saudi Arabia working to meet the expectations of the market and the opening of its local offices, and to establish close relationships with its customers, which is a traditional business culture in Saudi Arabia. In light of the increasing expenses, these expectations put more pressure on companies operating model for information and communication technology, where the preservation of local activity have a higher cost. In addition, the commitment to ensure that the program “bands” of the priorities of the Information Technology and Communications, where he became a key requirement when considering the progress of the competition with the public sector contracts. Although the increasing openness of the Saudi companies to take advantage of external service providers helps companies ICT based in Saudi Arabia on growth, but it also opened the door to competition from service providers who are working in accordance with the models of non-local cheap.
In line with the objectives of the Ninth Development Plan for the construction of the national workforce, put the Saudi government and educational institutions, investments and big plans address the business requirements and mechanisms from the viewpoint of Saudi citizens in the market for specialized skills. In addition to the “bands”, there are other initiatives to improve the recruitment and training of specialists Saudis, and increase the attractiveness of the private sector in general in front of Saudi citizens.
In line with the objectives of the Kingdom in building knowledge-based economy, which focuses on education and uses information and communication technology as a tool for empowerment, the Saudi universities, as well as the institutions of technical and vocational training, is seeking to increase the total number of graduates and professionals Saudis in the field of information and communication technology.
And quality initiatives undertaken by the education sector, the expansion of existing facilities and range of courses offered, and investment in curriculum review and the use of information and communication technology in education, training faculty members and raise their efficiency, and improving the scholarship programs, all of which are either being planned or has direct implementation, and its goal direct is to increase the number of specialists in information and communication technology who are preparing them locally. It is expected to relieve it of the status quo and fill some of the gaps expected in the future in terms of job vacancies in the field of information and communication technology.
Overall, IDC believes that the gap in the specialized skills reveal about the challenges currently functional and operational and financial numerous front companies and service providers in the kingdom. And we expect to continue in the short term, have a negative impact on the project, performance and growth. In the medium term, Vtaatouka firm IDC that the kingdom has witnessed an increase in the amount and type of national cadres specialized in the field of information technology, which will help stabilize the job market for specialists in information and communication technology.
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