Lack of graduates: view from the ICT services company

Author: José Pérez

On 7th July arose an article named "ICT Professionals in Catalonia", conducted by the FOBSIC. One of his major contributions was to put numbers to the shortage of professionals in the sector. A continuation of the study for the analysis of the causes is announced. I would like to provide a reflection for this debate, from the perspective of a professional linked to a Catalan company with 30 years of presence in the sector. The current situation is paradoxical: while there is a strong demand for ICT professionals, the prices for the services of these professionals are stagnant. By what the study says, an activity which occupies more ICT professionals is the development and implementation of computer applications. The study also points out that this is the most demanded activities.

My professional experience is precisely focused in that area. What I am stating is that there is a very stiff price associated with the demand for the services provided by ICT professionals. In my direct experience, I would say that the price of these services is today, in nominal value, of the same level or lower, to the one when I entered into this sector in the 1980s. In my opinion, the analysis of this paradox may be relevant when implementing the corrective actions of the current situation. The development and implementation activity of computer applications has as a main factor the human work. In fact, the magic number of any offer of services for such activity is the half day tariff. One of the lines that follow the market is that there is a growing weight of large buyers of these services. These buyers set very contained prices and even with a downward trend.

Companies move quite directly pressure in the selling prices of the services, to the direct costs which are the salaries of workers, which is why it is difficult to grow. Has the sector lost attractive because professional’s revenues are lower than those of others with equivalent qualifications? I don’t know if the most relevant part is that objectively the income is less than other professionals or that we find ourselves in a sector in which expectations have not advanced or even have been reduced in recent years, since a professional 10 years ago (before the ".com" bubble burst), could possibly expect a starting salary greater than the current time. I believe that the corrective actions should allow finding a better balance between the evolution of the expectations of the professionals of the sector and the needs of efficiency of large consumers of ICT services.

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