Is London good for an IT career

Companies lack more than 24,000 IT specialists

Are there sufficient specialists in the telecommunications and information technology sector? Almost 60 percent of Austrian managers answer "No" in the Austrian Infrastructure Report 2021 by the Future Business Austria initiative. 91 percent of those questioned therefore demand that the skills shortage in the IT sector urgently need to be resolved. "This underlines once again that Austria must intensify its efforts to ensure that companies have the IT specialists that we need right now for growth and value creation in Austria," says Alfred Harl, Chairman of the Association for Management Consulting, Accounting and Information Technology (UBIT ) in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce at the presentation of the report.

According to a current study by the Industrie Wissenschaftliches Institut (IWI), the shortage of skilled workers in Austria amounts to 24,000 people. Accordingly, this means a loss of added value of around 3.8 billion euros for the Austrian business location per business year. Because companies can only fill their open internal IT positions to an average of 77 percent. In the infrastructure report from November it was "only" assumed that there would be a shortage of up to 10,000 skilled workers.

"Our companies are suffering enormously from the shortage of IT specialists and Austria is one of the negative frontrunners in the EU comparison," says Martin Zandonella, deputy chairman of the UBIT trade association. "Most of the skilled workers are lacking in the areas that Austria's economy now needs most urgently: software engineering & web development and IT security," he says. According to the IWI study, Upper Austria lacks the most skilled workers with 7,200 IT specialists, followed by Vienna (6,000), Styria (4,400), Tyrol and Vorarlberg (2,600), Lower Austria (2,500) and Carinthia, Salzburg and Burgenland (1,700) .

Computer science class

The infrastructure report shows a clear picture: 93 percent of the managers surveyed would like more research and development funding for digitization in companies. 91 percent warn that IT specialist training should be promoted. And another 40 percent demand that no one should leave the school system without having learned a programming language. According to Harl, computer science education cannot begin early enough: "In-depth and comprehensive IT instruction in all Austrian schools from the first grade is a must."

Another adjustment screw against the shortage of skilled workers is to get more women interested in training in mint industries - especially in technology and IT. "The Austrian economy can benefit in every respect from an increased entry of women. Well-trained Mint specialists are a relevant factor for Austria as a business location," said Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) at a press conference in early March.

Broadband expansion

The importance of the know-how of domestic IT consultants for more cybersecurity was also discussed: 88 percent of those surveyed demand that Austria strengthen and coordinate its cybersecurity activities even more closely. "A successful digital location Austria needs sufficient IT specialists and a strong broadband infrastructure. The promise made by Federal Minister Köstinger to release 102 million euros in funding for broadband expansion is all the more gratifying," says Harl. The report shows how crucial investments in broadband and digitization are for the Austrian business location: 79 percent of those surveyed fear that it would lag behind. They also see the risk that jobs will be lost (38 percent) and technological progress could be hampered (20 percent).

The respondents also expect an increase in productivity through the use of new digital applications and put this at 14.2 percent. Applied to GDP in 2019, that would be a productivity gain of around 56.61 billion euros. "In relation to the estimated costs of ten billion euros for the expansion of broadband, these investments pay off significantly. Every euro invested has almost six times the value added," says the editor of the infrastructure report, David Ungar-Klein. (red, 6.4.2021)