Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be techies

Davy Adams

Davy Adams is the Managing Director of IDG Australia, publisher of Computerworld and CIO.

It was with great excitement that I received the latest edition of the Clarius Skills index.

Okay, perhaps I’m overstating my reaction a little, but I do try not to be completely sceptical about employment research that comes from recruitment companies, especially when it’s backed by the likes of KPMG.

So, what did the folks out in headhunter land have to tell us? Apparently there’s an, wait for it, (Queue: drumroll) IT skills shortage! Who would have thought?

Meanwhile there’s no-one studying to move into IT, which Graham Low, professor of information systems at the Australian School of Business attributes to dotcom-phobic parents moving their kids into safer career paths.

Today’s mommas clearly don’t want their babies to grow up to be techies. I'm guessing that drop in student enrolments is exacerbated by the rise in the Aussie dollar that makes it cheaper to study just about anywhere in the world other than Australia.

But reading the list of top 10 occupations with the highest level of shortages it occurred to me that we may be on the edge of a catastrophic tipping point for recruitment into the IT profession. Computing professionals are ranked at #8 on the shortage list, but far more concerning is the #5 shortage: hairdressers. Somebody get me a drink while I come to grips with the terrible implications of this.

Without hairdressers the archetypal shaggy-haired tech misanthrope is destined to return. None of the groovy kids graduating from school will be impressed by his presentation on careers day, so they won't be enrolling in IT any time soon. And our dreadlocked CIO will no doubt be turned away at interviews by HR folk determined to find someone a little more in keeping with the company image. Shortage becomes crisis. Armageddon ensues.

If the IT industry is ever to shed its geeky image and appeal to a new generation of people they’re going to need access to good grooming. Unless they work in mining, apparently in which case all bets are off.

Tags: careers, skills shortage, Clarius Skills Index

Show Comments