Dubai: A global business survey released on Tuesday indicates that Middle East information technology firms may be experiencing the highest level of vacancies of skilled IT staff in the world.

According to a survey of 3,169 respondents from 105 countries on the global skills IT landscape, professionals in the Middle East technology sector said they believe that there are large tech-sector holes in their region.

The survey did not track actual positions recorded within each corporation but asked IT professionals for their take on the state of their industry within their respective countries and regions.

Kathryn Cave, editor of IDG Connect International, a global IT research firm, told Gulf News on Tuesday from the UK that, "according to the survey findings, 71 per cent of the respondents believe that the Middle East currently has a medium or high volume of IT vacancies — the highest globally — and almost 68 per cent think that senior technical skills are the most in demand."

Comparative chart

The Middle East response compares to feedback from North America where around four per cent of respondents reported a high volume of vacancies.

The survey suggested that Australia and New Zealand have the second highest volume of vacancies at around 55 per cent while Europe ranked third with 50 per cent of respondents indicating they had openings in IT departments.

Cave noted that those in the Middle East who participated in the survey were from the higher rungs of the IT sector and were speaking from some experience.

"The majority of those who took part held senior IT roles, and 41 per cent from the Middle East had been in their current jobs for two to five years, while 36 per cent had been in their jobs for five-plus years," Cave said.

"The highest volume of perceived job vacancies [accumulated] is in the Middle East, with 60 per cent estimating ‘a medium volume' of vacancies and 11 per cent estimating ‘a high volume' of vacancies [adding up to 71 per cent]," she said.

"This means the Middle East has the lowest estimate for ‘very few' vacancies: 14 per cent, compared to 43 per cent from North America."

Reasons proffered by respondents for high vacancy rates varied from economic uncertainty and entry level workers to the transient nature of the expanding Middle East markets which may experience higher churn rates than more established markets.

By the numbers

Information technology professionals surveyed were asked to list the most likely causes of high vacancy rates in the Middle East and responded with the following:

  • 59 per cent blame the economy
  • 61 per cent blame poor IT training
  • 20 per cent see lack of interest in IT careers
  • 52 per cent believe the best IT talent moves abroad
  • 43 per cent say rapid market expansion does not allow IT skills to keep up
  • 61 per cent believe employment issues occur due to entry level IT workers who have a different work ethic compared to older employees.

Source: The Global IT Skills Landscape/IDG Connect International