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Over 50s Could Resolve IT And Engineering Skills Shortage

People in office A new survey has highlighted a growing concern among clients about an impending skills shortage in the IT, engineering and technical sectors; but experts argue that bringing in workers over the age of 50 could be the answer to the problem, Contractor Calculator reports. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) JobsOutlook for December 2014, clients are choosing to hire contractors to support their business growth and to act as a short-term resource for certain strategic skills. With the UK economy only just beginning to show signs of recovery and political uncertainty in the face of the up-and-coming election, even those businesses which are expanding are cautious about taking on new permanent staff. This explains why nearly half (43%) plan to increase their contractor numbers over the next three months, while a similar number (46%) plan to do so in the next year. However, as the REC's chief executive Kevin Green points out, with increased demand there is also a serious skills shortage that's making it more and more difficult for clients to hire the right talent for the work that needs doing.
In order to resolve this, Green recommends that employers look at existing talent pools to fill the skills gap – for example, the one million 50-64 year old workers who have recently been made redundant.
Dave Chaplin, ContractorCalculator's CEO, agrees that this could be the ideal solution: "Contractors deliver an established skill set often accompanied by considerable operational experience," he explained. "With 30-40 years of experience in the workplace and the highly developed skills that come with such long service, many of these older redundant workers could readily make the leap into contracting and ease the skills shortages." What's more, contract work could be ideal for older workers if they do not wish to find full-time work, but are looking for something to keep them busy and boost their income or retirement savings.