Government to rid IT of ‘nerdy’ image

IT workers are to get a Government-sponsored makeover in an attempt to rid the profession of its “nerdy” image.

The revamping programme, which is likely to include a major above-the-line advertising campaign, is in response to a growing recruitment crisis in the IT industry.

According to industry estimates, some industry sectors, such as automotive engineering and telecoms, can only fill 50 per cent of IT vacancies as graduates flock to more glamorous professions.

IT is poised to follow in the footsteps of teaching, nursing and the armed forces by using advertising and marketing to attract better quality recruits.

The new initiative, which brings together Government representatives and national training organisations in a working party, is being headed by Government “e-envoy” Alex Allan. It will be aimed principally at women and young people.

Working party committee member Mike Sanderson, former marketing director of Wilkinson Sword and chief executive of the Engineering and Marine Training Authority is expected to push for a TV ad campaign to change perceptions of IT engineers as boring and socially inept.

“The recruitment problem is essentially a cultural one. Engineers are a self-effacing breed. We need to sharpen up marketing skills and sell ourselves better,” he says.

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