The skills shortage: modern technology to the rescue?

Could be that there will soon be more than just one way to handle the skills shortage besides hiring as many contractors as you can, if some new software works.

If there’s been the one thing keeping the skill shortage from completely derailing the British economy, it’s been the flexibility of freelancers and umbrella company contractors in picking up the slack left by the dearth of skilled and qualified permanent workers. However, there’s some relief in sight for contractors – or at least there may be, if a new bit of computer software that’s currently undergoing its pilot programme in Manchester actually works.

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has developed software that can produce an estimate as far as what a given city will require over the next 12 months in regards to the number of skilled workers. How this new magical bit of software works is a complete mystery to me, but apparently there’s some promising results coming down the pipeline, and the software is most definitely creating more than a little buzz.

Honestly this would be a great help, as the software would most likely not just give raw figures but also break down how many workers in which particular professions a city will need in the coming year. This could help local authorities focus their education efforts in areas to fill any predicted gaps, and having some preparation time to get the local workforce into proper shape could spell the difference between a region languishing or evolving into a healthy, productive one.

For what it’s worth, I’m slightly skeptical as far as how much detail this software will actually be able to provide. On top of that, even if this new software is incredibly accurate and can predict with pinpoint accuracy how many workers a city will need and what type of professions they need to be, it’s up to the city itself to act upon this data – and it’s when you involve human beings  where most plans fall flat. I mean, you’ve seen what happens when politicians are left in charge of running an entire country; who’s to say that the politicians running city or county councils aren’t any less inept and out of touch with reality than our ministers and MPs tend to be?

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