ICT Switzerland Background

Press Release Studies Demand for ICT specialists

ICT careers are being sold short – they offer more than just programming

There is an acute and increasing specialist shortage in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. At the same time, the percentage of women in this industry is still very low at 14.7% (2015). The ICT economy has not yet succeeded in tapping the potential of suitable female candidates. In light of this situation, a study conducted by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in cooperation with ICTswitzerland provides concrete recommendations on how to increase the profession’s accessibility and attractiveness.

The “Attractiveness of ICT careers” research project, led by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) in cooperation with ICTswitzerland and sponsored by the SERI and the IT-Berufsbildung Schweiz professional training foundation, examined existing views about ICT, why the profession does not appeal to many people, and how ICT’s image must be changed to increase its attractiveness. Recommendations for action were developed based on the analysis to ensure a gender-integrated and attractive presentation of ICT educational options.

ICT careers offer more than just programming
The study shows that the relevant target groups continue to associate ICT careers almost exclusively with technology and programming. Communication and teamwork skills, which are also highly sought-after today, are not conveyed in job descriptions, even though the research project’s interviews with experts indicate that these skills are increasingly vital because ICT careers are moving away from pure programming towards a wide range of applications.
Furthermore, instead of indicating that ICT competencies can also be acquired during training, ICT skills are often regarded as a prerequisite. This is not conducive to improving the profession’s accessibility.

Recommendations
Based on the analyses, the following recommendations were developed for revamping the image of the ICT profession:

  • Ensure that communication can connect. The use of ICT-specific specialist terminology demands prior knowledge and reduces the size of the target audience. Instead, training programmes, job profiles, and the related skills should be described as concretely as possible and complemented using clear examples from the different areas of application so that the broadest possible access is ensured. When communicating with young people in particular, it is crucial that positive emotions are built into the job description. Rather than using stereotypical images of employees sitting in front of screens, the focus should be more on showing people in interactive situations which arise on a daily basis in an ICT career.
  • Give a well-balanced representation of the skills and activity portfolio. The different skills and activity areas must be given equal weighting in job descriptions in order to also attract people with a wide range of interests to ICT training. Social and communication skills must also have their place alongside technical competencies – after all, this profession’s current and future working practices are not just about programming or taking computers apart.
  • Position technology as learnable and purposeful. The description must make it clear that the necessary technical skills can be acquired and are not prerequisites. Furthermore, ICT is not an end in itself. It is vital for various sectors, such as medical and environmental technology, to overcome the challenges posed by companies and society. These uses, along with the different application areas, should be put centre stage in any description of training programmes and courses of study.
  • Describe the future of the career in concrete terms. ICT careers are the careers that are shaping society’s future within the context of its digitalisation. They are careers that will continue to offer very good opportunities on the job market based on thorough training and ongoing education. The descriptions of this profession and potential careers should include this aspect of future viability.

“The study clearly showed that we must move away from the image of ICT as a strictly technological discipline that requires existing technical skills and interests. The current approach excludes many people, and due to the implicit gender constructions – technical skills and interests are usually considered a male-dominated field – access is made more difficult for women”, commented project head Prof. Dörte Resch in summarising the findings. “In order to remove this entrenched image, we must place more emphasis on the uses and diversity of ICT, as well as the social and communication skills it requires.”

The project was funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI and the IT-Berufsbildung Schweiz foundation.

View a complete synthesis report here: www.fhnw.ch/wirtschaft/pmo

For more information, contact:
Andreas Kaelin, CEO ICTswitzerland
T. +41 31 311 62 45 | contact by email

Prof. Dr. Dörte Resch, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW),
School of Business Institute for Human Resource Management (PMO)
+41 62 957 2536 | contact by email

News ICT-Fachkräftesituation

ICTswitzerland joins the Board of the Swiss Employers Confederation

ICTswitzerland, the umbrella organisation for the digital economy, has been accepted onto the Board and Executive Committee of the Swiss Employers Confederation. With approximately 210,000 employees in all business sectors and public administration, ICT is the sixth-largest profession in Switzerland. ICTswitzerland Vice-Chairman and National Councillor Franz Grüter will ensure the issues and expertise of the digital economy are represented in the debate on employer policy.More

ICT careers are being sold short – they offer more than just programming

There is an acute and increasing specialist shortage in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. At the same time, the percentage of women in this industry is still very low at 14.7% (2015). The ICT economy has not yet succeeded in tapping the potential of suitable female candidates. In light of this situation, a study conducted by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in cooperation with ICTswitzerland provides concrete recommendations on how to increase the profession’s accessibility and attractiveness.More

ICTswitzerland endorses the newly submitted Noser and Dobler motions

Enhancing Switzerland's attractiveness as a location for research and investment - The current Chairman of ICTswitzerland, Ruedi Noser, Member of the Council of States, and his designated successor, National Councillor Marcel Dobler, submitted two motions today. Ruedi Noser's motion calls for the introduction of a start-up visa for foreigners who want to found a business and work in Switzerland. Marcel Dobler urges that foreign Masters and PhD graduates of cantonal universities or the Federal Institutes of Technology, with skills and expertise that are in demand, should be given the opportunity to work in Switzerland without bureaucratic or other obstructions being put in their way. ICTswitzerland endorses both these motions. They seek to promote Switzerland's attractiveness as a location for research and investment and to make it possible to exploit the potential offered by highly qualified and skilled workers. More

Enhancing the employability of IT professionals

A new study of the Office of Economy and Labour (AWA) and ICTswitzerland shows that job-seeking IT professionals aged 45 and above are generally well qualified. It is possible that recruiting filters reduce their odds of finding a job as they get older. The IT profession lacks transparency because the language used to describe skills and requirements is not uniform. Concrete measures and recommendations aim to improve the employability of domestic IT professionals.More

Employability of Unemployed IT Professionals age 45 and above

The study of the Office of Economy and Labour (AWA) and ICTswitzerland shows that job-seeking IT professionals aged 45 and above are generally well qualified. It is possible that recruiting filters reduce their odds of finding a job as they get older. The IT profession lacks transparency because the language used to describe skills and requirements is not uniform. Concrete measures and recommendations aim to improve the employability of domestic IT professionals.More

Nachbericht Technologieoutlook und IT-Trends als Chance für Europa

[The following notice is only available in German] Das Future Network lud gemeinsam mit der Schweizer Informatik Gesellschaft, ICTswitzerland, der OCG, dem AIT, SCCH und CON*ECT Eventmanagement zum Technologieoutlook zum Thema «Digital Society and Economy 4.0» an der Universität Zürich ein. More

Studie «ICT-Fachkräftesituation | Bedarfsprognose 2022» aufgrund Revision der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung aktualisiert

Die Jahresergebnisse der vom Bundesamt für Statistik (BFS) veröffentlichten Volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung wurden am 30. September 2014 revidiert. Die Studie «ICT-Fachkräftesituation | Bedarfsprognose 2022» wurde entsprechend aktualisiert und integriert primär die Anpassungen hinsichtlich der revidierten Bruttowertschöpfung und des Bruttoinlandprodukts. More

The status quo of ICT specialists | Estimated demand between now and 2022

The number of employees in information and communication technology (ICT) has risen by 21’000 or 12% since 2011 to 197’600, according to a study by the vocational training association “ICT-Berufsbildung Schweiz”. However, despite considerable successes in education and training it has not been possible to produce enough domestic specialists to meet the rising demand.More

Saläre der ICT: Studie mit konkreten Löhnen 2014 erschienen

19 000 Nennungen von aktuellen Informatiker-Löhnen umfasst die unabhängige Studie «Saläre der ICT 2014» des Verbands swissICT. Bei stark nachgefragten Berufen wie Applikationsentwickler und ICT-System Ingenieur zeigt sich der konkrete Nutzen als Benchmark für Arbeitgeber und -nehmer am besten.More

21’000 new jobs in ICT since 2011

The number of employees in information and communication technology (ICT) has risen by 21’000 or 12% since 2011 to 197’600, according to a new study by the vocational training association “ICT-Berufsbildung Schweiz”. However, despite considerable successes in education and training it has not been possible to produce enough domestic specialists to meet the rising demand.More

Die ökonomische Bedeutung des Internets für die Schweiz

Die Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (ICT) ist eine Schlüsseltechnologie für die schweizerische Volkswirtschaft und das Internet ist eine äusserst wichtige Komponente der ICT. Da der ökonomische Effekt des Internets praktisch die ganze Volkswirtschaft betrifft, und nicht nur die eigentliche ICT-Branche bzw. nur Unternehmen mit ICT-Beschäftigten, ist eine Quantifizierung technisch anspruchsvoll. Die vorliegende Studie wurde im Auftrag von ICTswitzerland erstellt.More