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Skills shortage threatens industry – report

14 December 2006

Manufacturing and development capacity remain the single biggest factors limiting growth in the broadcast equipment supply market, according to the quarterly IABM Industry Trends research. Supplier confidence is high and there are strong order books – but lack of capacity, coupled with continuing lack of available skilled staff, are holding the industry back, writes Fergal Ringrose.

“Demand for specialist staff in a growing market coupled with changing technology is creating a skills bottleneck. The IABM is working with its members and others to address personnel requirements,” said IAM Chief Executive Roger Crumpton.

Fifty per cent of respondents reported increasing levels of confidence for the next three months compared with only eleven per cent who had less confidence. Thirty six per cent stated better or much better than expected order volumes, up seven per cent from the previous quarter. Forty two per cent of respondents expect employee numbers to grow over the next quarter and fifty one per cent expect them to remain unchanged.

R&D expenditure is expected to increase over the next 12 months by 50% of participants, compared to only 7% who indicated it would fall.

The quarterly analysis also indicated that Middle Eastern broadcast markets are growing in importance iand are now the third most active regional market, behind Europe and North America. This is up from fifth place in the first quarter survey overtaking Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe.

IABM Chief Executive Roger Crumpton has just returned from Dubai and said: “Al Jazeera English was launched last month with its HQ in Qatar; Dubai Media City is home to Reuters, the BBC and CNN; and with the Asian Games in Doha this month – itself the biggest sporting event after the Olympics – the Middle East is becoming a base for many international broadcasters and showing amazing growth. Technology suppliers should not miss the opportunity to participate in the increased activity.

“The industry worldwide is bristling with activity; broadcasters are demanding more content and need the facilities to generate it quickly, efficiently and skilfully.”

The quarterly trends analysis is compiled by Ernst & Young analysts on behalf of the IABM, the body that represents broadcast and media technology suppliers worldwide. Almost 70 suppliers from around the world participate in the survey.

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