Ocado is planning to open an IT base in Poland -because it can’t find enough IT whiz-kids in the UK.

The online grocer wants to build the technical centre in Krakow, Poland, where it already employs some staff.

It said it had been forced to look abroad by a major shortage of computer science graduates in the UK.

“Because we don’t have enough computer science graduates in the UK, we are looking to open a base in Poland, which produces 10 times the number of relevant graduates,” said Ocado CEO Tim Steiner.

Almost all the software that powers the Ocado business is developed in-house, which means the company relies on a big team of computer scientists.

As it increased the capacity of its existing warehouse in Hatfield and prepared to open another in Dordon, Warwickshire, next year, it was being held back by the limitations of IT resources, said Steiner.

“In our bid to continually make this business more efficient, I have projects ready to go that would give us a payback in one year, but I don’t have the resources to implement them,” he said.

Ocado has developed an “Ocado Technology” website specifically to recruit IT professionals. It promises candidates the chance to develop “software systems and algorithms to solve an array of complex problems with no off-the-shelf solution”.

The online grocer is currently advertising for 18 IT jobs online, including two at the Dordon site.