Why There’s a Tech Talent Gap

By Paula Bernier

There’s a whole lot of talk lately about the so-called tech talent gap.

The problem is that there’s a major shortage of people with the right technical skillsets.

This talent gap has developed due to at least four factors:

  • Digital transformation, which is touching virtually every business and business vertical, means most organizations today are competing for technical talent.
  • Technology moves so quickly that people need to continually develop new skillsets.
  • Many colleges and universities are not moving at the speed of industry, which means they’re often far behind in the race to equip graduates with the right skills for today’s jobs.
  • Often we don’t even know what skillsets are needed because digital transformation efforts, and disciplines like cyber security and the Internet of Things, are so new.

Estimates suggest that there are now 1 million cyber security jobs worldwide that need filling. And forecasts indicate that will balloon to 1.5 million by 2019. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for cyber security analysts to grow by 18 percent between 2014 and 2024, making it the fastest growing job role in the U.S. workforce.

“Based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,900 cyber security professionals, the 2017 cyber security trends report reveals that organizations are struggling with a worsening cyber skill shortage while facing rising threat levels,” says Holger Schulze, founder of the Information Security Community on LinkedIn.

Of course, one of the things we can do to help fill that gap is to create a larger pool of candidates to train. That includes women and minorities who are under represented in the tech space. And that’s already happening through various programs throughout the tech industry as well as in other verticals. (We should reiterate that because every business has become, or should become, a digital business, everybody needs more people with technical skills. And even positions like marketing that used to be considered non-technical now increasingly rely on using online tools and doing data analysis.)

So the fact that there’s a talent gap is the down side of this story. But there’s an upside too.

One positive aspect of all this is that businesses are becoming more efficient and there’s more opportunity for people to get more enriching and better paying jobs if they are willing to get the right training to at least get started.

And despite the competition for technical types, some companies have been particularly effective at attracting needed talent. A recent article by CIO for IDG notes GE is one such company. The article says that 125-year-old company has been able to lure tech executives from such top-drawer companies as Apple, Google, and Microsoft.  For example, GE’s Chief Digital Officer Steve Martin is a veteran of Microsoft, where he helped the software giant build its Azure cloud business.

Indeed, GE has been very effective not only in positioning itself as a leader in the digital revolution, but also in communicating that to the rest of the world. Whenever I do an interview about the Internet of Things, GE is likely to come up as a pioneer in this space. And I’m sure you’re seen the TV spots in which GE talks about what it will make possible in business and how young technically savvy people are joining the company.

TMC welcomes your company to tell its own stories through the TMCnet Workplace Excellence Award. There’s still time to get in your applications for the Tech Diversity Awards and the Social Responsibilities Awards. Visit this site for more details: http://techculture.tmcnet.com/.

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