- U.S. employers began 2021 seeking more talent in emerging technologies, with job posts in this area rising from 57,500 in December to almost 65,900 in January, according to a CompTIA review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
- Emerging technologies job posts comprise 28% of all new IT posts. Within that category, 9,715 were positions in AI, which represents roughly 15% of the overall demand in the category.
- January signaled continued improvement in IT hiring, as U.S. tech sector employers added 19,500 jobs to payrolls. Across industries, companies added 78,000 positions in IT.
In the most recent jobs report, the technology sector and IT roles represent a sliver of promise. Though overall unemployment dipped to 6.3%, and the economy added jobs from last month, the results still trail pre-pandemic levels. Nationally, the unemployment rate for IT occupations was 2.4% in January.
The shift in how companies operate — from the "work anywhere" strategy to new business models — put higher demand on tech talent, especially in technologies that can act as differentiators.
Augmented reality and virtual reality applications have a role to play in the transition to a hybrid model, said Dave Padmos, Americas industry leader, technology, media and entertainment, telecommunications at EY.
"We're at the very beginning of that journey and what technology can do to enable this remote interaction, and make that experience better more real life," said Padmos.
An increasingly spread-out organization will also generate more data points, requiring a bigger team of data scientists and AI talent to produce quality analytics from this bigger volume of data, according to Padmos.
Tech talent demand is impacting how companies approach the candidate hunt, bringing creativity to the forefront as businesses turn to attention hacking and creative test kits as a sub for technical interviews.
But hybrid work flexibility also opens up a need for leaders to focus on talent retention and upskilling, the inward-facing components of an efficient talent strategy.
The sudden ability to work from anywhere, and for any company, "gives your employee population a lot more opportunity to move," said Padmos, which means leaders must think "about retention and how you're retaining that talent that you've now developed, or redeveloped."
Businesses turning to the external market for AI talent will need to be patient. Companies take 61 days on average to fill a high demand tech role, compared to just 42 days for a non-tech role, according to a report from iCIMS.