- A confidence gap, fueled by a real or perceived lack of skills, is the top factor discouraging jobseekers from pursuing careers in technology, according to a Wednesday CompTIA report. More than half of the 1,000 respondents said tech jobs are beyond their reach.
- Technology careers, including positions in IT support, cybersecurity, software and data analysis, remain a top-five choice for jobseekers, according to the survey, which CompTIA conducts biannually.
- Despite a spate of high-profile workforce cuts in the last several months, tech sector layoffs were a minor concern, cited by fewer than one-quarter of respondents. Only 29% reported seeing or hearing about layoffs.
The confidence gap identified in the report mirrors a skills gap many companies have yet to overcome.
Lack of confidence in potential tech converts is exacerbated by misperceptions, Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, said in an interview with CIO Dive.
“People view it as being the most expensive, taking the longest time and requiring a background they don’t have because they’ve been brainwashed into thinking they need STEM degrees to work in the tech industry,” Thibodeaux said.
Demand for tech talent outpaced supply throughout 2022, straining IT departments as they worked to keep up with modernization initiatives while maintaining existing enterprise systems.
Even as the economy slowed and the tech sector shed jobs, the unemployment rate for technologists remained stubbornly low, nearly two percentage points below the January national average of 3.4%.
The needle hasn’t moved much on job preferences either. Tech jobs were favored by 17% of respondents, down 3% year over year, but at the same level as in June, when CompTIA last surveyed jobseekers.
Compensation, work-life balance and remote flexibility were respondents’ top priorities when considering a job, unchanged from June. Location, inadequate pay and “red flags” with hiring managers were the most common reasons for turning down an offer.
Negative stereotypes of tech work culture declined, the report said. But misaligned concepts of what it means to work in technology have been harder to dislodge, according to Thibodeaux.
“The industry has done a tremendously poor job of marketing itself,” said Thibodeaux. “We have to do a better job in general of getting people who are career-intent to become tech-intent.”
CompTIA partnered with IBM to provide free tech support and help desk training to up to 2,000 people from underrepresented communities in the field, according to a Tuesday announcement.
The cost of training presents another major barrier to tech workforce entry, an IBM report published Tuesday found.
Three in 5 students and career changers worried about the expense of digital credentials, according to the report, which surveyed 14,000 respondents. Roughly the same number said they were not qualified for STEM jobs because they lacked the right academic degree.