Robots will not take jobs — if CIOs start preparing the workforce now
On the whole, emerging technologies are "unfolding gradually" with time for companies and workers to adapt, MIT Sloan affiliates said.
By: Katie Malone• Published April 13, 2021
Analysts and technologists overplayed long ago the idea automation will replace the human workforce, but MIT's future of work task force found some truth in need to prepare for emerging technology disruption.
MIT launched the future of work task force in 2018 in response to the idea that robots are taking away jobs, but found the technology shaping the future of work actually moves very slowly. CIOs and other business leaders have time to prepare, if they start investing in skills and adaptations now.
On the whole, emerging technologies are "unfolding gradually" with time for companies and workers to adapt, Elisabeth Reynolds, special assistant to the White House for manufacturing and economic development and executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center, said at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium on Tuesday.
Stories of emerging technologies overhauling industries exist, but cautionary tales of businesses warning it won't happen overnight have also emerged. "This gives us some hope and opportunity to adjust our policies to respond accordingly," Reynolds said.
Technology's impact on jobs today mostly stems from mature IT that was introduced decades ago, such as the internet and cloud computing.
"There is a huge difference between when the technology first comes out of the lab, and when it gets deployed at scale," Irving Wladawsky-Berger, visiting lecturer in information technology at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said at the event.
With AI, for example, establishing human-machine collaboration "takes a lot of research and experimentation, and that's probably why AI is taking its time being deployed at scale," Wladawsky-Berger said.
The technology that does cause disruption mostly works at the task level, not at the occupation level, according to Reynolds. People's jobs hold steady in the wake of emerging technologies, even though the tasks comprising the position may change.
Where technology does cause disruption, it happens disproportionately to certain groups. Automatable jobs held by nonwhite workers experienced 5.1 more losses per 100 jobs than jobs held by non-Hispanic, White workers, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Technology also tends to compliment higher educated workers and replace the tasks of less educated workers, according to Reynolds. Civic institutions will have to evolve to lead technologists to promote greater shared prosperity around the developments, Reynolds said.
How CIOs can respond
While large institutional guardrails around how industries implement tech unfold, CIOs at the enterprise level can take some responsibility in shaping how the tech impacts workers.
"Technological change is certainly replacing work, but it's also creating new work," Reynolds said. By 2030, Forrester analysts expect automation to eliminate 29% of jobs, while contributing 13% to job creation.
Automation has been introduced time and again over the last several decades, but the technology brings new opportunities to the fields instead of wholly replacing members of the workforce.
"At this point now it's about taking that new technology, investing in skills for workers and transforming going forward," Reynolds said.
Reynolds recommends building internships and apprenticeship programs geared at training students or workers early in their careers on emerging skills, rather than looking for certain credentials in new hires.
"There's nothing more important than workforce skills and actual work-based learning for helping that next generation get there," Reynolds said.
Article top image credit: Getty
Average IT salary reaches 6 figures. What's next for technology hiring?
The shift to remote work is spurring a "normalizing of compensation rates" across locations, Randstad research found.
Incoming employees can expect higher salaries in line with higher demand in 2021, as companies hire more IT workers across sectors.
With too many open IT jobs and not enough talent to fill them, demand for IT employees rises following the digital transformation spurred by the pandemic. Six-figure salaries have become the norm across experience levels and job titles and growth is on track to continue, according to Randstad's 2021 salary guide.
At the top of the list, businesses demand more cloud engineers, DevOps developers, front-end developers, machine learning engineers and security analysts — but they must be willing to pay to secure the talent, according to Randstad.
The average annual salary for DevOps developers is $137,830 and mid-level cloud developers can expect to make $135,191. It's a "pay-to-play hiring environment," Randstad wrote in the report, so businesses will have to budget to spend a considerable amount of cash to hire a high-quality IT department.
For cybersecurity positions, demand is even higher. Companies posted more than 166,000 jobs for security analysts in the last 12 months, and the field faces a 28% growth forecast over the next decade, according to Randstad.
"The demand for IT pros with skills in cloud and cybersecurity have been high for years," said Zane Schweer, who leads the Global Knowledge's Skills and Salary report. "The pandemic has heightened it, but this is not new."
As a measure of demand for IT skills, cloud and cybersecurity made up two of the highest-paying certifications in Global Knowledge's 2020 report. Data is still being compiled for the organization's 2021 report, but as IT architecture has become more complicated, "salaries should continue to trend in the positive direction" and innovators will be positioned to receive top salaries, said Schweer.
Very few positions listed in Randstad's 2021 salary guide for technology jobs fell below a $100,000 salary. Some of the lowest-earning IT positions listed included help desk support technicians, project managers and instructional designers.
Top 5 lowest mid-level IT salaries
Desktop/help desk support technician
Network engineer (Cisco or Juniper)
Manual QA tester
Automated QA tester
SOURCE: Randstad 2021 Salary Guide
The shift to remote work is also spurring a "normalizing of compensation rates" across locations, according to Christine Trykoski, recruitment director of Randstad Technologies. Employees no longer have to move to high cost of living places to perform well-paying IT roles. While some may take a paycut, Trykoski expects a 2% pay increase across the board.
IT leverages demand for better benefits
At-large, the demand for IT professionals is driving more than just salary increases. Because employers need the help, employees ask for other benefits beyond pay.
"Flexibility has been one of the absolute No. 1 things we've seen," Trykoski said of what employees are looking for this year. Flexibility could mean remote work even after the pandemic or a better understanding of non-business employee obligations, such as caring for loved ones.
"Around one in five working age adults said that they were not working because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements and while keeping parents in the workforce will be key for our economic recovery, only 32% of organizations returning to work has a childcare plan," Karen Fichuk, CEO, Randstad North America, said in a Jan. 13 webinar covered by HR Dive.
These benefits show manager engagement and how much a business cares about its employees, a trait top talent is seeking out, according to Trykoski.
But for the sake of their career development, IT professionals also look for jobs with opportunities for growth. Opportunities for growth and development was the top factor for changing employment in Global Knowledge's survey of 9,505 professionals.
"IT pros want to see a future in their job," said Schweer. "There was a time when formal training had a stigma to it but it's now a serious job perk, especially in IT."
Plus, it's often cheaper to upskill the in-house workforce rather than pay a premium to hire top talent from the outside, according to Schweer. Over one-third (37%) of respondents to the Global Knowledge survey listed inability to pay what candidates demand as a reason for skills gaps.
For the benefit of IT professionals and businesses, it's about "creating that environment where IT pros can be as great as they want to be," Schweer said.
Interns are the next wave of IT workers — here's how to better manage them
IT battles an expanding workforce shortage. Can skill-building programs build a more diverse talent pipeline?
By: Katie Malone• Published Jan. 15, 2021
Madison Brown scored her summer internship with GDIT through a moment of opportunity.
While attending a resume workshop, Brown caught a recruiter's attention, networked, applied and landed among a virtual cohort of 115 interns across the company. A junior studying technical writing at Louisiana Tech University, Brown won GDIT's Intern Leadership award for her job performance.
Her takeaway? "Go out and talk to people, even if you don't think you need it," Brown told CIO Dive. "Even if you walk away with one thing you didn't know: It was worth it."
As IT faces a growing skills shortage, organizations across all industries offer technical internships to enrich the next generation with job experience — even in a remote world. But for successful retention of potential candidates, responsibility falls on IT leadership to create a meaningful experience with long-lasting investments in upskilling folks from all backgrounds.
For example, Harvard Business School releases career and internship statistics about its Master of Business Administration students each year. Of the 930 class of 2020 students profiled, 20% landed internships in technology and 19% turned that into a technology career.
In uncertain times, starting with an element of human connection can go a long way for students graduating into a recession and businesses seeking top talent. Networking with leadership and trusting interns to apply their skills to on-the-job tasks builds the two-way street of communication and development.
And IT departments need the help. Facing a skills shortage, interns and apprentices are a moldable tool that, with dedicated leadership in place, fill the next generation of IT departments.
Upskilling interns to meet the gaps
Jobs in the tech sector has fared relatively well despite pandemic troubles, expanding IT hiring across sectors by 391,000 positions in December, according to a CompTIA report. Yet, the talent pipeline can't work fast enough to fill them.
As a field, "we're just not really that good at creating pipelines of talent," said Art Langer, chairman and founder of Workforce Opportunity Services and faculty member at Columbia University. "We're more used to people going out and getting that experience and talent and education on their own."
That's not sustainable, especially if businesses want to retain a more diverse workforce. Individuals without a college education, from non-technical backgrounds, or committed to caring for a family member bring valuable skills to the workplace but could be ignored by recruiters failing to look past the technical.
A diversity of people brings new perspectives. Companies realize the most success with emerging technologies such as AI when departments build interdisciplinary teams to deploy projects. "Don't be surprised how quickly people can come up to proficiency, particularly talented people," said Langer.
Internships, apprenticeships and other training programs fill in knowledge gaps and prepare a new influx of the workforce for IT roles. Plus, businesses can shape an intern's existing skills to fit company needs.
"Building talent for a job role is a good investment because you can build in what you want from it," said Amy Kardel, VP of strategic workforce relationships at CompTIA.
What makes a good manager?
While interns can be a tool to fill in a company's missing skills, effective managerial leadership molds new minds to take on the challenge.
"There are always going to be some skills gaps in IT because our industry grows so rapidly," said Desiree DePriest, faculty and CIO at the Purdue Global Internship Program. But "there are many skill gaps that can be filled."
It falls on leadership to understand what skills are needed now and build them into an internship program. Instead of sitting in the corner office to observe, leadership must take an active role for the program to be successful, according to DePriest.
Analysts also urge IT leadership to lean into human moments as offices continue navigating remote work and the pandemic. Watercooler chat may look different digitally, but it's still valuable for interns to feel included.
"We have to be very, very careful with ensuring that we leave room for mistakes," said Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO at NPower. "If failure is not allowed, you're gonna miss out on innovation."
By setting clear expectations and goals, including room to make mistakes, a multitude of ideas and perspectives flow, according to Ceccarelli.
Humanity, communication, clear expectations and a hands-on environment boosted Brown's internship success at GDIT. "They wanted to hear what we had to say. It was never just to sit in," Brown said.
Interns and apprentices can't read a manager's mind. Opportunities to connect with members of leadership, space for professional development and checklists outlining expectations act as tools to engage those new to the workforce.
But, Brown added, "You don't have to always be talking about work." Interns seek leadership acting as mentors to guide their career development and learn life skills, such as office etiquette.
Kardel recommends hiring a cohort of interns or apprentices because it "creates an opportunity for them to communicate among themselves and share a common experience and learn from each other and learn together."
Including interns and apprentices in workplace events, providing perspective on how their roles fit with the company and sharing stories about leaderships' career journeys help foster connections throughout the company, according to Kardel.
"I've never fired anybody for a hard skill, a technical skill," Kardel said. "It's always been a professional skill that was lacking."
An IT talent pipeline emerges in candidates without college degrees
With the rise of certifications and apprenticeships, success in IT without a college degree is on the rise.
By: Katie Malone• Published Jan. 28, 2021
Skimming through a list of IT job openings at all levels, most if not all include a bachelor's degree or higher in related fields. For CIOs, Rivier University even recommends a graduate degree, such as an MBA with a concentration in IT management, to get the executive-level job.
"Degrees play an important role but when we have a critical skill shortage, they shouldn't be the end-all-be-all — especially when there's technology that isn't covered in school," said Zane Schweer, who leads the Global Knowledge's Skills and Salary report.
Companies such as Google, Apple and IBM hire for technical roles without requiring a diploma, according to a Glassdoor analysis.The Trump administration issued an executive order prioritizing skills over college degrees for new hires for federal jobs in IT.
Earning a degree is still a positive for many candidates. A bachelor's degree in IT can increase a candidate's chances of being hired, the pool of jobs to pick from and prospective salaries, according to City University of Seattle. But the cost and commitment of attending a university remains out of reach for many Americans.
While the cost of college tuition fell during the 2020-2021 academic year, the average tuition and fees at an in-state public college totaled $9,687 for the year and $35,087 at a private college, according to U.S. News and World Report.
"Even [in] entry-level IT support positions, it's hard to find qualified talent who are willing to commit and be exceptional workers," said Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO at NPower. Looking at just college graduates limits the pool even more, and overlooks the importance of soft skills in those who didn't go to college.
For example, "if you can stretch your budgets to manage your expenses and you have been working two part-time jobs, you have a motivation and an energy and an instinct that is well-suited to some of the urgent, and sometimes crisis, problem-solving required within tech departments," Ceccarelli said.
Skills beyond the technical diploma
After the COVID-19 pandemic, a wider swath of the workforce with little or no IT experience have been left unemployed.
The economic disruption displaces hospitality or service workers with professional skills the field needs to seek out new opportunities and they can be upskilled to learn the technical, according to Amy Kardel, VP of strategic workforce relationships at CompTIA.
Plus, "it doesn't necessarily require a degree to do these jobs," said Kardel. "And people shouldn't have to stop with their lives and go for a four-year degree if they want to reskill, they should be able to jump into a training program that lets them be part of a company."
Businesses and IT departments looking to tap into a workforce pipeline outside of college degrees can look into workplace training programs, such as internships, to upskill and test out potential employees. Certification programs, too, can help fill in the missing technical qualifications.
"If you're not already, continue to prioritize skills, and what people can do when you're looking for candidates," Schweer said. "It's less focused on that degree, it's time to start to permeate what we call 'degree deflation' into the technical hiring field."
Global Knowledge defines degree deflation as a conscientious effort to attract candidates that do not hold a four-year degree to positions where skills can be demonstrated in other ways.
"Be very conscious about what you're actually requiring for the job position, and be really critical" about whether a job position actually requires a college degree, said Ceccarelli. "Because when you look at a number of tech type of positions, oftentimes the answer is no, and that college degree is a proxy for cultural fit."
Of those surveyed, 44% said workplace technology either does nothing to make them feel happy in their job or makes their work harder. One-third of employees say their company's technology doesn't help or makes it harder to serve internal or external customers.
Failing to engage employees at all stages of technology decisions and deployment "can create more problems than it solves," said Melissa Jezior, president and CEO at Eagle Hill Consulting, in a release.
One year and change into the global remote work experiment, leaders still haven't entirely solved the technology challenges associated with their new operating model.
Tech executives risk negative impacts on productivity, morale, work quality and workforce retention when technology doesn't fit the bill – all key drivers of business outcomes, according to said Jezior.
Tech tools also act as a determinant of workplace engagement, especially among IT professionals. Easy access to information, satisfaction with collaboration technology, and technology security policies boost employee engagement.
Workers who were in the top 20% of Forrester's employee experience (EX) index — a metric used to assess how engaged employees are — were more likely to be satisfied with their technology environment, signaling a connection between a company's technology deployment and employee satisfaction.
But simply spinning up leading technology products throughout the organization does not always lead to the desired outcomes, according to Jezior. To get the highest return from tech investments, businesses need employee input.
"Technology change should focus on responding to employee needs and shifting ingrained worker behaviors to deliver more value, and that’s where organizations often fall short," said Jezior.
Employee insight into tech deployment can help reduce tech tool burnout. Zoom fatigue became a catchphrase during the pandemic as employees navigate the digital iterations of their jobs. The novelty of messaging platforms also began to erode, leading vendors to iterate on functionalities.
Through tech tool deployment, the CIO also plays a role in shaping company culture and operations. Organizations can't enable data-driven operations without the set of tools that can enable such a culture, making the CIO a de-facto influencer.
Article top image credit: thanyakij, bongkarn. (2019). Retrieved from Pexels.
Skip the programs, focus on culture: IT leaders navigate inclusion at work
There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Instead, it's usually tailored to the business mission and workforce.
By: Katie Malone• Published May 14, 2021
Technology has a diversity problem.
Sure, big tech companies make headlines for lack of minority representation in their workforces, but internal IT departments are struggling, too.
While advocacy for diversity is bubbling up across technology departments, implementing tangible change is proving more difficult. Fostering inclusivity, implementing programs for employees, changing the culture and adequately funding the efforts are starting points for diversity and equity in the IT workforce.
Systemic barriers to jobs in technology are to blame for some of the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in technology. But still, the onus falls on IT leadership and the companies they work for to create a culture and environment where all employees feel welcomed and accommodated.
Beyond the arguments on the importance of representation, centering diversity, inclusion and equity in the workplace fosters innovation and increases opportunities.
"When you are in a space where there is psychological safety and you're allowed to be yourself 100%, there is an increase in productivity, there is an increase in new ideas that come up, because people are not afraid of speaking up and in collaboration people feel more comfortable with one another," Elaine Montilla, CIO for IT at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and founder of 5xminority, said.
Inclusivity is a culture, not a program
There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to fostering inclusivity in the workplace. Instead, effective strategies tailor it to the business mission and workforce.
"Diversity isn't something you 'do,'" Laura Thiele, chief people officer at Optimizely, said in an email to CIO Dive. "It is more around the culture of the organization."
Maintaining diversity, equity and inclusion efforts "has to relate to what the culture is, what the needs of the business are, and how people can achieve these business objectives through ensuring people are engaged to meet these objectives," Thiele said.
What every company can do, however, is integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into the day-to-day processes and culture — instead of tacking on programs or initiatives that risk fading.
It needs to be "programmatically embedded" into the organization, Kristi Lamar, managing director and U.S. leader for women in technology at Deloitte, said. "The aspiration should be that this is the way that we are."
Initiatives garner excitement early on with energy behind it, but it's common for people to lose interest once it's no longer the shiny new thing, according to Lamar. Instead, equity and inclusion should be embedded into the day-to-day operations of the company.
It should become "muscle memory," Lamar said.
Supporting the employee's unique circumstances, creating a culture where they can bring their authentic selves to work and checking in frequently to make sure their needs are met as an employee are all continuous efforts throughout the individual's tenure, according to Montilla.
Inclusivity on the IT team can create a better end product, too. "We have IT making decisions, where IT doesn't really fully understand what's happening on the other side after the product goes live," Montilla said.
The diversity of the IT department and environment where all feel included create a feedback loop where IT can do their jobs better. Companies could implement this by incorporating employees from outside business units into IT processes.
Leadership can show that it's a priority, but "everybody in IT as a department … also needs to live and breathe it," Lamar said. "The CIO might carry the flag, everyone else needs to be on board and have the mission and the passion behind it as well."
Inclusive leaders boost problem-solving, work engagement, intent to stay and the overall work environment, Charlotte Streat, VP Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Liberty Mutual Insurance, said via email.
At Liberty Mutual, unconscious bias awareness, programs centered on allyship, resources on discussing race and ethnicity at work, and other efforts are all part of the company's diversity, equity and inclusion culture, according to Streat.
If a company does want to take the project or initiative approach to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, make sure it has "clear set expectations and they are financially supported," Montilla said. And don't just tack on a diversity, equity and inclusion-related title and responsibilities to a full-time employee without making sure they report to the top, there's no conflict of interest, and they are compensated for that work.
How CIOs can lead the charge toward inclusivity
It's no small task for CIOs to reshape existing culture and change the status quos, but even a gesture as simple as speaking up can signal to employees that inclusivity is a departmentwide priority.
Leaders can start by evaluating the day-to-day actions hindering diversity, equity and inclusion and make iterative improvements, according to Thiele. At Optimizely, a welcome email to new hires used his/her pronouns when a senior leader recognized that it wasn't inclusive.
"This may seem like a small topic to adjust. But for the person who receives an email that doesn't have correct pronoun usage, it isn't small," Thiele said. So, the company changed the language to be more inclusive.
Tech leaders inclined toward data, can integrate it into accomplishing tangible change and show metrics around inclusivity.
Show the department a breakdown of diversity in the workforce and demonstrate a self awareness of how inclusion efforts are being incorporated into the culture, Lamar said.
Montilla requests data from the HR department on staff salaries in the IT department to root out any discrepancies. It holds the leadership accountable to ask why one employee may be making less than the other to ensure those reasons are valid and not based on unconscious bias.
If an employee did something praise worthy, the praise is given in front of the group to show that this worker is valuable and deserves to be here, Montilla said. On the flip side, if a mistake is made it is addressed in private.
Some mistakes may need to be addressed in the moment — like if unconscious bias shows in a meeting when a marginalized group is given space in a meeting to speak — but "the first conversation, I will have it in private and say, "I noticed that this happened, are you aware of it?'" Montilla said. This brings unconscious bias to the forefront.
Sometimes, Montilla will even keep track of who's saying what in a meeting to make sure everyone has a fair chance to speak. At the end, Montilla checks the list to personally call out employees that may not have had the chance to contribute and give them the opportunity to comment.
Giving every employee a shot to participate also applies to project assignments. Managers will often go back to the same team members because they have a track record of doing a good job, leaving some individuals out of the loop, according to Montilla.
"You leave other team members out and they don't get the opportunity to learn, because you have someone who's already faster and you want to make sure that the project gets done successfully," Montilla said. Give those employees the chance to learn and grow."
As leaders, these mistakes are fixable. Admit when bias gets in the way or a mistake was made, be vulnerable with the employees about it and then course correct, Montilla said.
Forty-one percent of organizations will have a new emphasis on communication and emerging technology skills for remote work and 42% expect new efforts to upskill and reskill current employees. CompTIA surveyed 400 HR and workforce learning professionals.
CompTIA predicts a wave of burgeoning skills gaps in the coming years. Emerging infrastructure and hardware, advances in AI and data, digital transformation, people skills for an internet context and prioritization of employee well-being will drive the gaps.
The skills gap of the future is two-pronged; organizations seek IT staff to fill the need for interpersonal and technical skills. Over three quarters (79%) of organizations are pursuing initiatives to address gaps amid a tightening market for IT labor.
"The global pandemic accelerated efforts to rethink approaches to developing and supporting our workforces," Nancy Hammervik, CEO of CompTIA Tech Career Academy, said in a statement. "The dual need to create more resiliency and future-proofing of skills, with the critical need to expand and diversify the pipeline of digital-ready workers, is a resounding mandate for change."
Flexibility and adaptability are the top soft skills business and tech executives look for in new hires, according to a past CompTIA survey. Hiring candidates from non-traditional backgrounds is one way CIOs and IT managers can find these skills.
Candidates without college degrees frequently bring a diverse set of skills to the IT workforce, and can be upskilled to learn the technical. Across IT positions, the majority of HR professionals surveyed by CompTIA would possibly or likely consider candidates without a four-year degree.
"If you can stretch your budgets to manage your expenses and you have been working two part-time jobs, you have a motivation and an energy and an instinct that is well-suited to some of the urgent, and sometimes crisis, problem-solving required within tech departments," Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO at NPower, told CIO Dive earlier this year.
Hiring is only the first step toward filling the skills gap for companies. Once the candidate accepts an offer, the business has to create an experience that makes top talent want to stay. Talent development programs can help keep employees' skills fresh while furthering their careers to help with retention.
"People are at different points in time with their career, but if you're not making sure that they're maximizing their potential and … not effectively giving them the opportunities you should, you're probably going to have retention issues and you're also not going to get as much value out of the talent," said Claus Torp Jensen, chief digital officer and head of technology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, speaking at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium on Wednesday.
Article top image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty via Getty Images
Software demand grows as employers make their case for talent
By: Roberto Torres• Published April 1, 2021
The software industry workforce is projected to grow more than 5% in 2021, according to Cyberstates 2021 report, published Wednesday by IT trade group CompTIA. The projected growth in the software space, including software as a service (SaaS) applications, sits atop all other technology categories. By comparison, companies in spaces such as tech manufacturing or telecommunications and internet services will grow workforces by 1% to 2%.
In terms of specific technology occupations, CompTIA expects hiring activity will be "especially strong" in cybersecurity and data science and analytics, which are each expected to grow 4.4%. Software development hiring is expected to grow 3.7%. The base of infrastructure-related IT workforce will amount to almost 1.4 million workers by year's end.
Analysis of employer job posting data shows that "software continues to be the most in-demand job category, but also, skill," said Tim Herbert, EVP for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.
All across industries, companies put time, effort and resources into filling tech roles. It can take 61 days on average to fill a high-demand tech role, compared to 42 days for a non-tech role.
In the software space, competition over talent is fierce. A SaaS business will need to go up against its peers across technology, but also "other industry sectors, whether it's in the financial sector or healthcare or education, that are also moving to invest in their own internal software capabilities," Herbert said.
In February, the unemployment rate for tech occupations reached 2.4%, which indicates a return of employer demand routinely exceeding the supply of labor in certain regions and tech job roles, according to the report.
"It will be, I'm sure, a very tight labor market in the year ahead for the software category," said Herbert. "We're generalizing here but there's a lot of underlying components to software … it really encompasses a lot of different skills."
Simply attracting talent isn't the problem organizations face, said Jeff Frey, VP of Innovation at Talent Path.
"All the employers I talk to are getting lots of resumes," said Frey, whose company connects early career technology talent with employers. "They just are getting resumes of people that aren't qualified for the position."
Businesses that aren't currently leading in the technology space can gain ground by telling potential candidates "we're looking forward to using the latest technology and you could be a component of that," said Frey.
Employers can take a three-step approach to attracting the right talent, according toScott Bonneau, VP of global talent attraction at Indeed:
Clearly define talent needs: "This sounds easy but can actually be tricky," said Bonneau in an email. "Do you think you need specific industry experience? Or new college grads? Define your target candidate group, and then focus all your attention there."
Know your value proposition: Companies need to explain what sets them apart from competitors, and ensure candidates experience that uniqueness throughout the process.
Expand hiring sources: "There are lots of great sources that often go overlooked, like coding bootcamps that may have candidates with non-traditional backgrounds and huge amounts of potential," said Bonneau.
Businesses stand to gain by hiring from the lens of potential, evaluating whether a candidate who might not currently meet qualifications can evolve, bridging the gap between employee expectations and the education system, according to Frey.