Have rumors of the tech skills gap been greatly exaggerated?
- Claims of a widespread tech skills gap are untrue, according to a new study published by Forrester. According to the authors of Debunking The US Tech Talent Shortage: Creative CIOs Will Find Or Develop The Tech Talent They Need, the tech skills gap is found in certain geographic areas, but isn’t massive as generally reported.
- The study found that: (1) colleges are graduating more tech majors than firms can hire; (2) the tech labor market is flooded with self-taught talent; (3) CIOs compete for talent in niche areas like security and data science; and (4) firms outside of Silicon Valley and other tech hotspots struggle for talent.
- The study notes, however, that pay increases for tech talent have been modest, averaging between 1% and 2% in some cases — in other words, at the same pace as other sectors.
News of a massive tech skills gap has dominated the corporate narrative for some time. Just this week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak announced "Woz U", an online (but eventually brick-and-mortar) school that views training as central to filling tech positions with highly skilled workers.
Some tech firms facing talent shortages have partnered with schools to train students in the skills employers' need — something that 71% of the respondents to a recent survey said is the best resolution to the skills gap.
Tech companies with a commitment to current staff are also focusing on employee training to meet talent needs. Upskilling existing employees can involve classroom study, workshops and personal coaches. But according to a Randstad USA poll, only a third of employers have offered upskilling opportunities, presenting a clear opportunity.
Perhaps more action is needed. But, if the Forrester study is correct, perhaps it's only needed in certain regions, and instead, employers need to widen their talent net to include sources beyond the traditional. In other words, employers may just need to get more creative to meet talent wherever it may be.