The workforce on a global level continues to evolve, and the United States has been no different. For job seekers, these changes should help them align their actions toward the acquisition of skills that matter the most. For employers, keeping track of these changes helps them prepare for the future.
No job market is changing more rapidly than that of tech jobs. With technology life cycles shortening and enterprise technology proliferation surging, the demand for IT talent is at an all-time high, and the trend is likely to continue with added vigor for the next five years. It is too bad America’s immigration code does not allow for more talented people with valuable tech skills to be able to enter this country and to remain here after they secure an advanced degree from a U.S. college. Hopefully, this is something President Donald Trump and the Congress deals with very soon.
Silicon Valley, Chicago, and New York have been the traditional hotbeds for tech talent. However, in the past few years, other U.S. cities have bridged the gap and expanded the talent market. Of course, this is just one of the changes that chief information officers of enterprises need to be mindful of. Let’s know more about these workforce changes, what they mean for enterprise IT departments, and how CIOs can prepare their companies better.
Changes happening in the U.S. workforce
The traditional channels of IT talent for U.S. employers are:
- U.S. university programs of computer sciences (or equivalent programs).
- Foreign students with degrees in computer sciences.
Because demand is outpacing supply, and because of the changing sentiment around granting work visas to foreign nationals, these channels are not sufficient anymore. By 2022, the gaps will be so prominent that IT hiring will become one of the major headaches for CIOs as has been mentioned already.
This makes it ultra-important for CIOs as well as human resources bosses to acknowledge the changes in the U.S. workforces across enterprises. Understanding these changes will help CIOs and HR pros prepare well, and proactively hire sufficient IT talent. Too bad there was not too much talent when making “Jurassic World,” but that is another topic!
Changing composition of workforce
The U.S. workforce’s composition is changing. Here are a couple of facts to help drive home the point.
Dev Bootcamp, a U.S. company offering industry relevant IT education, has already witnessed this spread in its students. Cody Leclaire, executive director of a careers division in his firm, estimates a future 30 percent women student force, higher than the current 16 percent representation of women in the tech workforce.
And Amazon recently announced the launch of a training program aimed at helping veterans join the company’s workforce. By 2022, Amazon expects to employ 25,000 veterans and veteran spouses. Not a bad deal!
These developments are clear indicators of the changing composition of the workforce. CIOs would do well to stay ahead of these changes, and help mold their company’s hiring practices to tap the potential of these newer segments. The best ones are doing that already. The competition for these employees is intense, and every organization must work hard so they do not get too far behind with tech talent on their payroll.
Looking beyond educational qualifications
As per U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, there will be 1.3 million new jobs generated by the tech industry by 2022. Only 2 percent of the jobs will necessitate the candidates having an advanced degree.
In contrast, candidates with just an associate degree or even just some college experience will be considered to be qualified applicants for 23 percent of the jobs. Today, most IT jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. However, going forward, CIOs would ideally want to strategize with HR decision makers and make the hiring criteria more flexible, at least for entry level IT jobs.
In-house apprenticeship programs
Enterprises are looking to develop in-house apprenticeship programs to help entry-level IT staff and junior hires evolve in a highly contextualized environment. Not only does this help enterprises put a tab on turnover rates, but it also makes the company more appealing for talented job seekers.
Everest Group, a management consultancy, is the perfect example. The firm has created internal boot camps and firm on-boarding and transitioning pipelines to enable, train, and empower new and existing IT staff. This has helped the company overcome high attrition rates.
Impact of an overhaul to visa rules
Earlier this year, one of the hottest topics around the cyber-sphere was the proposed overhaul of U.S. work visa allocation. The impact was immediate, with stock prices of major Indian multinational IT service companies dropping by 5 percent. Among the major proposed changes is the increase in the minimum annual wage requirement for foreign nationals to be eligible for an H-1B work visa. Most tech companies oppose this potential change and are working with the Trump administration to find compromises.
If enacted, this could completely change the hiring model for many U.S. companies that rely on IT talent from India and China. The potential void this can create has to be filled by local IT talent. The ramifications of this for CIOs are numerous. Lack of sufficient local IT talent, significant increase in potential salaries, and possible revisions of multimillion dollar outsourcing contracts are just a few.
Recently, some U.S. universities have observed a 40 percent decline in the number of applications from foreign students since Trump came to power.
Geographical spread of the IT workforce
As has been mentioned earlier briefly, the traditional hotbeds of IT talent are being challenged by other cities now. Dallas, Phoenix, Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis, Austin, and Atlanta have surfaced as fertile grounds for IT talent. Also, Utah is offering unprecedented low taxes and leisure options (hence, attracting startups), hoping to make Salt Lake City and its peripheries the equivalent of Silicon Valley for the next wave of tech startups. (Some call it Silicon Slopes!)
This has not only created a geographic diversity in the IT workforce across the nation, but has also got CIOs thinking in terms of setting development centers and IT support centers in these parts.
With so many challenges, opportunities, and political realities changing the dynamics of the U.S. work force, CIOs have their job cut out for them to ensure their enterprise’s IT staffing needs are met.
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