Three in four technology companies (75%) face difficulty finding candidates with the right skills and abilities today, according to the annual Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Future of Work Study. For the first time, the annual study – which surveyed 240 industry leaders on tech workforce trends – also explores how the tech sector is embracing diversity and inclusion and adapting amid the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study finds four in five (80%) employers will need more employees with technical skills. Employers say the most in-demand technical skills at their company are data analytics (57%), software development (56%) and project management (56%). However, companies are also looking beyond technical skills to soft skills. The top soft skills employers look for are communication (85%), problem-solving (83%) and critical thinking (83%).
To find and recruit skilled candidates, almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) say they will hire employees who meet their skill requirements regardless of education level. Almost one-quarter (24%) will hire more from train-to-hire programs such as apprenticeships.
“As it becomes more difficult to find candidates with the right skills and competition for qualified candidates heats up, companies will need to expand their recruitment pipelines and offer more training for employees to help close the skills gap,” said Jacqueline Black, director of strategic alliances, U.S. Jobs, CTA. “Companies may also look to apprenticeship programs as a proven way to fill vacant positions and prepare workers with in-demand technical skills.”
Tech Companies Embrace Diversity
Almost nine in 10 tech companies (86%) have at least one current or planned diversity and inclusion initiative at their organization. Forty-three percent of companies will devote staff and resources to hiring more employees from underrepresented backgrounds and communities within the next five years.
“The trends we see reinforce the tech industry’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce by supporting greater career access and mobility for underrepresented groups,” said Tiffany Moore, senior vice president of political and industry affairs, CTA. “Diverse teams are known to be more innovative and effective. The future of American innovation lies with its diverse workforce.”
Tech Workforce Perks, Benefits Change Due to COVID-19
Due to the pandemic, nearly one-third (31%) of companies cut back recreational/social activities and one-quarter removed access to free food and drinks for their tech workforce. During the pandemic, two in five (40%) companies allow for designated telework days and 27% offer stipends for work from home equipment.
Remote Work Key to Hiring, Retaining Talent
The study shows flexible work arrangements, such as telework, are the most important benefit respondents (89%) say to retain tech workforce employees in the next five years. Additionally, 65% of companies plan to hire more employees to work remotely and 80% plan to conduct more job interviews remotely.