Technology's importance to our personal and professional lives only appears to be increasing with time. Thus it should come as no surprise that the need for experienced IT workers is also at a historic high throughout virtually all sectors of the American labor force.
According to an analysis from CompTIA, the demand for qualified pros to fill open technology positions has shattered various records over the course of the past two months. It will be prudent for HR directors and other company leaders who urgently seek to bring IT staff on board to take a look at the high-profile tech association's findings and consider how they pertain to current and future plans.
May 2019 saw a 20-year low in tech unemployment
Through a close examination of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary for May, CompTIA determined the month's IT unemployment rate (just 1.3%) represented the lowest it had been in two decades, harking back to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. (Although that bubble ultimately burst in spectacular fashion, numerous experts – including those at the BLS, who project 13% employment growth in tech between 2016 and 2026 – seem to believe the present surge in hiring within the industry has been more gradual and thus will be considerably more sustainable.)
While the tech sector itself only added 5,800 new roles in May, the overall American economy brought on a whopping 133,000 professionals to fill open IT positions. Specific IT employment needs included experts in computer systems design and custom software development, as well as the broader subcategory of technology services. All of this is even more remarkable when measured against the fact that the U.S. labor force experienced a net gain of just 75,000 jobs that month, brought down by notable declines in retail trade and other industries.
No end in sight for intense tech talent demand
CompTIA, which analyzes trends in American tech employment on a monthly basis, found further evidence of the intense demand for IT talent across the U.S. economy in June. The tech sector directly added 13,500 jobs last month, while IT roles throughout organizations in all industries increased by 135,000. Systems design, software development and electronics manufacturing – fabrication of electronic instruments, semiconductors and other components, specifically – represented the sector subcategories responsible for the most significant spikes in hiring.
Tim Herbert, CompTIA's executive vice president for research and market intelligence, explained in a release detailing the firm's latest research that this growth represents a logical consequence of technological advancements on a broad scale.
"The mid-year tech employment report card shows many positives, reflecting the broad-based employer demand for tech talent," Herbert said. "Businesses continue to make progress in adopting a range of emerging technologies, with hiring following suit."
What business leaders can do to attract the best IT staff
The competition you'll face in attracting high-level tech professionals will be quite fierce. At the same time, if you're looking to enhance your organization's bottom-line strength through implementation of advanced technology like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and the latest device infrastructure that's necessary to ensure highly efficient internet-of-things functionality, you can't simply expect current staff to master such systems if they don't already know them. The learning curve will be far too steep. So you need premier talent.
That being said, you don't necessarily need to bring on IT pros who know any or all of those systems like the backs of their hands as long as you find proficiently skilled individuals who clearly demonstrate the capacity to learn and eventually master them, according to CIO. Other traditional criteria, like advanced degrees in specific disciplines, may also not be as important to finding outstanding tech talent as you might've believed in the past.
On the other hand, Forbes noted that it's still important to meet IT experts on their own turf (and their own terms), by attending "hack-a-thons" and similar industry events. And last but not least, enlisting the services of a staffing firm like Marchon Partners, with a clear pedigree for sourcing tech talent, can help you connect with outstanding candidates you might not have found otherwise.