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Report: Most companies have a tech skills gap, but few have a plan to fix it

A CompTIA survey of business leaders reveals the problems that arise when companies can't fill key tech positions.

Finding top talent is a constant struggle for employers—especially in tech. There are now more than half a million open tech positions in the US and, according to research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be a million more jobs available in computing than applicants who can fill them.

On Monday, new research from the nonprofit Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) surveyed 600 top business and tech executives in the US—across the technology, manufacturing, healthcare and financial services industries—to examine how bad the skills gap really is, and what steps are being taken to address it. The new report, "Organizations Struggle to Close Widening Skills Gaps," expands on the findings from another survey conducted in October 2016, which found that "at least eight in 10 US businesses are being negatively impacted by the lack of technology talent," according to ZDNet.

While companies struggle to find talent for a number of different skillsets, the IT and computer science field is the most pronounced. Specifically, cybersecurity remains at the top of in-demand jobs.

And although many companies address the skills gap as a major obstacle, two out of three organizations do not have a formal plan to address the challenge. Even more troubling is the fact that 54% percent of organizations reportedly struggled with identifying the skills gap among their workforces in the first place.

One important finding from the report is that it's crucial to be specific when talking about the skills gap. Some business cite a skills gap that should more accurately be reported as a labor supply gap, a pay gap, or a generation gap—in other words, the problem can be attributed to outside variables other than the inability for a certain position to be filled based on the nature of the job itself.

According to the report, companies need "better approaches to enable candidates to gain relevant work experience and on-the-job training." As reported by TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco, companies are beginning to address this by seeking nontraditional workers to "fill gaps and enhance diversity."

SEE: How your company can win the war for tech talent by hiring nontraditional employees

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. A new report from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) surveyed 600 top business and tech executives in the US, and illustrates how bad the skills gap really is, and what steps are being taken to address it.

2. Although many companies address the gap as a major obstacle, two out of three organizations do not have a formal plan to address the challenge.

3. The report emphasizes the importance of a variety of solutions, including education programs, as well as long-term strategies to address the gap.

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Image: peshkov, Getty Images/iStockphoto

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About Hope Reese

Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.

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