Tech jobs have historically been in-demand—but the problem won't be resolved anytime soon, according to a new report by G2 Crowd.
"The issue is getting worse, especially in highly skilled and technical jobs," said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd. "There's a real talent drain on tech skill sets, that dovetails into this idea that the business environment is transforming into more information-based and technology-driven, in the US particularly."
According to the report, which was released in February, 81% of hiring managers said they see the problem intensifying, and 65% said that recruiting and hiring will continue to become more difficult. IT and highly skilled specialists, the report shows, are the most difficult job categories to fill.
Why the difficulty? Fauscette said part of the issue is caused by business transformation. There are "new skill set requirements and new technologies that need people to use and support them, and new business models," he said. And you can't do anything with data unless you have the people to organize it. "You've got all this new kind of IoT and AI capabilities that are coming out that businesses want to take advantage of," he said. "You've got automation with AI, and embedded AI. All those things that work anywhere, so now we have mobile devices to be concerned about, like security. All of this requires more skilled people."
The trends could have a particularly significant impact on small businesses, Fauscette said. While 68% in enterprise and 66% in mid-market reported difficulties filling high-skill roles, 84% of small businesses reported trouble in this area. "Now that small business is now starting to rely on technology, they're really getting squeezed around finding the right talent because there is such competition for the pool," said Fauscette.
And global companies that have the resources to hire outside of the country during a talent crisis, or to offer incentives, have an edge, he said.
"But if you're small, and you don't have the resources, what do you do?"
So how can companies find tech talent? "By far, the highest ranked solution was to try new and alternative talent sources," said Fauscette. One way that businesses do this, he said, is by "looking for immigration to support some of that."
But in the current political climate, with all predictability removed from immigration requirements and a highly-disputed travel ban in effect, this may not be a feasible solution. A draft of the Trump administration's executive order on immigration, including a section on H-1B, has been leaked, although an official order has yet to be signed. And in a previous conversation with TechRepublic, experts voiced concern over the proposed changes. Rob Atkinson, president of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, told companies looking for talent to "have a contingency plan," he said. "Think about Vancouver."
Fauscette echoed this concern over the proposed changes to the visa. "If you combine travel bans and trends based on that idea you would say that you could see reductions in H-1B's," he said, "this would be really bad for technology."
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Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a journalist in Louisville, KY. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Undark Magazine, VICE, Vox, and other publications.