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Photo of Shelly Sack
Written by
Shelly Sack
Shelly is Manager of content Programs for AOTMP®

Do you feel like you see endless job postings for technology-related positions? One may correctly conclude that there are more jobs than people to fill them. That situation is likely to grow as the technology industry surges in demand.

U.S. tech unemployment drops nearly 6 points in one year

For a broad picture, a look at the overall workforce shows that the unemployment rate for people 25 and older and educated with a bachelor’s degree or higher decreased to 2.8% in August, down from 3.1% one month earlier. Just 14 months earlier, that number was just shy of 6 points higher, as 8.4% were unemployed as the pandemic business effects began to show in April 2020. Those with some college or associate’s degree are hovering at about 5%, down 10 points from 15% last April.

Narrow the focus down a notch and the job market in IT-related fields is experiencing its lowest level of unemployment in two years — pandemic notwithstanding.

Tech’s well-known, go-to job board Dice noted, “Companies are clearly hungry for software developers and engineers, as well as project managers and network engineers/architects.” Dice’s conclusions were drawn from data provided by analyst-firm Burning Glass which stated United States March unemployment in information technology sectors was below the average market at 2.4% for IT in March, compared to 6% overall. In July, that number was at 1.5%, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Tech job postings grew 28% from 2020’s fourth quarter and 2021’s first quarter; they surged another 12% between February and March of 2021.

Just a few months ago, Dice listed the most in-demand positions, with the top five being software developer/engineer, project manager, network engineer, senior software developer/ engineer, and systems engineer. Eighteen other positions all shared equally with between 7-9,000 openings.

Research firm Burning Glass looked at tech job postings and BLS numbers to compile a post-pandemic viewpoint and highlighted 14 sectors essential to economic stability and growth. Topping their list with a combined 7.3 million jobs in the No. 1, 2, and 3 slots: logistics and supply chain management; network systems; and infrastructure.

New economic patterns will drive up to 18 million jobs to be created in the next five years, it stated. Other roles include the Internet of Things in the supply chain, robotics, and process automation following the lead and artificial/virtual reality, cybersecurity, and education technology.

Approach to job upskilling varies globally

While there’s good news for those pursuing a technology career or looking for a new position, there are still challenges within the workforce related to skills. Perhaps a current employee can be trained or perhaps the organization size or philosophy trends toward replacing positions with someone with more appropriate skill sets. This approach though can be a bit obtuse when the pool of candidates is in high demand; perhaps this fact will push organizations to reconsider reskilling.

Employer opportunities to address skill needs within the workforce include:

  • Hiring Training for skill building
  • Outsourcing
  • Redeploying to new roles
  • Releasing from organization
  • Partnering with education institutions to build workforce

While surveys to determine in-demand jobs are often the key to positioning many students in their career focuses, they can also be the springboard to push someone to try a field other than one for which they were initially trained.

Surveys can also provide a glimpse into the viewpoints potential and current employees and businesses undergo when an entry-level position is posted versus the investment to upskilling their existing employees to adapt to new technologies.

A McKinsey survey noted that while companies understand the priority training must be given to avoid the skill gaps expected in the next few years, a low number of respondents feel their workplaces know how upskilling should be addressed.

“In fact, only one-third of respondents say their companies are prepared to cope with the workforce disruptions resulting from technology and market trends,” according to McKinsey. “Respondents expect market and technology trends to play a big part in these shifts. Three in ten say at least one-quarter of their organization’s roles are at risk of disruption in the next five years by these trends. Looking at respondents by industry, those in financial services and in high tech and telecom are the most likely to expect this level of disruption.” From a global perspective, respondents ranked Europe as more likely to add skill training versus North America, which was considered more likely to release employees. The Asia Pacific region overall was viewed as less likely to invest in skill-building, but India businesses stand out as an exception to this rule.

Long-held traditions in hiring may require organizations to adopt a more comprehensive approach to which investment is best to have the right people and skills to grow the business.


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