A study carried out by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) found that three in four technology companies have difficulty finding candidates with the right skills and abilities. The annual study surveyed 240 tech industry leaders and identified paths to fill these skill gaps by rethinking education, changing recruitment practices, and providing upskills programs.
The annual Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Future of Work Study 2020 is the fourth edition of a survey covering the role of future jobs and their impact on how employers invest in America’s workforce.
This year, the study focused on the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on both large and small technology companies and their impact on finding and retaining qualified talent over the next five years.
As technology advances, US companies are creating millions of new jobs, resulting in an unprecedented demand for workers with high-tech skills. One of the 2020 study’s findings was that most employers would need even more people with technical skills, particularly in data analytics, software development, and project management.
In order to cover this demand, companies are expected to expand their recruitment pipelines and offer more training, such as apprenticeship programs, to close the skills gap. This trend could also be accompanied by a commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce by facilitating more access and mobility for underrepresented groups.
The CTA is North America’s largest technology trade association. Among its members are the world’s leading innovators, ranging from startups to global brands. The association supports more than 18 million American jobs, includes over 2,000 member companies, and owns and produces the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – a global influential tech event that will see 200 government leaders this year.
CTA’s mission is ultimately to help innovators of all sizes grow their business and use technology to change people’s lives for the better. In 2020, CTA is monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and tracking what it means for the tech industry, identifying best practices to address challenges, and protecting employee’s health.
The study found that four in five employers (80%) will need more employees with technical skills in the coming years. Among the most in-demand were data analytics (57%), project management (56%), and software development (56%), although other skills required that were also mentioned include communication (85%), critical thinking (83%), and problem-solving (83%).
Almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) stated that they would hire people who meet the skill requirements regardless of education level. A quarter (24%) said they would hire more from train-to-hire programs like apprenticeships to fill vacant positions and prepare workers.
Diversity and Inclusion
The majority of companies — nearly nine in ten (86%) — have at least one running or upcoming diversity and inclusion initiative. Almost half of those asked (43%) said they would devote their resources and staff in the next five years to hiring more employees from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. Diverse teams are known to be more effective and innovative. The trend shown by the study could support a more diverse and inclusive workforce with greater career access and mobility in the tech industry.
Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost one-third (31%) of companies stated they had cut back recreational and social activities. One quarter (25%) removed access to free food and drinks, two in five (40%) allowed for designated telework days, and almost a quarter (27%) offered stipends for equipment while working from home.
Remote Work Perks
Amongst the most important benefits that respondents said could help retain employees in the next five years were flexible work arrangements (89%), hiring of more remote workers (65%), and conducting more interviews remotely (80%).
Life-changing innovations are transforming the workforce and generating countless new jobs; however, the US cannot lead the world in innovation if it can’t access the workers needed.
The CTA Future of Work: 2020 CTA Member Survey found a generalized need for more skilled workers but also identified paths to fill these skill gaps. Measures will require innovative solutions such as rethinking education and changing recruitment practices and upskills programs.
For the next five years, this will mean running apprenticeship programs, recruiting candidates from underrepresented communities, and conducting candidate interviews remotely, as well as sustaining initiatives that can help retain qualified people and promote diversity, inclusion, and career progression.