By almost any measure, the tech economy is booming. Sales are growing, shares are up and many MSPs and VARs have more business than they can handle.
So what’s not to like? Very little save for one thing: with so many companies now hiring tech workers, it’s going to get more difficult to find the talent you need to compete in this economy and the digitally transformed one that is emerging.
Take the findings released this week in CompTIA’s Cyberstates report. According to the study, which is the brainchild of Senior Vice President Tim Herbert, tech employment in the U.S. has risen to 7.3 million. Of these positions, 6.9 million are in the traditional “information technology industry.” That’s more jobs than in all of construction, according to USAToday, and a positive sign that companies like yours are hiring.
But what about the other 400,000? These jobs are with organizations that are not part of the IT industry but positions in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and other industries, instead. They are growing as a percent of the overall tech workforce.
Think about that for a moment. If you thought competing for tech workers before the rise of big data, social media, cloud computing and the IoT was tough, imagine how difficult it’s going to be in an era when every company wants to take advantage of digital transformation. Instead of fellow tech companies, you’re literally going to compete with every organization for digitally savvy workers.
No wonder CompTIA found that that there were more than 625,000 job openings in the fourth quarter of 2016, alone. These were just the posted ones, too. Considering that tech workers earn, on average, nearly $109,000 annually—roughly double the national average—prepare yourself for having to write some big checks to get the talent you need to satisfy existing customers and develop new skills for delivering advanced digital services.
(For a more detailed breakdown of wages for tech jobs, be sure to check out my colleague Tom Kaneshige’s latest, “2017 Salary Survey: 16 Hottest Digital Transformation Skills,” which is attracting big traffic over at The VAR Guy.)
Where the Jobs Are… and Where They Are Going
While tech jobs can be found coast to coast in places such as Detroit and Cleveland, employment is especially taking off in a handful of tech hubs that are giving stiff competition to more established tech centers including Silicon Valley and Research Triangle Park. Forbes reports that Utah’s “Silicon Slopes” now boasts 4,000 tech startups along the Wasatch front where I live, and billion-dollar unicorns in Pluralsight, Qualtrics, Domo and InsideSales.
Meanwhile, a new report from TechNet and the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) concludes that other up-and-coming tech hot spots such as Nashville, New Orleans, Denver and Charleston, S.C., will similarly challenge more traditional areas of digital innovation. Speaking in USAToday, TechNet CEO Linda Moore says, “Start-up culture began in the garages of Silicon Valley, but has spread nationally.”
As start-up culture spreads, workers with high-demand skills have more employment options. This includes employees who work where you do. It’s been nearly a decade since they had so much career flexibility. If you think your workforce won’t consider new options, don’t forget that CompTIA found in its big study on managed services last year that “80-plus percent of MSPs said they lost at least one technician to an internal IT department in some industry likely unrelated to the tech industry.”
With organizations from other industries desperately looking for talent to fill their open positions, they will naturally come looking to you for help. If you cannot win their business, don’t be surprised when they try to steal your workers.
It’s something to think about while you enjoy this robust economy.