How the pandemic is affecting tech jobs, skills and certifications

How the pandemic is affecting tech jobs, skills and certifications

How the pandemic is affecting tech jobs, skills and certifications

The year began with a bang for IT professionals with 25,300 tech jobs added to U.S. payrolls in the first two months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But by March this number dropped to only 6,000 new IT jobs and then the bottom dropped out in April with the BLS reporting a stunning net loss of 181,300 tech jobs in America.  

Clearly, for those of us who analyze the tech workforce and forecast tech labor markets the elephant in the room is the COVID-19 pandemic and how the economy will react to it in the coming months. It’s too early to say with accuracy what lies ahead but one thing is already certain: Before the pandemic employers were already struggling mightily with devising and building successful tech staffing models to meet their future and present needs and now these objectives have become even more elusive.

In fact, it’s almost idyllic to think that prior to the pandemic the most common challenge shared by employers was balancing three things: the urgencies of digital transformation, combating ever deepening security threats, and at the same time keeping increasingly complex systems and networks running smoothly and efficiently.

The staffing challenge has now moved well beyond this. More than ever, hiring managers need to think about their tech staffing needs strategically over the next few years, define specific tech skills that will be required and at what bench strength and not rely on consultants and contingent workers to solve their skills gap problems. They need to configure a roadmap for how to get there so that they’re not scrambling for talent last minute when the time comes.

The word from the trenches

We conducted interviews in early 2020 with 350+ senior tech execs and decision-makers across 40 industries to inquire about their tech workforce plans. Our findings?  Many not only realized the threat of constant inadequacy of their tech staffing bench strength but were conspicuously stressed out about it prior to the pandemic. They sensed harder tech labor challenges in 2020 than any year in recent history and this was before the pandemic took hold. They were open about "people problems" getting exponentially worse unless their companies begin laying the groundwork right now for a new strategy for staffing that has, or soon will, be thrust upon each and every one of them.

What has concerned them most prior to the arrival of COVID-19 were game-changing?
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