TECNA and CompTIA bang the drum for tech worker shortage

Tech worker using table in server room

Is it a lack of tech quality, or a simple lack of quantity that has the global IT workforce tied up in knots? An increasing number of senior business executives fear it's the latter, and that the number of competent professionals in IT fields will continue to decrease, leaving hiring managers scrambling to fill open positions. These fears were recently crystallized in an online survey conducted by TECNA (Technology Councils of North America) in October.


The survey was answered by more than 1,500 senior (C-level) IT and business executives. Out of those involved, 22 percent are ensconced at companies with more than 1,000 employees, and 43 percent identified themselves as CEO, president, or owner.


Throughout the United States, companies will be scouring the ranks of workers to locate skilled IT pros over the next 12 months. As the rush to fill tech positions gathers momentum, many in the tech industry are worried that the supply of well-trained technology professionals isn't growing, meaning that experienced individuals will soon be hard to come by. Various companies in the United States are aiming to expand operations, but the lack of valuable professionals could stymie those plans for many.


IT industry association CompTIA (a partner with TECNA) reported the results of the TECNA survey and said that the outlook is grim: "TECNA's third annual National Survey of Technology, Policy and Strategic Issues survey reveals that the perception of the quality and quantity of tech talent has gotten worse."


This year, 74 percent of executives claim shortages, and a third of that believe the shortage to be significant. Last year, only 69 percent of executives claimed a shortage, while 25 percent believed it to be significant.


Not all of the news, however, is bad news: TECNA's survey exposes an optimistic drive in both the economy and in business conditions: "Confidence in the U.S. economy made the biggest jump year over year, climbing from 56.4 (on a 100-point scale) in 2013 to 63.2 in 2014. Executives are most confident in their own companies (72.2), followed by the tech sector overall (71.9). At 54.6, the global economy had the lowest mark."


So while there may be a lack of confidence about staffing, the overall economy is looking positive. Companies not only propose to hire new staff within the next year, but they plan to invest in new products, business lines, advertising, or marketing activities.


Executives ended up rating government representation of technology interests at a low level. The ratings this year at the state and local levels remained nearly the same as last year. "At the federal level, 45 percent said poorly or very poorly and 41 percent said �just okay.'" These numbers match the 2013 federal survey figures.


According to survey respondents, "More government support for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at both the K-12 and secondary education levels should be the top policy priority in 2015(.)" Accordingly, 42 percent of those surveyed marked taxation and regulatory reform as key matters for policy action.


Within the regions of the United States, the West takes the lead, with 80 percent of execs cliaming a shortage of tech talent. The South and Midwest follow closely behind at 76 percent, and the Northeast brings up the rear at 69 percent. While the Midwest believes it is gaining notice as a desirable site for tech startups (increasing 8 points from last year to 28 percent, and the largest region stat to increase), "The West leads the way at 47 percent, followed by the South (42 percent) and Northeast (36 percent)."


Results of the 2014 survey are available online.


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