Cybersecurity, cloud and data analytics skills are driving the hiring priorities of IT managers, according to a survey of 2,800 decision-makers in 28 U.S. markets from staffing firm Robert Half Technology.
Six in every 10 executives say they plan to expand their teams by adding full-time employees, which is 4% higher from the first half of the year. Miami, Austin, Texas and Cleveland are the cities expecting greatest team growth.
With industries like construction, business services and financial services infusing more tech into their businesses, talent shortages in the top tech fields present a challenge for IT managers across industries.
Competition for employees with sought-after skills will remain fierce for the foreseeable future, said John Reed, executive vice president at Robert Half Technologies, in an interview with CIO Dive.
"Almost every organization has some initiative in the space," said Reed. "When you companies seeking cybersecurity talent it's because they have concerns around data protection and privacy. When you have that kind of demand it creates constraints."
There's virtually no unemployment for people trained in some of the leading fields, said Reed. "If you have skills in this area, you're probably working."
The full list of top skills includes:
2. Cloud security
3. Cloud computing
4. Cloud architecture
5. Business intelligence and reporting services
6. Database management
7. Virtualization, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation, DevOps (three-way tie)
The lineup of in-demand skills keeps with what Darla Wolfe, global director of IT and ERP at Myoderm, sees in the market. To attract the upper echelon of staffers, companies must prove to sought-after workers they represent more than just a job.
A combination of flexibility, visibility and training go a long way to become an attractive employer.
"You need to offer the perks that matter," said Wolfe, in an interview with CIO Dive. "Being able to work from home and additional training to turn [workers] into a whole person instead of somebody you stick in a corner and give assignments to."
Especially among younger technologists, the opportunity to develop new skills on the job is attractive, according to Wolf.
Long-term talent play
It's essential for companies to set up long-term talent retention and attraction strategies, in the face of continued strain on the supply of tech talent.
"This isn't a new narrative," said Reed. "And it's not a dynamic that's going to change for the foreseeable future. We have an aging population, with many tech workers exiting the workforce in the next few years. The supply of new tech professionals won't keep pace."
Rather than expect their needs to die down, organizations should map out a strategy that appeals to experienced employees with skills in high-demand fields.
Building talent in-house and speeding up recruiting timelines can also navigate the talent drought, said Reed. "When you find someone that meets the criteria, make an offer quickly," said Reed. "We keep seeing companies able to secure talent by moving quickly."