Industries across the globe are experiencing labor shortages in many areas, but the positions most urgently needed – and most difficult to fill – are in information technology (IT). Here in the U.S., there are nearly 4 million unfilled IT positions, 600,000 of them for cybersecurity positions, and the computer/IT job sector is expected to grow by an additional 13% by 2030.
The IT talent shortage has been anticipated for some time and was accelerated by the pandemic, which caused both an expansion of IT projects, including digitization, automation, and cybersecurity initiatives, and a reshuffling of the labor force. For example, over 69% of organizations have expanded their cloud workloads over the past year, while a survey in late 2021 reported that 72% of tech employees were considering leaving their jobs in the year ahead.
The attrition rate for IT employees in the U.S. has always been high, averaging 13.2% in 2018, but after 2020 the turnover rate increased to 21.3 % for technology workers with no signs of reversal anytime soon. The employee turnover rate across all job sectors increased by an average of 25% in 2021.
The acute shortage of qualified IT workers is due to a number of factors, none of which are easily addressed, including:
- A surge of investment in enterprise technology projects
- Growing cybersecurity threats
- The Great Resignation and shifting worker priorities
- High turnover rates due to burnout and low job satisfaction
- Stringent employer qualification requirements, including four-year and graduate degrees
- Insufficient new talent entering the workforce, due to:
- Inadequate computer science curriculums
- Lack of internship and apprenticeship opportunities
- Decreasing numbers of qualified tech workers immigrating to the U.S.
The impact of the IT talent shortage on U.S. businesses is great and, according to one study, could cost the U.S. economy more than $160 billion in revenue by 2030. Already, IT executives cite a shortage of talent as the primary obstacle to 64% of new technologies they would like to adopt, 75% of which are automation technologies.
As serious as the IT talent shortage is for U.S. industries in general, it is particularly concerning for the insurance sector.