Dealing with America's IT Labor Shortage

Comments Off on Dealing with America's IT Labor Shortage
Dealing with America

According to Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, the global outplacement firm that tracks daily job cut announcements, the IT sector has lost 180,000 jobs in 2008. Electronics, telecom, and computer industries are in the worst shape since 2003.

Sun Microsystems, Applied Materials, National Semiconductor, Cisco Systems, Qualcomm, and Nokia are among those who have announced, or are expected to announce, major layoffs.

In light of this news, many people are up in arms about companies like Dell and Citibank sending their information technology offshore to places like India. But according to the 2008 IT Trends Survey by the Society of Information Management, the off-shoring of IT by U.S. firms has actually declined for two straight years. Even though planners are set to increase foreign-based IT, it represents just fivepercent of their budgets for 2009.1

The reason is that CIOs are still having trouble finding enough domestic IT workers with the right skills to fill the open positions that they are keeping in-house. According to TechRepublic, this means that we are facing a serious shortage of IT workers in the years ahead. That may not matter so much at this moment, when companies are laying people off, but it will matter when they attempt to gear up again as the economy recovers. While companies like Google, Intel, and Sun Microsystems are still attracting enough top-notch IT workers, traditional companies are already struggling to find good people.2

It's only getting worse as Baby Boomers retire. There simply aren't enough new graduates in math and science to fill the vacancies in U.S. tech jobs.

There has been a lot of debate — especially on the Internet — about whether or not the IT shortage is real. Among those who argue that we are facing a shortage is Justin Heet, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, who warns that by 2011, when Baby Boomers are expected to begin retiring en masse, we will begin to see a tightening labor market, which will go on to become the norm.

Also, a report from the General Accounting Office states that by 2030, the U.S. will be short 35 million workers. David T. Ellwood, a professor of government at Harvard, says that CEOs, labor leaders, and community leaders all believe that we are facing a very serious labor shortage.3

On the other side of the argument, Fast Company

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund