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January 17, 2019

More than 40% of tech job applicants lack key technical skills, highlighting industry’s talent gap

By Luke Christou

Some 80% of decision makers in technology and engineering businesses believe that there is a talent gap in the industry, pointing to the high percentage of job candidates for open positions that lack the skills required to perform the role.

That is according to the Technology and Engineering Workplace Trends report recently published by IT workforce solutions provider Modis and education organisation General Assembly. The survey questioned more than 1,000 high-ranking individuals in technology and engineering to gain insight into recruitment practices, employer challenges and wider trends in the industry.

The survey found that some 43% of job candidates applying for tech and engineering roles lack the technical skills required. Likewise, it was also found that many also lacked core workplace skills such as communication (23%) and interpersonal skills (22%).

Some 67% of respondents said that they plan to increase headcount within their respective organisations in 2019, with businesses planning ahead to capitalise on emerging technologies. Cybersecurity, cloud storage, data engineering and computer vision were highlighted as key areas that businesses would be focusing on in coming years.

However, before that can happen, the technology industry must first find a solution to its increasing lack of talent.

According to a recent survey by auditing firm KPMG that questioned 3,000 technology leaders, 65% admitted that the situation is holding the industry back, up from 59% the previous year.

Dealing with tech talent troubles

“Increasingly, companies are recognising that rapid changes in technology and pervasive skills gaps require new strategies for sourcing and investing in talent,” said Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly.

“There’s a growing awareness about the need for new talent pipelines, real-time assessments for both digital and employability skills, and more transparent pathways to the most in-demand roles of the digital economy.”

Of course, it goes without saying that paying talent what it is worth is vital to attracting the right people. Some 55% of decision makers acknowledged that workers expect to be paid a salary that matches the industry average for their specific role. However, workers are looking for more than a decent wage.

According to respondents, offering workers opportunities to progress in their field, the ability to create change and work on innovative products are valued more highly than salary, particularly to the Millennial and Gen Z generations.

“It’s a pivotal time to be a leader within technology and engineering fields as industries across the board become more reliant on highly technical and specialised teams,” said Ger Doyle, President of Modis.

“Decision makers who are already feeling talent gaps today should work to understand what it will take to attract and keep the talent they need now and in the long-term – and always be ready to adapt.”