More jobs expose a large IT skills gap

August 18, 2014

While the American economy is slowly recovering, and there are more jobs being created many of them are on the lower end of the wage scale. In the IT sector, an increasing gap in skills is becoming apparent. That information stemming from a recent Business Trendsetter Barometer survey for PwC. Of all the companies surveyed, nearly 1/3 of them identified a gap in the skills they need to operate critical infrastructure and the availability of workers able to meet their hiring criteria.

Hiring managers are cautious
A Forbes Magazine story said hiring managers are cautious and only project a 1.8 percent increase in hiring over the next year. Several executives said they are planning mergers with similar, smaller companies to obtain the talent with those operations instead of reaching out to hire in the private sector. Ken Esch is with PwC and explained that the projected 1.8 percent hiring increase for this year is down a bit from last year's 3.6, and the recession can still be blamed.

"Many places had reduced to the bare minimum," Esch said of the recession fallout. "What we saw last year was a replenishment of [the jobs of] retired employees." That said, head count increase this far out from a recession could be expected to be higher. In the past, even a 3.6% head count increase during a recovery period was seen as a slow comeback."

Technological change means less employees needed
Esch added that the escalation and advancement of technology means fewer employees are needed to manufacture goods, and many employees who have suffered long-term layoffs are finding their jobs no longer exist due to technological advances. Companies are also feeling the heat when it comes to salaries. Twenty percent of the businesses surveyed said they are feeling pressure to raise wages. That's up from 13 percent in 2013, said the PwC survey. Furthermore, it is the highest number seen since the beginning of the 2008 downturn. Flexibility and wellness benefits are being sweetened to attract workers, but job seekers are looking for solid wage packages to join a company, said Forbes.

The hiring is projected to continue, said PwC with 56 percent of the private companies surveyed saying hiring remains a priority. Eighty-four percent said they will be making workforce investment like training programs and talent retention bonuses during the upcoming two or three years if the economic recovery continues.