The Market for Tech Talent
April 24, 2017
Depending on the attrition rate for the retirement of baby boomers, tech jobs are estimated to double over the next decade, and while many perks from Silicon Valley companies have become legendary, the new pool of tech talent is looking for the same motivators found in most industries: advancement opportunities, recognition, continuing education, flexible work schedule and telecommuting. As far as hot tech employment locations, several cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Boston will remain tech talent hubs. But there are some secondary hubs that are gaining traction such as Austin, Seattle and Vancouver.
Some of the fastest growing jobs in technology include web developers, data scientists, big data, software engineers and security professionals. What’s interesting is that tech talent can come from non-traditional backgrounds and thanks to technology there’s a variety of ways to get an education and experience in order to become a coder, a web designer or some other tech professional.
DP: So tell us, what does the forecast for tech employment look like?
DK: It’s looking good. So a rough estimate is double digit growth in tech jobs, somewhere in the 14% to 18% neighborhood over the next decade. To some extent that depends on attrition such as the rate at which baby boomers will retire. But it’s certainly looking up.
DP: Sure, and the boomers are definitely retiring in droves. What are some of the fastest growing jobs in technology?
DK: We’re seeing web developers, data scientists, big data - certainly a lot of jobs there - software engineers and not surprisingly information security professionals, security being a hot button issue right now. You’ll see some upsizing of tech professionals in specialty areas such as drones, 3D printing, virtual realities and others in that area.
DP: Ok. Now you told us about the what, tell us about the where – where are these jobs going to be?
DK: Yeah, so we’re seeing continued and strong hiring growth in such hubs as New York City, San Francisco, and Boston – those are your usual players. But we’re starting to see some secondary hubs gain traction such as Austin, Seattle and Vancouver, and they’re closing the gap a little bit on those main hubs that we think of.
DP: And why do you think that is?
DK: So the current trend of people moving to cities. So people are still flocking to New York City and San Francisco, but the cost of living there is certainly ridiculous. So places like Seattle and Austin offer city life but at a much cheaper price. Average salaries there may be lower but the real income is higher due to the lower cost of living. So that’s a trend we’ll probably see continue.
DP: You can make a buck go further, sure. Now, we’ve heard about some of the perks at working at the Silicon Valley companies – they’re legendary - such things as nap pods and smoothie bars and air hockey tables, but what are these professionals really looking for?
DK: The traditional motivators we find in most industries – challenging work environment, advancement opportunities, recognition for a job well done, access to continuing education and training, and also given the times, flexible work schedules and telecommuting – they appear just about on every wish list.
DP: Ok. Talk a little bit if you can about the pipeline for tech talent – where is the next gen of talent coming from?
DK: You can certainly go the college degree route – get a job that way. A good thing about tech is many people come from non-traditional backgrounds and ironically thanks to technology there’s a variety of ways to get an education and get experience in order to become a coder, a web designer or some other tech professional. So we’re starting to see some non-traditional routes continue.
DP: Ok. So billionaire Mark Cuban, who’s made his fortune from the tech area had some interesting comments about what job skills will be most important in the not-too-distant future. Tell us about that.
DK: In essence he indicated our economy will become much more automated. So technology education and skills may not matter as much as creative and critical thinking, and it’s an interesting thought and we’ll see how it shapes out.
DP: Yup. Now in your role as a business advisor, you’re out there in the trenches talking to these tech clients. What do you gather is the largest uncertainty out there when it comes to tech talent?
DK: Not to get too political here, but certainly US immigration policy comes to play. Will talent from overseas be able to easily innovate and work here and will they in fact want to come here given the prevailing policies?
DP: And definitely something to keep an eye on. Well Dave, as always, thanks for your expertise and you’re your insight.
DK: Thanks for having me Dave.
DP: Thank you for listening to the EisnerAmper podcast series. Visit EisnerAmper.com for more information on this and a host of other topics. And join us for our next EisnerAmper podcast when we get down to business.