Opportunistic Time for Technology Talent
By Dennis Trinkle, Senior Vice President, Talent, Strategy & Partnerships
When fire was first discovered, no coursework or secondary education taught proper bonfire form or kindling classes. We learned from watching and doing. Human memory and muscle tissue adapted through skills-based learning, and they still do today. The IT sector has long been known for its rapid pace of innovation, reflected in the ever-evolving talent landscape.
In recent years, the demand for skilled technology professionals has increased significantly, driven by technological advances and the digitization of industries. As a result, the IT sector is in an intriguing time where skilled professionals meet employers' business objectives outside the traditional tech community. For the Indy region to stay competitive in this rapidly changing skill distribution, employers across all industries must adopt new strategies for recruiting, training, and retaining top tech talent.
Doing so will enable us to attain the goals of our Mission41K initiative, which seeks to add 41,000 Hoosiers to Indiana’s tech workforce by 2030. It’s an initiative supported throughout the tech community and is key to the state’s continued economic success.
In TechPoint’s recently released Tech Workforce Report, these trends were evident. Indiana’s tech job landscape is on an overall growth trajectory, with some occupations accelerating faster than others. To maintain and build upon that growth, the Indy region needs to establish state-wide scalable systems for training, aligning supply and demand, and supporting talent and employers outside the technology sector. By investing in training programs to scale with the talent pool’s growth and needs, Indy’s tech landscape can ensure that the workforce has the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
With more than 90 percent of Indiana’s tech and tech-reliant workers employed outside the tech sector, there is a demonstrated and widespread need for tech training programs for employers in all industries. Technology skills have become increasingly valuable in many industries, diversifying the skills and competencies sought for talent and employee growth potential. Indy Partnership’s Regional Skills Analysis found that Indy’s tech sector workers have more diverse skills than counterparts across the nation, specifically in business operations skills, like customer relationship management (CRM), customer service, project management, and sales.
These tech skills can be readily transferred to other industries--currently, employers report that 92 percent of jobs require digital skills or competencies. Professionals who can bridge the gap between technology and other fields are in high demand. As industries continue to digitize and rely more heavily on technology, the ability to leverage technology skills across industries will become increasingly valuable and possibly even more valuable than a formalized education. From our work with employers, we can’t rely on past hiring practices to attract and retain top-tier talent, especially if that talent is looking in the wrong place. Employers that previously have used degrees as a proxy and efficient sorter are shifting to a skills-based approach to hiring demonstrated in the Regional Skills Analysis. Employers recognize this reality and the importance of hiring differently.
Because technology tends to have more degree barriers than other industries, employers should explore where or whether those degree requirements could be removed to access a wider talent pool. College is not the only pathway to economic and professional success. Apprenticeship programs like the TechPoint Adult Apprenticeship Program and Modern Apprenticeship Program (MAP) work well for both employers, who get the tech talent they need, and the apprentices, who are paid, trained, and provided with new workforce opportunities. Apprenticeship programs build a skilled and diverse workforce needed for today’s tech landscape and future growth by equipping people with in-demand skills and industry experience for high-paying roles.
Despite what headlines may read, the current market conditions provide an excellent opportunity for companies to hire top tech talent. With the increased demand for digital transformation, the competition for skilled tech professionals is high. However, with the right approach, such as offering flexible work environments, investing in training and development programs, and providing a supportive work environment, companies can attract and retain top tech talent. By leveraging this opportunistic time, the Indy region can position itself for success in the competition for tech talent.