With baby boomers preparing for retirements and ever-shrinking numbers of young people opting for a career in technology, the IT industry is collectively wondering where it’s going to find skilled workers. Offshore outsourcing has had mixed results so far, and neither it nor automation can supply the combination of critical-thinking, business and advanced-technology skills needed to meet the enterprise IT challenges of the next decade and beyond.
“By 2010, just three-and-a-half years from now, nearly one in three workers in the United States will be over the age of 50,” said Gretchen Koch, director of CompTIA’s skills development program. “You have a large number of workers getting ready to retire or needing to work longer, coupled with fewer workers to the workforce. What we’ve heard anecdotally is that a lot of students have seen their parents lose their jobs in IT, or their parents have friends who lost jobs. They’re not advising their children to pursue an IT career.”
Indeed, this trend is already starting to manifest itself in particular geographic regions, she added. “What we’re hearing in some regions more than others, demand is already outstripping supply of appropriately skilled workers in IT, which is bringing those salaries up, but we have to get more kids interested in pursuing IT as a career. In the short term, we’re looking at a potential crisis in the IT industry of not having enough skilled workers.”
Thus, the IT industry is going to have to ask some difficult questions…
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