ChannelCon 2019 Opens with Discussions on Tech Workforce Challenges

Amid discussions about smart cities, the Internet of Things, blockchain, drones and other innovations, speakers at CompTIA ChannelCon 2019 on Monday stressed the critical need to attract more workers and build new skills among current tech professionals to meet the industry’s current and future employment needs.
“We have to focus on getting hiring managers to truly understand what is going on today,” said Aaron Woods, principal consultant with CEX Services, LLC. “What they knew and did 15 or 20 years ago is not relevant today.”

Woods spoke during a panel session on “The IT Workforce of 2026.” Panelists agreed that changes need to be made in the way employers recruit new workers, and where they are looking for that talent.

“All people have intrinsic value to your organization,” said Sue Krautbauer, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Techadox.
Krautbauer noted that a growing number of American workers are freelancers, independent contractor, gig economy workers, or rely on some other another alternate work arrangement. “The idea of being their own business is temperature normal for younger workers,” Krautbauer said.

Failing to adapt to this changing environment can be problematic for companies in tech, as well as employers in other industries who increasingly rely on technologies to run their businesses. Through the first six months of 2019, U.S. tech sector employment grew by an estimated 56,400 positions. But employers across the country continue to advertise for open tech positions in the tens of thousands; more than 200,000 in July alone, said CompTIA researchers.

One solution to the workforce crunch that’s gaining some traction is to let people know that there are rewarding, well-paying careers in technology that do not require a four-year college degree. “We’re waking up to realize that there are other means to get educated and get started in this industry,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry research, CompTIA.

“We also have to educate our kids that getting into technology is not a straight line to working for a technology company,” April said, noting that every industry relies on technology workers.

“Parents need to change the way we view the path to success,” Krautbauer added.