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The Tech Industry becomes a victim of its own achievements, survey says

Modern society owes quite a lot to the Tech Industry. It created new ways of communication, work, play, learn, etc. But it actually suffers because of its own success.

A new Harvey Nash survey concludes that the IT industry is actually “eating itself”. The reason? Job automation and continuing lack of digital skills.

The recruitment firm found that 45% of the tech professionals around the world expect their current job to be automated within the next 10 years. A whopping 94% think their career choices will be limited if they don’t learn new tech skills.

Now is the time to think about new tech skills

“The reality is that most people do at least something in their job that can be automated. But the key for technology professionals is to identify what areas are least likely to be automated and to focus on developing their skills in these areas,” says Robert Grimsey, director at Harvey Nash to ComputerWeekly.

There are teams in IT which expect to feel the effect of automation before the rest. Among them are IT operations and testers. A total of 63% and 67% of them respectively expect their jobs will be significantly different within the next 10 years. All because of automation.

The company notes there’s a 3% increase in women who completed the survey. This means they are now 16% of all respondents which still is quite a low number. Some say that’s due to the lack of women role models in IT. As a result, this doesn’t motivate young girls and graduates to think about a career in IT. The survey found that 9% of CIO and vice-president positions with tech focus are held by women. It’s a positive change of 3% for a year, but it still a progress which has been labeled as “glacial”.

Even employees with senior positions as high up as CIO expect they will need to hone new skills even if they expect to be affected the least. “The topic of tech skills is a challenge for the sector.  Many employers would be happy to hire someone who had the right personal attributes, but not the specific technical skills, and then train them,” said Grimsey.

Missed opportunities

Here comes an interesting difference. Despite tech pros acknowledging they need to learn new skills, they don’t want to do that now. Only 12% say they want more training and only 27% say a new qualification is a priority. What’s more 75% of tech professionals feel recruiters and headhunters are too focused on specific skills. Tech pros fell this makes companies overlook potential candidates.

Also overlooked are graduates who may easily be upskilled and given additional training to fill a role in a company. Actually, in countries like Bulgaria and Romania, tech companies are already doing that as a way to battle severe lack of developers and engineers.

“Defining exactly what the right personal attributes are, and then finding a way to assess people on these attributes, can be a challenge. If you are looking for a team player who’s technically adept and a quick learner, what exactly do you look for in a CV to differentiate one person from thousands of others”, Grimsey notes.

In short, this means that, tech pros, senior management and recruiters have to change their attitudes a bit. They all have to be more open to opportunities outside of their comfort zones and be willing to take on new challenges. Even if they are slightly different from what they are used to. After all AI is coming faster than ever and it will change a lot of things without a doubt.

Image credit: Flick (CC) / jeffedoe