Greetings from SXSWedu! This evening, I will have the privilege of moderating a panel titled Tech Skills Gap: What Can Employers and Educators Do? I'm representing DeVry University's Career Advisory Board and will be joined by Robert Paul, president of DeVry University, Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, and Sara Ley, digital learning and technology leader at GE.
Without giving too much away, we'll be discussing the Career Advisory Board's recent research, for which we asked 500 hiring managers, human resource professionals, and c-suite executives to reflect on the importance of both applied tech skills and hard tech skills, the challenges they face in recruiting and retaining tech-savvy talent, and the degree to which educational institutions have been successful in preparing students with the right level of technical competency.
Our employer respondents indicated significant pressure to keep up with the pace of technology and its ability to inform and impact business strategy. Technology is increasingly important to companies in all areas of business, with four in five respondents (79 percent) agreeing that for technology to be effective, it must integrate people, processes, data and devices. Interestingly, 87 percent of baby boomer respondents supported this overarching view of technology, more than their younger counterparts in Gen X (76 percent) and the millennial generation (76 percent).
Seventy-seven percent of all respondents said a company’s competitive advantage lies in using technology to solve problems, and they desire a workforce that is well-schooled in how to do this. Seventy-five percent agreed that employees should understand how to use technology to inform and drive business decisions, while 84 percent claimed that employees who know how to use the right tech tools in their fields are more effective.
Furthermore, over 80 percent reported that companies that integrate data and processes are more successful, and 74 percent said that employees need to master the skill of integrating data and information from various sources in the service of better business decisions. According to the survey, the ability and willingness of employees to fully leverage data varies by age. While 72 percent of respondents agreed that millennials are keeping pace with technology, only half said that baby boomers are.