Companies need skilled tech employees, but organizations likewise need to step up their employee development efforts.
Recruiting people with the right skills, offering development opportunities to employees, and meeting demands for diversity and inclusion are top of mind for today's tech companies.
In its fourth annual Future of Work member survey, the Consumer Technology Association reports that 80 percent of companies will need more employees with technical skills such as data analytics, software development, and project management. But three-quarters of US-based organizations that participated in the survey signaled difficulty in finding the talent needed, and 39 percent said filling positions will become more difficult during the next five years.
To prepare new employees and retain existing, experienced ones, tech companies continue to offer a range of training and professional development programs. In fact, 88 percent of respondents offer one or more programs, up 1 percent from 2019. The leading programs are conferences and events and internal training classes. Less popular options include external training, mentorships, professional organization memberships, executive coaching, and certification programs.
Despite such a high percentage of companies providing talent development opportunities, a much smaller share—36 percent—have a dedicated staff person responsible for workforce development. Of respondents with more than 1,000 employees, slightly more than half employ staff responsible for workforce development, while 8 percent of those with fewer than 10 employees do.
When it comes to organizational D&I efforts for developing and advancing staff, tech companies indicated their intention to do their part. The majority said they have at least one active or planned D&I initiative.
However, talent development has room to expand its influence. The top training and development D&I initiatives include "training employees to enhance respect for cultural and other differences among colleagues" and "offering courses to increase awareness of other cultures and promote communication."
An even greater missed opportunity for talent development lies with "providing employee development and training to improve the advancement potential of underrepresented or disadvantaged staff." Just 38 percent of respondents said they already have such a program, with an additional 13 percent planning one; only one in 10 anticipate a new D&I advancement program in the next three months.
The Consumer Technology Association conducted the online survey from August to September 2020 and received 240 responses from companies.