At the 2018 Human Capital Forum: The New Strategic Role of HR, held in New York on May 3, Carmen Bryant, Director of Employer Insights at Indeed observed, “In 2018, the Internet, automated software, and smartphones are accelerating the pace of nearly every task. This makes new types of work possible, just as personal computers did in the last century.” Bryant then went on to highlight some trends that are dramatically reshaping the US labor market.
“Essentially every type of business—and, most predominantly, businesses that aren’t tech-related—are in dire need of talent with technical expertise. Increasingly, software development is a core part of every industry and a key driver of innovation,” she said.
She also noted that, according to a 2017 study by Stack Overflow, only 28% of software developers work in software firms. The rest work across a variety of industries and occupation areas, further indicating that companies of all kinds need this kind of tech talent to operate and innovate.
In the US, this trend is even more apparent; in an analysis of 1.5 million software developers and programmers, a study by Praxis found only 7% worked for software firms. According to BLS, the expected percent change in the need for software developers between 2014 and 2024 is 17%, compared to average occupation growth of 7%. Technical talent is integral to innovation, and attracting that talent becomes an important impetus of an economy’s ability to grow and thrive. This means the competition for this talent is increasing.
Industry- and role-specific software experience is increasingly a requirement for any job. Jobs are becoming more technical, and employers are looking for talent with highly specialized skills in role-specific software.
“Today’s labor market is becoming two separate markets: one for high-skilled workers and one for everyone else … Part of the reason for this is that the labor market is steadily tightening. Employers are having a hard time finding talent for highly skilled roles. However, we’re seeing more people from different fields entering the tech space.”
According to the same Stack Overflow survey, nearly half of software developers surveyed don’t have computer science degrees, and a significant percentage never took a computer science university course. This indicates that quality tech talent can come from a variety of fields and work backgrounds.
Full-time jobs are being replaced by more flexible alternatives. Indeed recently conducted a survey in the US to understand what matters to the modern job seeker, and found that, after pay and location, flexibility is the most important requirement when pursuing a job. Searches for flexible working arrangements have grown 33% over the past year.
“But that’s just half the story. In addition to flexible work, we have the proliferation of new companies that are providing app-driven work—the gig economy. This fractional work is ideal for people who need to earn money but are doing something else—college students, moms, retired people,” said Bryant.
“The vast majority of job seekers use the Internet as part of their job search. The stat that really surprised us is that the job search never ends. About 65% of hired candidates worldwide search for another job within 91 days,” Bryant noted.
In addition, Bryant explained that labor is a national asset that is becoming increasingly mobile; and smart companies will learn to follow the talent.