Demand for technology talent is poised to get stronger as companies try coming to grips with a significant technology skills gap. In St. Louis and across the country the demand for employees with technology skills is far greater than the number of people in the technology talent pool. TDK Technologies, along with Gateway to Innovation and Avison Young, sponsored a recent online survey that revealed companies in the St. Louis region expect a 60 percent growth in the number of technology positions by 2023. Technology start-up catalyst ITEN commissioned the survey.

More than 80 percent of the 300 respondents to the online survey (comprised of technology managers and those with knowledge of the IT and technology needs of their St. Louis area company) forecasted a “somewhat or significantly larger tech talent need” in the next three to five years. The survey defined “tech” as STEM-related jobs or skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) that require a minimum of some post high-school training in computer sciences and related engineering occupations.

But significantly, the survey found that managers expect many of these needs to be unmet in terms of positions and skill sets. Here are some highlights from the survey.

  • Nearly half of hiring managers say they have difficulty filling Developer positions and 43 percent have trouble hiring enough Programmers currently.
    • Developer and Programmer positions are also expected to represent the greatest future need in the next three to five years.
  • Engineer, Architect, and Analyst positions are difficult for at least one-third of managers to hire.
  • Respondents expressed a strong future need for User Support positions.
  • A relatively high number of respondents believe several tech skill areas will have future unmet needs. At least 40 percent of hiring managers believe there will be future shortages in these skills:
    • Big Data Skills and Methodologies
    • Cloud Technology
    • Software Development
    • Cyber Security
    • Technologists with General Business Acumen
    • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

“The results of this survey are an important first step in moving the region forward in the technology sector,” said Kristin Tucker, Principal of TDK Technologies, LLC. “This outlook provides employers in the region with a roadmap for anticipated skill set needs. By working together to address the gaps, we can continue to move the St. Louis region to the forefront of the technology marketplace.”

More than 80 percent of survey respondents believe tech talent sourcing is extremely or very important to their company’s growth. Yet the managers ranked the region average to good when it comes to workforce development efforts.

“A community-wide effort is required to solve the technology skills shortage within our region. There are many more technology jobs available than there are qualified applicants to fill them. The results of this survey will help focus efforts to address the gaps,” said David Kocs, Principal at TDK Technologies and Executive Committee member for Gateway to Innovation (the region’s largest conference for technology leaders).

The survey revealed that inhouse promotions are the most likely source for technical talent, followed closely by professional recruiters and online job boards. Campus recruiting and technology boot camps are used by a smaller percentage of survey respondents for filling positions.  Interestingly, respondents were evenly divided over the question of whether to hire a person for a tech position who did not have practical experience. One-third said it was somewhat likely, one-third said it was not very likely, and the remaining third were unsure.

The survey was conducted by Peters Marketing Research and has a statistical significance of +/- six percentage points with a 95 percent confidence level.

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