Trending Tech and IT Skills Reflect Talent Demands for Priority Projects

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By Katie Merritt, Senior Research and Data Manager, Robert Half Technology leaders across the U.S. face tech and IT skill gaps in their departments that are likely to undermine productivity this year. In a Robert Half survey, 55% of tech leaders at companies of all sizes said they expect staffing constraints to put their priority projects at risk in 2024.  Looking at what many tech leaders aim to accomplish this year, the types of projects that might be sidelined could put a dent in companies’ efforts to transform digitally and increase overall business resilience. According to research for Robert Half’s new e-book, Building Future-Forward Tech Teams, the top priorities for tech leaders in 2024 are: Security of IT systems and information Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation initiatives Cloud projects Technology modernization Software engineering and development To deepen our understanding of how companies’ need for talent to support initiatives in these five areas could be impacting the demand for specific types of technology expertise in the labor market at large, Robert Half analyzed over 2 million job postings provided by Textkernel and TalentNeuron for two time periods: 2017-2018 and 2022-2023.   We then quantified the number of times certain tech and IT skills appeared in these job postings and calculated the percent change relative to the overall change in volume of technology jobs.   We found that skills widely considered to be “emerging” aren’t so new — at least when it comes to employers’ need for technology professionals with these skills. The top emerging skills, which we define as those seeing the most growth, include: Natural language processing (NLP): +430% Mobile application development: +381% Page speed optimization: +318% Distributed and parallel computing: +253% Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): +192% Cybersecurity: +163%
Robert Half’s analysis of emerging skills highlights how tech priorities like the security of IT systems and information, AI, ML and automation initiatives, and technology modernization are not just driving demand for skilled tech talent this year, but have been for several years now.  The growing need for cybersecurity skills may not be surprising, given that every modern business is grappling with cyber threats and protecting their data and systems. What we find notable, though, is that the demand for specialized skills to support projects related to AI and ML was increasing long before the recent AI boom. However, Robert Half’s workplace research indicates that recruiting in-demand tech pros is a big challenge for employers. Almost all technology leaders Robert Half surveyed (95%) said it is difficult to find skilled candidates.  For tips on how to overcome staffing challenges and bridge tech skill gaps in your organization, download our free e-book, Building Future-Forward Tech Teams.
Download a copy of Building Future-Forward Tech Teams from Robert Half for insight on how to address critical skills gaps in your technology organization so you can achieve your tech priorities this year, and beyond.