Throughout the pandemic and moving into a post-pandemic world, the need for new IT professionals continues to rise, yet the pool of qualified candidates can’t keep up with the demand. Areas like cybersecurity, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain and automation are specific areas where there’s been significant growth in technology, resulting in the need for professionals that have up-to-date skills and knowledge to develop, deploy, manage and support applications.
The skills gap that we’re seeing is unprecedented and yet, a huge opportunity for IT professionals to broaden their skillset and become a hot commodity in this market. To fully capture what’s happening in the world of IT professions, we scoured a number of data sources and captured the state of the market, by the numbers:
The Global IT Skill Shortage
$8.4 trillion – The potential unrealized revenue by 2030 due to a lack of skilled talent globally if left unaddressed. 
Worldwide, there is a global talent shortage of around 40 million skilled workers. If left unattended, companies risk losing more than $8.4 trillion in unrealized revenue by 2030. Technology trends are making the biggest impact in this shortage, and areas like data analytics and web development will face the greatest need to fill positions over the next decade. With this shortage, organizations are feeling understaffed, leading to additional duties being left on skilled workers, creating burnout and a higher level of turnover than ever before.
531,200 – The number of brand-new IT-related jobs expected to be added by 2029 in the United States, an 11% growth from 2019, a rate much faster and higher than other industries. 
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology will add more than 531,000 jobs by 2029, with a large emphasis on cloud computing, big data and security.
$91,250 – The median annual salary for computer and information technology positions - a 2.18x increase from the median annual wage of all occupations, $41,950. 
On the U.S. BLS website, you can get a median pay scale for various IT occupations as of May 2020. The chart will give you titles, job summaries and education levels along with the 2020 median pay. The entire list provided for IT professions has a higher median pay than the median annual wage for all occupations.
65% - Percentage of Chief Information Officers surveyed by Harvey Nash and KPMG who agree that there is a tech skills shortage, and the hiring gap is hurting the industry. 
CIOs are making it clear that the tech talent gap might be larger than we’d expect. No matter how many great ideas come to the table, applications can’t turn into reality without the talent to fulfill those ideas. It’s also not just a single profession; it includes seeking individuals who know how to code, develop mobile apps, move to cloud-computing platforms and perhaps most importantly, security.
69% - Percentage of ManpowerGroup respondents who struggled to fill positions in 2020, with technology near the top of the list. 
Tech positions have proven to be among the top 10 hardest roles to fill globally. As a result, more than half of all surveyed businesses are hiring fully qualified tech employees, resulting in lower quality products and services provided to the market.
920,000 – Unfilled software engineer positions in the United States as of November 2019 and will exceed more than 1.2 million by 2026.
Even pre-pandemic, there was a reported software shortage of around 920,000 unfilled IT positions, largely in part to organizations feeling the need to quickly build out new departments. Even non-tech companies are requiring larger IT departments to fulfill cloud and cybersecurity requirements that will keep their business operating smoothly. Moving through and beyond the pandemic, that number will rise to more than 1.2 million open positions by 2026, with an estimated 500,000+ software developers leaving the market during that time.
65,000 – The number of college graduates each year who leave with a tech-related degree 
Given the current unfilled positions, the 65,000 college graduates who enter the workforce each year is only making a small dent. In many cases, graduates do not leave college with the “last mile” training to be fully employable in high-demand tech jobs. Colleges are often unable to keep up with today’s current needs, as degree curriculum often takes more than two years to change.
The Negative Impact on Cybersecurity Threats
86% - Percentage of CIOs that reported that their organization moved their workforce to remote working since March 2020. 
41% - Percentage of CIOs that reported additional security incidents since moving to a remote work environment 
These two statistics go hand in hand with one another. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of vulnerable home environments to capitalize on work-from-home insecurities. Even with security as a number one priority for most CIOs, when there is an 83% increase in phishing attacks and a 62% increase in malware attacks during the pandemic, there is bound to be an increase in security incidents, especially when not properly protected by firewalls or VPNs.
4 million – Current global shortage of cybersecurity-skilled jobs 
According to (ISC)2, there are more than 4 million unfilled cybersecurity positions, up from 2.93 million just over a year ago. This includes more than 800,000 in the United States alone. As a result, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe they have a cybersecurity staff shortage, their top IT concern.
51% - percentage of cybersecurity professionals who feel their organization is at risk due to staff shortages 
In perhaps one of the least surprising stats, more than half of (ISC)2 respondents believe they face moderate or severe risk due to staff shortages.
$1.3 million - The amount paid by the FBI to hackers who could help access the encrypted iPhone used by an attacker in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. 
Many might remember the FBI vs. Apple iPhone encryption dispute in 2015 and 2016 for the phone that belonged to one of the shooters from the San Bernadino terrorist attack. In order to access the encrypted contents of the phone, the FBI reportedly paid more than $1.3 million to an undisclosed hacker group to demonstrate how to bypass the phone’s encryption. Other groups, like Facebook have created a monetary reward system for hackers to catch security bugs in their system, a clear sign that cybersecurity knowledge is coveted and scarce.
How We Can Address the Tech Skill Gap
So what can we, as the IT channel, do to address this skill gap? For one, companies are looking to grow in-house talent by offering more robust in-service training. When colleagues are able to grow from within, turnover rates decrease, and companies and industries face less risk of losing tech talent. This also creates a large opportunity to cross-train existing IT professionals when it makes sense.
Secondly, until higher-level skillsets can be acquired, companies should be more cognizant of setting qualification requirements at the right level for the position to ensure as wide of a net as possible can be cast. This also becomes an opportunity to draw in and attract new workers from other industries or with tangential college degrees.
At Tech Data, we also want to help address the skills gap; our training experts at ExitCertified, along with the Tech Data Coaches program both have platforms, tools and mentors that will help your personal growth or strengthen your team’s skillset.
About the Author
Mike Fitch is a content marketing expert with more than 9 years of experience in B2B marketing, specializing in marketing automation, branding, social media, and content strategy. Mike currently serves as a Senior eMarketing Strategist for Tech Data’s Americas Communications team.
 US Bureau of Labor Statistics - https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
 Infosecurity Magazine - https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/cybersecurity-skills-shortage-tops/