Digitization = robots = job losses. This popular view of digitization in the workplace has many flaws, not least of which is that it doesn’t separate automation from “augmentation,” or innovations that create new markets and new opportunities.
But worse than that, a constant focus on digitization destroying jobs takes attention away from more important set of shifts changing the types of skills employees need now and increasingly so in the future.
Technology has become critical to the operations of nearly all a company’s corporate functions, customer channels, and to many end products and services. This places new demands not just on a company’s traditional technologists – the IT staff – but on all employees.
Four Trends in Technology Skills
There are four important trends that CIOs and all senior teams should be aware of as they think through their workforce planning, especially in asking themselves if they are creating redundant roles (because the skills exist elsewhere in the organization) or if one part of the company’s demands for a certain set of skills are cannibalizing the efforts of another team or function to hire the right people.
These four trends arise from looking at US job vacancies – in a CEB data set of over 30 million job descriptions – posted by companies between 2012 and 2016 and that asked for technology-specific skills and experience.
1. IT departments are ramping up integration and big data skills: Demand for skills and experience in areas like coding has only risen modestly, but demand for data integration and analytics skills and experience has increased by more than 60% and 80% respectively.
2. Functions outside of IT increasingly need solutions-design and user-interface skills: While many functions have expected employees to have computer literacy in the past, today’s job descriptions for roles in HR, Finance, and other departments include references to technology skills and experience in areas such as solutions-design and user-interface that were previously only found in the IT group.
3. Everyone wants more security skills and experience: High profile breaches and new types of threats like state-sponsored attacks have increased attention on cybersecurity. However, it may surprise IT and information risk leaders – perhaps pleasantly – to see the sheer volume of security-related skills in demand in Marketing and Finance job descriptions.
4. IT’s demands may be in competition with internal departments: In analytics and security-related roles, both IT and other business functions have more vacancies and are looking for a lot more people to fill them. Demand will almost certainly outstrip supply.