April 2021 Tech Upload
NEW Digital News
NEW Digital Alliance Tech Upload | April 2021
Thank You Alliance Members
As we begin to pull out of the Covid pandemic, and life slowly returns to a new normal, competition for tech talent has never been greater. With tech unemployment remaining chronically low, and remote work increasingly becoming the norm, companies are recruiting on the national stage like never before. We are already hearing from companies that are seeing upward pressure on salaries as they work to hire remote workers used to coastal salaries. Conversely, companies will need to look at salaries and benefits for their local roles in order to retain talent being recruited by coastal employers willing to pay a higher rate. Reviewing and updating Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices can also help with attraction and retention of employees.
Salary and employment data for IT workers underscore the challenges of hiring. The IT labor market has seen a positive development from 2019 to 2020. Tech salaries are up 3.6% overall and in Wisconsin by 9.6% to an average of $97,322 – higher than our neighbors in Michigan (+7.6%), Minnesota (+4.6%), and Illinois (-0.1%). Many job roles also saw significant gains with data scientist, DevOps engineer, and cyber security analyst all seeing double-digit increases. Unemployment remains low with the latest data from February showing an unchanged tech unemployment rate of 2.4% – down from it’s pre-pandemic level of 3% in January 2020.
Such a strong job market makes it increasingly important for companies to pay attention to having inclusive hiring and retention practices. Data shows there are many issues of lack of representation and discrimination among IT workers. While 47% of the workforce is women, they only fill 25% of computing roles – and of those 25%, just 5% are Asian, 3% are Black, and 1% are Hispanic. The lack of women in IT is, of course, not just seen in the workforce, in 2016 women only earned 19% of conferred CS degrees. Those in minority groups also perceive significant discrimination and are much less satisfied with their technology jobs. While 58% of women believe gender discrimination happens frequently, only 31% of men have the same perception. Similarly, 48% of Black IT workers have experienced racial discrimination compared to 30% of Hispanics, 31% of Asian, 23% for Indian, and 9% for white workers. Compensation, promotions, and respect for work continue to be challenges for all diversity groups.
These challenges present opportunities for forward-looking companies to implement policies, practices, and cultures that support a diverse workforce. The will is there among many CIOs with 72% in a recent survey stating that they prioritize diversity and inclusion in hiring, and 77% believing innovation increases with a more diverse workforce. There are many ways to become a more inclusive and welcoming workplace, but none are simple fixes – they require deep and sustained commitment on the part of everyone in the organization – especially among those in leadership roles who need to model and reinforce inclusive behavior. But establishing inclusive workplaces carries great potential rewards as it enables a company to attract talent from a wider pool and retain talent that otherwise would have left.
The NEW Digital Alliance has launched several initiatives that companies, and tech workers can use to support creating a more inclusive environment and attract talent from a wider pool. We have organized round table discussions focused on upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce to take on IT job roles. Many of those attracted to pursuing these efforts come from underrepresented groups. We also collect data to understand the IT landscape in New North. All three of our surveys on K-12, higher ed, and industry collect data on gender participation in IT in the region. We have recently launched all three so please check in your organization to make sure the data is being collected. This will allow us to direct efforts to understand the entire IT talent pipeline and work on expanding access and opportunity throughout the region.
Read More – many of the statistics cited above came from these recent articles and reports that explore tech careers and diversity:
- EQUALITY IN TECH: Technologist Perception of Race and Gender Equality and Discrimination
- CIOs double down on D&I to build stronger businesses
- The Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report
- Women in tech statistics: The hard truths of an uphill battle
Demand for talent continues to remain strong for Wisconsin and the New North region. National demand for tech talent also remains high, with the tech unemployment rate for February (2.4%) staying the same as January (2.4%), and lower than pre-pandemic levels of 3% in January 2020.