A Look at Shifting Tech Talent Demand From Big Tech to Adjacent Industries

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a six-post series on the whitepaper, “Six Factors Influencing the Future of Tech Talent.

The demand for tech talent hasn’t dissipated – it’s shifted. While the recent layoffs have been worrisome for many, they do not represent the overall market demand. An analysis of open roles reveals 234,000 in IT overall vs. the comparatively small numbers of, for example, 11,000 laid off at Meta and 10,000 at Amazon.

The economy is experiencing a shakeup in open IT roles by industry. Major technology companies have never been the sole or largest employer of tech talent, but they’ve received the bulk of the attention.  They’re well-known brands, they pay well, and they are famous for offering lavish perks to employees. However, as the past few years of rampant hiring in Big Tech have slowed down (or reversed), labor markets are course-correcting, and other industries are taking on a greater share of that talent.

Industries investing in tech talent include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Manufacturing
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Retail Trade
  • Educational Services
  • Health Care
  • Public Administration

The Financial Services industry is looking for enhanced privacy and security to create stickier consumer experiences and improve process automation in areas such as trading.

Retailers are looking for improved efficiencies through better use of consumer and third-party data, such as the increasing use of technologies that can identify patterns and support new product development in e-commerce.

Manufacturing is leveraging technology in inventory and warehouse management and process automation.

Healthcare services are aiming to improve the patient experience through increased access and ease of use and provide greater peace of mind in safeguarding private personal data.

While in past years, the big names in tech have typically offered the most alluring compensation and perks, other industries are becoming increasingly viable.

The public sector is increasingly offering remote work with competitive salaries. The Department of Veteran Affairs, for example, is seeking 1,000 workers to modernize and revamp their software. Other departments, spanning multiple cities and states, are playing up the advantage of hybrid roles, job stability and mission-driven work to fill their thousands of open positions. And their efforts aren’t falling flat – many workers, recovering from the lay-offs and shake-ups of 2022 and 2023, are looking for more stable and reliable employers to grow with, while others are looking to make a bigger impact with their work.

Non-profits also offer compelling options for impact-focused tech talent. Opportunities can include projects such as: modernizing benefits software for veterans, revamping the web experience to provide civilians with better access to federal resources, promoting access to voting and designing innovative civic engagement technologies.

While there has historically been a significant chasm between compensation at public vs. private sector businesses, many public departments aim to dramatically reduce this gap and offer a benefits package on par with Big Tech.

In spite of all this, a labor shortage in tech remains – and it looms large over the growing investment that industries are making in IT and digital transformation. Gartner estimates that worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5 trillion in 2023. At the same time, they report that the vast majority of CIOs are concerned about talent attrition. And in a similar report from KPMG, executives list the following as the top three challenges to the adoption of new technology: 1) capable talent needs, 2) high recruiting costs, 3) skills deficits.

Employers need to play every card they have to maintain a talent advantage.

Reskilling programs, for example, support not only the learning and development needs of employees but also create internal mobility pathways. They can support diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) goals through their ability to integrate traditionally overlooked and/or nontraditional talent. All of this supports the employee experience that ultimately drives commitment and retention.

At Tech Elevator, we’ve seen a wide array of industries succeed with this model. Financial services clients like KeyBank created a program to reskill branch employees, so they could help build new digital experiences for the bank’s customers. Software clients like Niantic (the creator of Pokémon Go) worked with Tech Elevator on an internal apprenticeship program to accelerate their diversity programs. We’ve worked with retailers like AutoZone to reskill store clerks and warehouse associates, giving these employees a shot at a middle-class salary and a new career path.

There’s a convergence of factors in 2023 and beyond that will present major challenges for companies relying on tech talent for a competitive advantage. These also present huge opportunities. Download the complete Six Factors Influencing The Future of Tech Talent to learn more.

To learn more about how you can tailor your internal HR-sponsored programs to augment your talent pipeline while creating opportunities for your people, read about Tech Elevator’s solutions for workforce development.

Written by Paul Burani, Tech Elevator’s VP of Enterprise