Despite some turbulence in the U.S. stock market, the nation’s economy continues to grow at a steady pace.
According to the Financial Times, a robust job market and still-rising house prices are fueling growth at an annual rate of 3.4 percent.
And unemployment currently stands around 3.7 percent — considered close to full employment.
All of this bodes well for tech workers, for whom 2018 was an excellent year in terms of wage growth and career opportunities, says Sue Wallace, executive director of national workforce solutions at Creating IT Futures.
Consider some of the year’s statistics about tech workers, found in CompTIA’s annual Cyberstates report:
- 11.5 million = net tech employment in the U.S.
- 194,000 = number of new jobs added in tech in the past year
- 2.8 million = number of postings for tech occupation job openings, with more than 200,000 postings occurring in emerging tech areas
- $112,890 = average annual wages of U.S. tech industry workers, more than double the average national wages
“The tech workforce is experiencing something that is highly unusual, which is when there almost is negative unemployment: There are more jobs than there are people,” Wallace said.
With more open tech jobs than candidates to fill them, employers resort to poaching —recruiting people who already are employed elsewhere in tech positions.
“The tech industry needs a bigger pool of job candidates,” Wallace said. “And that’s where IT-Ready comes in.”
IT-Ready provides eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based education and training completely free of charge. Participants include people from target audiences such as unemployed, under-employed and displaced workers; women and people of color who are under-represented in the IT industry; and veterans and their spouses.
At the end of the course, participants complete CompTIA A+ certification, with which they can find entry-level tech employment.
“IT-Ready really makes an effort to recruit participants from the three U’s — they are unemployed and not in the work force; they are under-employed and not earning enough to meet their needs; or they are under-represented in the tech industry, which includes women, people of color, and veterans and their spouses,” Wallace said.
Most participants have a “knack” for technology but lacked the money for the college education or IT certifications that opens doors.
“IT-Ready is giving opportunity to people who otherwise lack access,” Wallace said. “We are taking those individuals and creating a bigger candidate pool for employers.”