Young People Like Tech but Not Enough to Work in IT

Judy Hartnett's picture
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If companies want to find a steady pool of future tech employees, they’re going to have to do a better job convincing teens and young adults that the job will be rewarding.

About 97% of teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 say they like tech. But only 18% of them expressed strong interest in a career in information technology, according to a recent study released by CompTIA. About 26% of male respondents said they are definitely interested in an IT career while only 9% of females said the same.

“We knew a gap existed but it was larger than we expected,” Tim Herbert, vice president of research for industry association CompTIA told CIO Journal.

If the industry thinks it’s difficult to find workers for certain kinds of IT jobs now, just wait a few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that computer and information technology jobs will grow by 22%, adding about 758,800 jobs by 2020. Workers in these occupations will be needed to develop software, increase cybersecurity and update existing network infrastructure, according to BLS. During that same period, the labor force is expected to grow only 6.8%.

It doesn’t take a math major to figure out that if tech jobs are going unfilled now, then we’re going to have an even bigger problem eight years from now. Part of the solution is to ameliorate some concerns younger people expressed. Some thought an IT career would be too boring, while others didn’t want a job sitting behind a desk all day and still others worried they weren’t good enough at math and science.

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