Tech employers focus on training for IT pros

Report: Large enterprises are looking toward robust hiring and developing skills for IT teams this year.

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IT teams are dealing with rapid technology changes with increased retraining and skill development, according to a report by trade association CompTIA.

Seven in 10 HR professionals surveyed who work with IT personnel said they plan a substantially increased effort to help workers re-skill in the coming year, with larger firms reporting a particularly strong emphasis in that area. Nearly 80% of IT HR professionals employed at such companies rated re-skilling or up-skilling as “more important” for the coming year, in contrast to 68% at medium-sized firms and 52% at smaller businesses.

These numbers mark a changed relationship between employers and tech, according to CompTIA director of education and ed tech Stephanie Morgan, adding that the pandemic helped force companies to rethink the way they deal with their workers. “Businesses have realized they have to talk about people like they’re people, not like they’re assets,” she said.

Larger firms were also more likely to report strong intent to hire new IT staff soon, with 74% saying they planned more technology hires in the coming year, compared to less than half of smaller companies, according to the report.

Some of the new hires might need different qualifications from their predecessors as businesses focus more heavily on industry certifications and less on traditional college education. The study found that 77% of tech HR professionals supported the trend away from requiring four-year degrees even if they differed on whether they thought the trend would continue.

They approve moving away from requiring four-year degrees in part because of a trend toward workplace agility and a focus on skills and performance, as well as growing evidence that candidates without such degrees can be highly successful. Yet institutional resistance to change and a view that candidates with four-year degrees represent safer hiring choices were cited as reasons why the trend’s future is less than certain.

The study also found that tech hiring organizations reported being likely to increase diversity and inclusion initiatives over the course of 2021, with larger and more prominent organizations leading the way. A about two-thirds of large firms said they plan to pursue new diversity and inclusion initiatives, compared to 47% of medium-sized and 35% of smaller companies, but overall, the number of companies planning more work on diversity increased across the board.

“There’s some real momentum toward actually doing something,” said vice president of strategic workforce relationships Amy Kardel. “The problem is, if it was not easy in good times, it’s not easy in a pandemic either.”

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