How Will You Fare in 2020’s Tech Job Market

A study focusing on IT in the year 2020 predicts many current tech employees will face a transition to external providers, training for new roles or layoffs. New jobs are likely to significantly outnumber reductions over the next seven years, but they’ll require new talents and retraining may not be sufficient, according to consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

Futuristic CityIn-demand will be experts who understand IT, digital technologies and business, as well as those experienced in sales and customer-driven applications, which will dominate app development over the next seven years.

The study is based on responses from 150 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of global companies. The report, IT 2020: Preparing for the Future, found that two-thirds of companies plan to invest more in IT between now and 2020, especially in sales and customer interactions.

According to the study:

Nearly 85 percent of respondents say they foresee a significant increase over the next few years. Almost 75 percent say time pressure for implementing IT projects is also increasing, with the always complex time-to-market function becoming the key performance indicator.

Sales- and customer-driven applications are becoming the main focus of IT investments, according to 61 percent of CIOs.

Improving processes and automating production, once IT’s main focus, are giving way to fostering customer relations via personalized marketing campaigns, data analytics, and online ordering systems as key IT functions.


Profiting From the Skills Deficit

Source: A.T. Kearney
Source: A.T. Kearney

The study reaffirmed that “there is always a need for experts who understand both IT and business, and that need is only going to grow.”

Already, there are not enough of those specialists to fill open positions and the study’s authors say that gap is getting wider, especially outside English-speaking markets,

If the skills shortage is not addressed, business development will stall, and time-to-market requirements will go unmet. EMEA countries appear to have the most serious skills gap. Germany and France have a huge qualification deficit in the IT sector.

In Germany alone, about 60,000 IT positions will remain unfilled until 2020 unless new efforts are made to attract and train business-minded IT personnel.

The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are in a better position, thanks to their access to qualified workers, including those from India who speak the local language.

The study’s implied advice to workers: Make sure you are highly qualified in both technology and solving business problems if you want to remain competitive in the job market.

CIOs Become More Important in Some Industries

At the top IT pay grade, the study found nearly 45 percent of respondents said they expect to have a CIO as a board member by 2020. Such a move, however, makes sense only in businesses and industries where IT is a key business driver.

According to our study, CIOs will more often (51 percent) be on the boards of telecommunication, media, and high-tech companies and financial institutions, where IT is a core business asset. In fact, Citigroup recently named former General Electric CIO Gary Reiner as an independent director and member of its board of directors. A smaller proportion of consumer and retail, process, and utility companies—where IT is mainly a support function—will have CIOs on their boards.

Source: A.T. Kearney
Source: A.T. Kearney

For the  CIO’s staff, however, the picture is less rosy. Outsourcing and offshoring are expected to continue to increase, with “mega-suppliers” like Accenture and SAP increasing their business as CIOs seek safe alternatives to in-house staffing. Jobs at those and similar companies will help offset losses in corporate IT shops.

Offshoring, meanwhile, may see a shift from Asian suppliers to those in Eastern Europe, who are closer physically and may create less of a language barrier.

Source: A.T. Kearney
Source: A.T. Kearney



9 Responses to “How Will You Fare in 2020’s Tech Job Market”

  1. JELaBarre

    How will I fare? Gee, my thought is to not *be* in the “tech job market” by 2020. At minimum should get out of the computer field (since “tech job” already means more than computers)

  2. Donna Hutton

    Me? Not so good! I’m getting too old to return to school to start a new career. So, in 7 years I hope to be working for myself. I don’t expect the U.S. economy to get better anytime soon. Those in charge are too self-interested to be of much use to the average American worker. Like myself.

  3. It takes more time to develop software offshore
    I worked on a project that was poorly done by offshore and delivered in 3 months
    It was done by one person and they had about 20 people working on other project
    I think I did the work of 5 offshore developers in India and they were from a big company
    The problem is that politics like this article dictate on economics

  4. I agree with David, in that further information is needed so we can answer the question, “What do I need to do?” Doom and gloom articles are great for warning of a change on the horizon, but should also contain solid recommendations of action to be taken. My first thought when I got done reading was, if I go get a business degree to go along with my CS degree, I will be fine. Is that accurate?

  5. I have a bachelors in business, Eco, and sociology and I have a technical school degree and just finished my MBA what do you think of my chances of getting a job is. I am an IT consultant doing desktop and help desk but been unemployed for last 6 months. The trend has begun all ready I guess.

  6. jelabarre

    My thought is that I want to be sure whatever is the last job tha anyone will hire me for is in someplace warm like Florida or Texas, so that when I’m living in a cardboard box on a street corner, it’s at least not snowing.