Pre-Covid survey: Information technology remains top priority for Delaware employers

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Delaware Prosperity Partnership has announced results of a focus group survey aimed at building an information technology talent pipeline.

While launched pre-Covid-19, the findings of the analysis are relevant as Delaware businesses are facing strong demand for well-prepared IT talent, the organization stated.

Funding for the study came from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Findings

  • IT needs remain a key concern for Delaware employers, with IT jobs needed at all levels (entry to highly specialized) across IT domains (software, networks, cybersecurity, data management and tech support).
  • Bottlenecks in IT hiring are made worse by changing skills and the accelerated digitization of our economy during the pandemic.
  • Addressing IT talent needs will require significantly more focus on upskilling those already in the workforce, as well as continuing to expand educational pathways.

In 2019, Delaware employed 17,429 IT workers. About 10 percent of those positions are filled by workers commuting to Delaware. Two-thirds of IT jobs are found outside the traditional “tech” sector in areas of finance, healthcare, manufacturing and education to name a few.


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Delaware Prosperity Partnership commissioned the Austin-based firm TIP Strategies to conduct the tech talent profile — assessing the current and anticipated tech job market in Delaware, the state’s supply of qualified applicants and the current educational and non-profit capacity to meet the demand. The analysis included roundtables, interviews and work sessions, with more than 50 participants from Delaware businesses, nonprofits, education and workforce development in all three counties.

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From December 2019 to February 2020 alone, about 5,300 IT job openings were posted by Delaware companies. Since then, in addition to sustaining tech needs in Delaware’s robust business and financial sectors, the pandemic has accelerated the deployment of IT strategies in sectors like healthcare and education and even redefined digital needs in industries such as manufacturing and agriculture.

Demand for talent remains strong

“The demand for tech talent in Delaware has never been stronger,” said Kurt Foreman, CEO of Delaware Prosperity Partnership, the public-private partnership that leads the state of Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses.

“With this program, Delaware distinguishes itself as one of the first states in the nation to bring stakeholders together to strategically envision how a diverse tech talent pipeline will advance our economy,” said Foreman, who noted that Delaware stakeholders are grateful for JPMorgan Chase’s leadership in investing in Delaware’s workforce and excited by the potential the analysis reveals.”

DPP and TIP are working collaboratively with stakeholders statewide and aim to present a plan in early fall.

The plan will provide the foundation for an IT talent strategy that enhances the competitiveness of Delaware industries while creating career opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

The plan also is expected to build upon successful, innovative community-based working models already helping to feed Delaware’s tech talent pipeline, including those at Delaware Technical and Community College, TechHire Delaware, Zip Code Wilmington, Code Differently and Year Up Wilmington, as well as the Delaware Pathways IT career programs currently offered through Delaware public schools and the new FinTech Center at the University of Delaware.

“Delaware is distinguished by the depth and breadth of its businesses, and we’re ideally positioned to be thought leaders in developing an intentional strategy to bring more diversity into the tech talent pipeline,” says Tom Horne, Delaware Market director at JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with Delaware Prosperity Partnership to advance career pathways in tech and promote inclusive economic growth.”

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