There are more technology job openings in a single day on Dice's career site than there are computer science grads ready to join American businesses, according to a report from Dice Holdings, which runs a career site for technology and engineering professionals. In California, that ratio is 3-to-1, the company noted, and the number of computer-related bachelor's degrees conferred has plummeted in nearly every state, creating a pipeline problem that leads from corporate America through college campuses to primary schools nationwide.
As outlined in their recent report "America's Tech Talent Crunch," 18 states and Washington, D.C., have shortages of local graduates when comparing job openings to associate's and bachelor's degrees conferred. Those states overlap critical tech markets, including Silicon Valley, Seattle, Dallas, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago.
These gaps have created a competition for talent, Dice said. Ann Hunter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explained there are easily two or three jobs for every computer science grad. Likewise, Dr. Tim Lindquist, a professor of computer science and engineering at Arizona State, said, "I can't tell you the last time I had a student, even some of our poorer students, tell me they had trouble finding a job."
Among the "shortage states," only Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C., awarded more computer-related bachelor's and associate's degrees in 2009 than they did in 2005. In the other "shortage states," degrees conferred have dropped anywhere from 14 to 68 percent, according to the report.
Now, an opportunity is upon the IT jobs market with technology recovering faster than the broader economy. An up cycle typically encourages more students to enter the field, similar to what was seen in the dot-com era, the report noted. "The question is, can corporations, universities and K-12 educators fulfill the long-term ambitions of America's budding technology professionals?" the report questioned. "'America's Tech Talent Crunch' is a snapshot of how businesses, educational institutions and employees are dealing with palpable shortages in real time," the report stated.
An earlier report from Dice found technology professionals endured a second straight year of nearly flat salaries: Tech workers, on average, garnered salary increases of about 1 percent (0.7 percent) to $79,384 from $78,845 in 2009, after receiving a similar increase the previous year.
Tech professionals expressed slightly more satisfaction over pay than last year, with 50 percent "somewhat" or "very satisfied," an increase from 46 percent of respondents who felt that way last year. Still, nearly four out of 10 technology professionals anticipate they could make more money if they change employers in 2011. Those professionals (24 percent) who felt switching employers would not increase their pay earned, on average, nearly $13,000 more than those who anticipate finding higher salaries elsewhere.
"Companies can no longer get away with paltry salary increases for their technology staffs based on the demand we are seeing for talent," said Tom Silver, senior vice president of North America at Dice. "The moderate increases in satisfaction levels indicate that tech professionals' concerns are being heard by some companies, but certainly not all. Retention is the key to driving additional contributions to the business from technology staffs. Employers that are reluctant to increase compensation or step up retention efforts will likely pay for their unsatisfactory ways."