Randstad Technologies: Seven Top IT Workforce Trends in 2017

Staff Report

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

From incorporating cybersecurity into practically every IT job to hiring older, more experienced workers, the IT workforce will change in 2017 based on seven distinct trends, according to Randstad Technologies, a leading technology talent and solutions provider. Based on the company's broad experience with mid-market and large enterprises, Randstad Technologies sees the IT workforce moving in the following directions:

1.   The Whole Package: IT Talent Must Have Cybersecurity Skills
The line between cybersecurity practitioners and IT specialists will begin to blur. Most IT staff will be required to have at least some expertise in cybersecurity. Experts now realize this is the only way to ensure that security is ubiquitous throughout networks and systems and that security gets baked in rather than bolted on after the fact. 

2.   High Demand for Mobility Skills
Mid-market businesses are constantly looking for ways to deploy sophisticated mobile technology. Whether for consumer-facing mobile applications or for managing internal workforce processes and resources, mobile developers will become some of the hottest talent hires in 2017.

3.   With Age Comes Experience 
Diversity in the workforce has been a major focal point of the tech industry over the past 10 years. While the emphasis has been on encouraging more women and people of different ethnicities to join the tech workforce, the definition of diversity will expand to include age and experience. Given the tech industry's tendency to hire young workers fresh out of college, the industry has traditionally overlooked the advantages of having older, more seasoned employees work alongside younger ones. In 2017 we expect to see companies place greater emphasis on making great hires of all ages.  

4.   Independent Workforce
The independent workforce trend is growing rapidly in this country – according to a recent study by MBO Partners, it's 40 million strong – and computer and IT are two of the top industries for freelancers. Due to the agile, project-oriented nature of technology work and the sustained technical talent shortage, client-side demand for freelance or temporary workers will continue to increase rapidly. Companies want greater flexibility, economy and efficiency from their workforce investments. We expect agile employees (contractor, consultant, temporary or freelance positions) to comprise as much as 50 percent of the workforce by 2019, allowing companies access to specialized talent and skillsets that fit their precise needs.

5.   Gen Zs Revive the Traditional Workplace 
The first representatives of Generation Z have just entered the workforce, and they are bringing a dramatic new energy to every workplace. Among their career direction and choices, STEM-related professions are some of the most popular. Personal technology also attracts them, and in order to satisfy GenZ's craving for social media engagement, companies should strongly consider incorporating wearables and virtual reality into a revived workplace.

6.   Automation in IT 
Aided by big data and analytics, enterprises will automate certain IT functions (e.g., cybersecurity, network monitoring). However, automation won't eliminate the need for people in the workplace. Lower-level tasks might be automated, but human intelligence will still be needed for higher-level analysis and decision-making in IT environments.

7.   New Roles to Keep Up with New Technology 
The IT field continues to boom with technological breakthroughs and innovation, and 2017 will be no different. Quickly emerging technologies such as virtual reality and the Internet of Things will mean more demand for IT workers with these specialties (Randstad US 2017 Hot Jobs). Along with the advancement of IoT will come the need to secure these devices – still a conundrum for technologists and policymakers. Enterprises will need to be agile enough to respond to shifting technology trends, both in their own workplaces and for their customers.