The Elephant in the Room
With Donald Trump now in the White House many in the IT & engineering staffing industry are nervously awaiting possible changes to the H-1B visa program.
During his campaign, Trump was quoted as saying the “H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.” He later added: “If I am president, I will not issue any H1B visas to companies that replace American workers and my Department of Justice will pursue action against them.”
There are some indications that President Trump is softening his position. Rather than outright opposition to the visa program, draft executive orders that have been leaked include an effort to implement changes to the lottery system that allocates new H-1B visas.
In addition to the Administration, there is also activity on Capitol Hill. In January, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), introduced a bill that would give priority to the highest paid workers. While favoring large technology firms, such legislation may have the effect of limiting access to H-1B visas for many IT & engineering staffing firms. Firms that are heavily reliant on foreign talent to the meet the needs of their clients should be watching future policy developments closely.
The Most In-Demand Jobs in 2017
High-Demand Skills Command Top Pay in 2017
Three high-demand skill sets will command top pay in 2017.
With IT security breaches occurring with increasing frequency, cybersecurity experts are in high demand.
According to Computerworld, 26% of companies with plans to add IT staff indicated their search would include looking for cybersecurity experts. With an average starting salary of approximately $120,000, wages are expected to increase 5.7% in 2017.
- Mobile Development
With the mobile revolution well underway, companies are continuing to implement their mobile strategy which includes developing apps and mobile-friendly websites. Demand for IT professionals in mobile development is likely to remain strong.
According to CNN Money, a Mobile Application Developer is the best job in America with a median salary of $97.1K and demand for the skill set to grow by 19% over the next 10 years.
- Data Science
Big Data rules the tech landscape. Because knowledge and insights provides companies in many industries a competitive advantage, individuals who can analyze large amounts of data are in high demand. According to Forbes, R is the language of choice for statistical analysis and data visualization. SAS is another common language for data analytics. Glassdoor, reports that data scientists are earning median base salary of $110,000 with pay expected to climb 9.7% according to Dice.
IT Jobs Grow in Q4; Engineering Growth Remains
In Q4 2016, the number of IT jobs continued to grow at a consistent but modest pace, adding 21,100 (up 0.4%) for the quarter. Although engineering employment was positive, growth remained anemic increasing by 4,900 jobs (up 0.2 %) from the third quarter.
Alexa: What’s the Demand for Software Developers?
The Amazon Echo Dot, equipped with the intelligent personal assistant Alexa, was one of the hottest gifts of 2016. The popularity of the Echo Dot marks a milestone with the ability to complete everyday tasks through voice recognition. Such a development suggests increased opportunities for software developers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in software development are expected to grow 17% from 2014 till 2024. This growth is characterized as “much faster” than the rate growth of other professions.
It’s not just the high-tech companies that are in need of software developers. In fact, almost every industry is becoming dependent on developers to write code. Some of the greatest demand is seen among business technology, ad tech and payment companies.
Given continued growth in technology, developers should remain in high demand for the foreseeable future.
Satisfying the Demands of the Millennials Workforce
It’s no surprise that companies are catering to Millennials in order to keep them around. According to Inc., “Sixty-six percent of Millennials expect to leave their organization by the end of 2020, and only 16 percent of Millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now.” So how are companies keeping the millennial workforce around? Simple: perks.
While Burton, the snowboard manufacturer, allows employees the day off to hit the slopes (if two feet of snow falls in 24 hours) and Pandora, the music streaming company, offers free-in office concerts, surprisingly, these aren’t the kind of perks millennials are seeking most. According to a recent survey by Forbes, Millennials have narrowed their list to four of workplace benefits and perks they prize:
Healthcare: The workplace might be evolving, but some things never change. A robust healthcare benefit remains critical.
Flexible Schedules: 35% of Millennials say they value flexibility in their schedule over pay.
Student Loan Repayment: With 44 million college graduates carrying $1.3 trillion in student debt, this benefit is increasingly attractive to this demograhic.
Career and Personal Development: Millennials want jobs where they can learn and grow. While exotic perks are often associated with millennials, the workplace benefits and perks of greatest value are similar to the preferences of prior generations.
Unemployment Rates Remain Low in Q4 for High Demand Technical Skill Sets
The unemployment rate for most IT skill sets is below the unemployment rate of the overall workforce; the unemployment rate for engineering occupations is more of a mixed picture. (see chart below)