Technology Employment Guide Forecasts Steady Growth in Technology Job Roles to 2023

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According to IDC’s Worldwide Technology Employment Impact Guide, ICT full-time employment (FTE) will reach 55.3 million worldwide in 2020, an increase of 3.9% over 2019.

IDC expects ICT FTE to maintain this pace of growth over the 2019-2023 forecast period, reaching more than 62.0 million in 2023 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8%.

The Guide represents IDC’s best estimates of technology FTE by standardised role group, role, industry, region, technology, and digital transformation type (DX or non-DX). The employment-demand estimates are based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data from several primary and secondary sources which are used to determine a FTE (demand) forecast for each specific role by industry and by region.

The largest role groups are the applications group, containing eight roles related to software development and management, the other IT/technical group, which includes five graphic, multimedia, and Web design roles, and the technical support group with five roles. Together, these three groups will account for roughly 75% of all ICT FTEs throughout the forecast. The cybersecurity role group will see the fastest growth with a five-year CAGR of 9.6%, while the other IT/technical role group will remain essentially flat with a 0.1% CAGR.

Of the 40 technology job roles covered in the guide, three will account for 30% of all ICT roles throughout the forecast: software developer/engineer, user support specialist, and systems analyst. The fastest growing roles will be data scientist (13.7% CAGR), machine learning design/development/engineer (13.6% CAGR) and data engineer (12.9% CAGR).

The guide also looks at the impact digital transformation (DX) will have on skills and roles within an organisation. DX-related job roles are those that focus on extracting and developing the value and utility of information, making business operations more responsive and effective, accelerating workforce transformation and optimisation, applying an omni-present and multi-dimensional ecosystem approach to customer experience, and optimising products, services and experiences to deliver value to partners, customers and employees. Non-DX job roles typically focus on less strategic activities and primarily help to support day-to-day operations. Today, DX roles make up 40% of technology FTEs, but IDC expects this share to reach 52% by 2023.

“DX technology investment is the driving force behind IT investment,” said Craig Simpson, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis Group. “The IT skill-set needed to deliver DX projects is changing, with some of the fastest growing demand for IT roles centred around data and intelligence. We’re moving away from IT employees being focused around basic IT installation and maintenance roles and shifting toward roles that can build database architecture and functionality to derive intelligence and insights from an organization’s DX efforts.”

As industries fully embrace DX, new skills and roles are needed to shape technology roadmaps, and support and implement these changes. Discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing and banking are expected to employ the most FTEs for these DX efforts, as they look to technology roles in areas like applications and technical support to design services to enhance customer experience.

“The impact of DX on the structure and composition of an IT organisation is significant,” said Cushing Anderson, program vice president, IT Education and Certification at IDC. “As DX and innovation become a larger part of everyday IT operations, the IT organisation is going to adjust who it hires, how IT employees are developed, and the career progression of IT professionals. IT organisational change will be an organisational transformation as critical to the success of the enterprise as DX itself.”