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Study finds tech skills to be essential across every work sector in next decade

Every job will be a tech job by the year 2033, according to the nation’s CEOs and hiring managers. A new survey examining the skillsets and recruitment decisions of 650 C-suite executives, 100 hiring managers and 1,500 office workers unveiled the extent to which every role will require a level of tech knowledge in the next 10 years. Results showed 98% of C-suite executives feel tech skills are likely to be essential across every work sector in the next 10 years — with three-quarters of employees (75%) acutely aware that tech knowledge will be a must-have for them. And while we may have a decade until the tech skills necessity infiltrates previously non-technological working roles, the data showed a majority of workers aren’t waiting to be caught cold — 57% are currently upskilling (acquiring new knowledge or competencies) either through their employer or individual means. The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that provides free tech skills training programs for individuals and diverse talent solutions for enterprises, found younger generations increasingly more likely to say they’re currently upskilling: Gen Z workers (97%), Gen X (65%) and millennials (55%). What are employees currently trying to master? Unsurprisingly, tech is the most pursued upskill — 43% of upskilling workers polled said they were currently learning in some form about software, apps, artificial intelligence (AI) or coding and data science. "The data supports what I've learned from working over 20 years in this industry. Having access to a sustainable pipeline of talent trained in the right skills to succeed in business helps organizations remain agile, innovative, and ahead of the curve. While the data shows that 46% of employees surveyed are already using AI at work, it’s important to recognize that most organizations are not ready nor do they have the infrastructure needed to utilize this new technology,” said Damien Howard, Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer at Per Scholas. While 45% of c-suite executives still prioritize a four-year degree when hiring and over 93% require a 4-year degree to be hired at their organization, 44% see a lack of tech skills as a bigger concern. Hiring decision-makers are also increasingly prioritizing tech skills more than any others as they consider candidates. “Today's rapidly evolving landscape demands more than just employee upskilling,” said Howard. “It's imperative for CEOs, CTOs, CIOs and the entire C-suite to champion diversity and inclusion with the hiring of ‘skilled through alternative routes’ or STAR talent to remain agile, innovative, and ahead of the curve." When it comes to young leadership and tech, millennials (ages 27–42), who make up the majority of C-suite executives polled, could be why tech skills and adaptability are so important. This younger group grew up during the digital transformation, so they know how crucial tech skills are. The top tech skills employers are looking for? IT savvy (39%), AI (29%) and cybersecurity (28%). Technical knowledge and skills (63%) topped the list of keywords C-suite executives look for when interviewing job applicants, followed by communication (49%) and project management (43%). Non-C-suite decision-makers look for these same skills during the hiring process, with 57% also prioritizing tech knowledge. Interestingly, while 65% of C-suite leaders say they look for candidates with diverse thoughts/perspectives, just 42% indicate they consider candidates from different ethnic or racial backgrounds when recruiting. Howard added: “I firmly believe that bridging the tech talent gap through professional skills training isn't just about filling roles—it's about fueling economic growth and ensuring a diverse, inclusive workforce that reflects the multifaceted society we live in. By equipping individuals with the skills they need, we're not only opening doors to personal opportunities but also building a stronger, more resilient economy for everyone.” MOST COMMON UPSKILLS WORKERS ARE TRAINING IN ● Tech (e.g., software/ apps, Artificial Intelligence, coding, data science) — 43% ● Project management — 38% ● Customer service — 37% ● Graphic design — 36% ● Leadership — 36% ● Financial/budget management — 36% ● Marketing — 35% ● Research — 33% ● Communication — 33% ● Sales — 30% WHAT DO C-SUITE EXECS LOOK FOR IN JOB APPLICATIONS? ● Technical knowledge/ skills — 63% ● Communication — 49% ● Leadership — 44% ● Data — 42% ● Project management — 41% ● Relationship management — 40% ● Analysis — 39% ● Training/counseling — 36% ● Research — 32% ● Supervising — 29% ● Troubleshooting — 29% ● Writing — 23% ● Agile — 19% TOP THREE INDUSTRIES WHERE EMPLOYEES SAY THEY ARE UPSKILLING THE MOST ● Engineering — 79% ● Education — 71% ● Tech — 71% TOP THREE INDUSTRIES WHERE EMPLOYEES SAY THEY ARE UPSKILLING THE LEAST ● Hospitality — 49% ● Banking — 54% ● Medical/health — 58% Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of 650 C-suite executives, 100 hiring managers and 1,500 office workers was commissioned by Per Scholas between Aug. 2 and Sept. 19, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).