Unemployment rate for tech industry is under 3%

The national unemployment rate for technology jobs dropped to 2.8% in April, following a spike earlier in the year, according to a May 3 report from CompTIA.

Based on an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, technology companies added 4,280 workers in April. At the same time, tech jobs throughout the economy dropped by 20,000 in April, marking a .3% decline among the 6.2 million tech jobs nationwide.

That extremely low unemployment rate could spell trouble for employers still scrambling to find tech talent; such low rates can spike wages and cause general productivity issues as employees struggle under heightened workloads, various analyses have said. 

“Employers and job seekers continue to navigate a shifting labor market,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, said in a statement. “Skills-first approaches to hiring and talent development are even more important against this backdrop.”

Overall, job growth occurred mostly in technology services and software development, followed by cloud infrastructure. In addition, cloud infrastructure and data processing and hosting jobs have grown in 9 of the past 12 months, while positions in tech and software services have increased in 10 of the past 12 months.

Posts for AI or occupations requiring AI skills accounted for 11% of tech job postings in April. Beyond that, positions in all emerging tech categories rose to 26%.

Notably, 46% of active openings in April didn’t specifically require candidates to have a four-year degree. The percentages were even higher for certain positions, such as network support specialists (86%), IT support specialists (73%), network and systems administrators (55%), web and UI/UX designers (51%) and database administrators (48%).

As skills-based hiring becomes more prevalent, Udemy has reported a surge in demand for AI, IT and leadership training. Workers want to learn how to apply new tech skills, as well as improve “human” skills that tech tools can’t replace, such as active listening and customer service, the company reported.

Although hiring managers have reported difficulty with filling tech roles, employers may have more options than they realize, according to a report from ManpowerGroup subsidiary Experis. Companies can find talent through customer or vendor networks and upskill their workers through training, apprenticeship and other models.

Upskilling may be particularly useful in areas with the largest tech skills gaps, such as cybersecurity, cloud and software development, according to a Pluralsight report. Compared to hiring, upskilling can also save time and money while filling skills gaps, the report found.