Editor’s Note: In Search of a Workforce
As a generation of employees heads to retirement and technology keeps advancing at breakneck speed, how are associations fostering new talent?
When you cover associations every day, as we do at AssociationsNow.com, interesting patterns and recurring themes emerge. One of the strongest drumbeats we’re hearing now warns of the urgent need to develop a workforce prepared for the future. Associations in starkly different professions and industries—from construction to landscape architecture to marine industries to senior living—are racing to address a talent shortage that must be remedied if their members are to survive the next decade, let alone the 21st century.
The backstory varies, of course, but in most sectors the shortfall is linked at least in part to rising retirement rates among baby boomers and the rapid pace of technological change. And being enmeshed in the tech industry doesn’t make you immune—in fact, there, the challenge is especially acute.
As Emily Bratcher learned in interviews with leaders at associations representing app developers and the automation industry, an insufficient pipeline of skilled workers is leaving many jobs vacant. “In the tech industry … we have 250,000 unfilled positions with an average salary of greater than $92,000 a year,” Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT: The App Association, told her. An even more staggering number comes from Charles Eaton, executive VP at CompTIA: The IT industry created 2.5 million new positions last year alone. His organization is looking for the “secret sauce” that will attract young people to pursue the education they need to enter the field, starting as early as middle school.
In this, our annual technology issue, Emily’s story looks at how a handful of associations, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, are working to help develop tech-savvy talent. Whether your organization represents robotics engineers, landscape architects, boat builders, or (in ASAE’s case) association professionals, the global economy is counting on you to help pump that vital fuel into the workforce pipeline.