The Monday February 17 edition of the Washington Post came out with a very timely article called “Wanted: A New Kind of IT Specialist.” The piece quotes a 2011 McKinsey report which estimates that there is a shortage of something between 140,000 to 190,000 people with “deep data analytics skills.” The same study estimates that the United States lacks 1.5 million managers and analysts to make business decisions based on the findings of the “deep” analytic thinkers.
Certainly we here at SIIA appreciate that there is a complex ongoing debate on the relationship between high technology and the jobs market. Our view is that technology increases employment by increasing demand for high skill jobs throughout the economy. The McKinsey report is one more piece of evidence supporting that perspective.
Technology does change the skills that employers need in their workers. So, we think that economic and educational policy should be directed very much at matching skill development with needs. Therefore, we support, for instance, Teacher Data Literacy. The Data Quality Campaign recently came out with very interesting recommendations for state-level policymakers on how to enhance teacher data literacy.
SIIA has member companies that create jobs on a daily basis. And we know that those jobs tend to be high-paying and intellectually rewarding. We all have a part to play in ensuring that these positions get filled. Companies should provide appropriate training. Universities and schools needs to adjust curricula. And students need to hear the word: if they have the discipline to master deep data analytics skills, there is a job for them!
Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.