Delaware is in the midst of a “talent war,” according to employers surveyed for Tech Impact’s “Delaware Thriving: The Case for Investment in Delaware’s Tech Talent Pipeline” report.
The 16-page brief was officially released on Oct. 8 during the Developing Delaware: Conversation, Collaboration, Innovation event hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.
“We developed this issue brief to bring attention to the work that organizations are doing in Delaware to develop strong talent pipelines,” Patrick Callihan, executive director of Tech Impact, told Technical.ly. “We also wanted to help cultivate a more informed employer network that has the tools, connections, and insights needed to fuel tech recruitment, development and retention.”
Tech Impact’s findings are similar to what Technical.ly has found talking to Delaware tech industry professionals:
- There is a strong pool of entry- to mid-level talent in Delaware, thanks in part to programs like ITWorks (Tech Impact’s coding school) and Zip Code Wilmington.
- The pool for higher-skilled tech talent to fill in-demand positions is much smaller, leading to companies competing over the same candidates — especially within cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud infrastructure. “There aren’t currently enough trained technical people to keep up with our growth,” Maureen Padgett, CSC’s VP of technology told Technical.ly in February.
- Employers turn to in-house training, and express a need for hands-on training programs to develop a more robust mid- to high-level tech talent pipeline.
- Though Tech Impact’s data shows that Delaware’s median income for tech professionals is slightly above average, Delaware loses a lot of its homegrown talent to more lucrative opportunities in other states. “Before turning our attention to recruiting from other parts of the country, let’s focus on protecting the talent that’s right here in our state,” Callihan said.
- Delaware having its own identity is important, but it also needs to embrace regional opportunities.
The brief concludes with recommendations for Delaware, including an assessment system to place tech talent on the appropriate training program level, creating new programs geared toward mid-level talent that wants to move up to a higher level, improved placement programs, and more research and programs for attracting and retaining talent.