As the nation's largest technology employer, IBM is not the only company facing a global skills shortage. Nearly 86% of employers are struggling to identify qualified workers in critical areas such as cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence and cognitive business. Demand for cybersecurity experts are expected to increase to 6 million global jobs by 2019 and the number of unfilled jobs is also expected to rise: 1.5 million jobs by 2019.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is one of more than a dozen U.S. business leaders serving on the Strategic and Policy Forum, an advisory board formed by President Donald Trump which focuses on job growth. As the only tech CEO in the group, Rometty offered a suggestion to fill the growing void in employment while simultaneously coining the industry buzzword of 2017: "new collar" jobs. "Lasting job creation will require an understanding of important new dynamics in the global labor market. This is not about white collar vs. blue collar jobs, but about the “new collar” jobs that employers in many industries demand, but which remain largely unfilled."
These "new collar" jobs would be based on applied skills obtained through vocational training, or possibly unconventional methods, as opposed to a university degree. Cloud computing is one such field experiencing a skills shortage. This job is typically filled by workers who are self-taught or obtained their skills through training and/or certification programs.
Rometty is also advocating for the reauthorization of the "Perkins Career and Technical Education Act" (currently under review in the Senate) to stimulate technical and vocational education.
IBM recently announced plans to invest $1 billion to retrain and develop the skills of their U.S. workforce over the next four years.