While Amazon may have overlooked Minneapolis and St. Paul as a finalist for one of the two locations it selected for its HQ2, the Twin Cities is by many accounts one of the hottest technology talent markets in the U.S.
• One of the nation's 15 largest tech-employment hubs, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association.
• The top-ranked tech talent market in the Midwest, according to CBRE.
• An exceptional value to end-user firms looking for talent to lead their business technology efforts, noted Forrester Research.
These accolades are impressive — and, as Star Tribune's Neal St. Anthony reported in December, the state of Minnesota is in strong shape, having entered 2019 with a $1.5 billion surplus. "Minnesota's economic vitals are good, but we have work to do," he wrote.
At Genesis10, we see this play out every day in the Twin Cities and the other locations where we do business, and it may get worse before it gets better. LinkedIn reports that nearly 60 percent of employers struggle to fill job vacancies within 12 weeks, and this talent gap could grow dramatically by 2030.
In the tech sector, demand for emerging technologies "will exceed the supply of workers creating a shortage of 900,000 highly compensated jobs" by 2022, writes Wall Street Journal reporter Gary Beach in his blog.
To close the workforce gap, it will take strong collaboration between corporate America and our education system. But, in the short term, that will require creative approaches and investment to increase workforce capacity. We won't be able to settle for anything less.
"The Minnesota IT market is experiencing growth and competition," said Tara Wyborny, Genesis10's director of junior talent programs, based in our St. Paul office. Organizations that employ technology workers in the state are having trouble especially finding project managers and Java developers, according to the Minnesota High Tech Association. And the skill local businesses need most, according to the association, is Java development.
Staffing companies and consulting firms are looking at talent pools through a different lens — bringing back retirees, training them to upskill or reskill, hiring returning military veterans or developing junior talent — to increase the workforce in the short term. In February 2018, Genesis10 launched an intensive program that trains a select group of STEM graduates in Java and Python programming, which are foundational competencies key to supporting emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and other applications.
Before completing the program, many in that class received job offers from companies across the Twin Cities.
"Given the tight employment market for technology workers in the Twin Cities, Dev10 presents our clients with a local alternative to costly senior developers or offshore resources," Wyborny said.
Not only is this program investing in junior talent to build capabilities, but it is focused on retaining the talent in the Twin Cities to contribute to the thriving local economy.
Ami Sarnowski is chief innovation officer at Genesis10, Minneapolis.