Over 250 tech industry leaders were asked which skills are in highest demand at their companies. Here’s what they said.

  • Skilled tech workers are in high demand, even as the industry undergoes major shifts.
  • Software development, data analytics, and engineering are among the most valued skills in the eyes of tech leaders.
  • Automation is expected to reshape the field in the coming years, but most industry leaders do not believe this will result in displacing workers.
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Tech companies will need to withstand looming industry-wide changes in the coming years – and tech leaders believe aggressively hiring more employees with technical skills is the key to adapting.

Over 250 tech industry leaders weighed in on the evolving tech workforce for the Consumer Technology Association’s Future of Work Study published earlier this week.

The leaders expect that emerging forces – like automation – will reshape the tech industry in years to come. But this doesn’t mean the demand for new hires will decrease: survey respondents overwhelmingly said they want to recruit and hire more skilled workers, and outlined the tech skills that are in highest demand at their companies.

Here’s what they said about the future of tech.

Tech companies are desperate to find candidates with the skills they want.


There’s a demonstrated need for skilled labour across the tech industry- four out of five survey respondents said they have a hard time finding enough candidates with the right skills to fill positions at their companies.

When asked what skills are in highest demand at their companies, the most frequent answers from tech leaders were software development (63%), data analytics (54%), engineering (52%) and artificial intelligence/machine learning (48%).

Cloud computing, computer networking, and cybersecurity are all the next-highest-valued skills, with about a third of respondents listing each as in high demand. All of these are consistent with last year’s survey responses.

Tech companies are recruiting new talent from a wide range of sources.


Recruiters are increasingly turning to online tools to find potential hires, with 67% of respondents saying they use hiring portals like Monster and Zip Recruiter and 62% saying they advertise job listings on social media, both up from last year.

The most frequent channel for job placements, however, is employee referrals, which 73% of tech companies said they use to find potential hires.

Working as an intern can also prove a successful path to getting hired, but only sometimes: 56% of respondents said they look to internship pools to find qualified candidates for employment.

Tech companies recognise the importance of non-salary benefits for keeping employees.


Once they have successfully recruited top talent, tech companies rely on non-salary benefits – both traditional and out-of-the-box – to keep workers around.

Health insurance is the number one benefit cited, with 91% of respondents ranking it as very important, followed by cash bonuses (89%, paid time off (88%), and flexible work arrangements (85%).

Tech companies are known to offer nontraditional perks to entice employees, which the survey confirmed: 88% of respondents said they offered out-of-the-box incentives, including planned recreational activities, open concept workspaces, gym memberships, and free food.

Technological advancements could reshape the tech workforce going forward.


New technology like more sophisticated software, artificial intelligence, and robotics could change the landscape of the tech industry in the near future.

However, 57% of tech leaders who took the survey said they do not anticipate their company will displace workers due to automation or other advancements in the next five years.

Of the 29% who answered “yes” when asked if they expect some of their employees to be displaced in the coming years, two-thirds said they plan to train those employees new skills and retain them at the company – a 16-point increase from those who answered “yes” in 2018.

Tech companies want “multi-knowledge” professionals with real-world experience.


The CTA survey also asked tech leaders to detail specific challenges they expect to face when it comes to hiring new employees.

One of the most common concerns was the growing need for employees with “multi-knowledge” of disparate fields who can excel with both technical know-how and softer skills like emotional intelligence.

Respondents also noted that there’s a disconnect between new hires, who may be coming directly from education programs, and managers who expect a certain level of real-world work experience.

You can read the full results of the CTA 2019 survey here.