As CompTIA reported in its 2018 IT Industry Outlook, there is an emerging idea in the tech work force: 'new collar' jobs.
As coined by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, new collar jobs are positions designed to be filled by people without bachelor's degrees. These workers develop the skills needed through apprenticeship, vocational schooling, or on-the-job training. Instead of hiring someone with an extensive resume and impressive diplomas, tech companies are shifting their focus towards prospective employees with the capacity to learn, adapt, and communicate. Yes, they should come in with relevant knowledge, but their soft skills are key.
This concept is in response to the increasing number of open positions in the tech industry. This is not the only sector facing this issue, but tech is where the 'new collar' philosophy has taken root.
Why are these positions open? Unfortunately this is because of the skills gap; new collar jobs require more education than blue collar jobs but less traditional education than white collar ones. A four-year bachelor's degree is too broad for these technical positions, but they require more training than traditional high schools provide.
Technical and vocational schools fit the bill, but they lack public support. A nationwide survey in 2014 revealed that only 21% of high school students were considering career or vocational schools. By comparison, about 67% of high school graduates enroll in college. Choosing career and technical education (CTE) is not the norm, but if their student populations do not rise then businesses will continue to face major problems.
More than half of CEOs see the skills gap as 'already problematic' or 'very problematic.' The solution to this issue is simple in concept but complex in practice. CompTIA states in their aforementioned 2018 IT Industry Outlook:
"It will take time and an ongoing demonstration of success in building a new collar jobs pipeline to cultivate buy-in from students, parents, and employers."
Apogee IT Services is one of the employers taking on this challenge. According to Managing Director Paul Cronin, Apogee hires based on the three A's of talent acquisition: attitude, aptitude, and ambition. Prospective employees must have a positive attitude; ready to learn and adapt to the MSP space. They should have technical experience, preferably from a CTE such as Pittsburgh Technical College. They have the aptitude for the work ahead, competent in IT management. Successful applicants then must have a desire to grow, succeed, and develop skills beyond their desk. They have ambition to take themselves and their company to the next level.
These are the new collar workers. They are one of the driving forces behind the booming tech industry. New collar jobs are abundant and vital to a successful future.
If you're part of this evolving workforce and possess the attitute, aptitude, and ambition mentioned above, we want to hear from you. Learn more about our career opportunities below: