How many IT workers does it take to keep America running?

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IDC accuses the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) of being optimistic when it says there are 10 million IT workers in the United States. IDC puts the number at nearer 4.5 million, and expects it to grow to 6.5 million in 2004.

“The ITAA figure is not consistent with the amount of spending on IT in the United States,” said Michael Boyd, program manager for IDC’s Human Resourcing Strategies research. “As IT is necessary to conduct business in the US economy, however, it does seem reasonable that 1 in 14 workers needs some level of IT skill.”

While IDC and ITAA don’t agree on the number of IT employees, they do agree there are not enough to support demand. What’s more, the problem will get worse as emerging technologies accelerate the need for more workers with greater skills.

“The United States faces a seemingly insurmountable problem caused by a shortage of trained people to keep business growth continuing at the desired rate,” Boyd said. “This is a very serious threat to the US economy.”

While no one claims to have a solution to the problem, IDC does have some recommendations. For the short term, worker attrition must be curbed, and a boundary-less global work force should be encouraged.

“Improved learning and education tools are clearly the best long-term solution,” concluded Boyd.

IDC

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