In February 2020, the Capital CoLAB, an initiative of the Greater Washington Partnership, partnered with McKinsey & Company on a tech talent market diagnostic of the Capital Region. The findings are hard to ignore: without expanding learners’ and workers’ access to the tech talent pipeline, close to 60,000 tech related positions may go unfilled annually by 2025.

The Partnership’s early labor market research defined “digital tech” using a list of 20 occupations. As we consider a growing body of research on automation and its implications for the workforce (e.g., work from McKinsey & Company and Brookings Institution), as well as input on hiring trends from Partnership board companies, we realize it is important to understand tech talent using a broader lens. In our latest analysis, the tech workforce is defined more in terms of tech creators and tech users, which has implications for how we think about the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed most in the Capital Region.

This approach seeks to understand the ever-evolving demand for tech skills beyond the IT world. By looking at both “tech” (occupations that develop technology) and “tech adjacent” (occupations that use technology extensively), we can better align real demand and supply while developing strategies to prepare the next generation of workers in our region. With this occupational framing as the foundation for our analysis, various findings emerged:

The Capital CoLAB (Collaborative of Leaders in Academia and Business) is a first-of-its-kind alliance of university and business leaders who have come together to take action to strengthen the Capital Region. The CoLAB is currently working to enhance digital technology education through the development and expansion of the Partnership’s Digital Technology Credentials.