Trucks at Work
Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner

Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner.

Will a lack of technology skills hamper trucking?

There’s a growing lack of technology skills across the American workforce, according to a new survey conducted by DeVry University, both in terms of “hard skills,” such as computer programming and web page design, and “applied” technology skills such as data analysis.

And it’s the latter deficit, the shortage of “applied” technology skills, that could confound trucking to a degree – not in the least as the industry becomes ever-more reliant on Big Data to not only keep efficiency high but allow motor carriers become more profitable in the process.

“The tech skills gap is a well-known issue among both educators and employers,” noted Alexandra Levit, chair of the Career Advisory Board (CAB) DeVry established back in 2010 to look into such issues.

“However, in addition to the shortage of hard tech skills such as computer programming or web design, we discovered a growing concern among employers over the lack of applied tech skills,” she said. “Having applied tech skills refers to an individual’s ability to use technology for the benefit of an organization, not necessarily the ability to deploy specific technologies themselves. Employers are seeking individuals with these abilities more and more, but not enough are graduating with the proper skill set.”

DeVry’s survey of 500 company leaders found that 71% agreed it is “rare” for an employee to possess all requirements outlined in a job description, and although “gaps” are present across varying skill areas, nearly 60% said it was common for job applicants to lack the technology skills important for success in their career, with half reporting a tech skills deficit in their current employee base.

When defining exactly what employers are looking for within the tech skill deficits, four in five agreed that for technology to be effective, it must integrate people, process, data and devices – which reflect the philosophical underpinnings of trucking technology, if you ask me.

Here are some other findings from DeVry’s survey:

  • Some 77% of those polled said a company’s “competitive advantage” lies in using applied tech skills to solve problems, and they desire a workforce well-equipped with the proper skills to do so.
  • Proficiency with data analytics – which refers to qualitative and quantitative techniques and processes use to derive business insights from behavioral data – is an example of an increasingly sought-after skill in numerous employee roles.
  • An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed their organizations do not have enough of the following “hard tech” skills: network and information security (80%), cloud computing (76%), web architecture development (73%), internet of things or “IoT” skills (72%) and artificial intelligence (63%).

Trends to keep in mind as trucking continues to beef up its technological expertise.

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