A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Tech Labor Shortage

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Great news for people worried about what the Associated Press has described as "a dramatic shortfall in the number of Americans skilled in computer programming and engineering that is hampering business."

Instead of rapidly rising wages indicating a shortage, wages for software developers are falling, according to a recent report.

From Computer World:

U.S. tech industry added nearly 64,000 software-related jobs last year, but as the workforce expanded, the average size of workers' paychecks declined by nearly 2 percent.

There are a number of possible explanations for the decline in pay, but a common one cited by analysts is simply that the new people being hired are paid less than those already on the job.

The average annual wage of all workers in the software services sector was $99,000 in 2012, about $2,000 less than the prior year, reported TechAmerica Foundation in its annual Cyberstates report.

The foundation is an affiliate of the industry trade group TechAmerca. It uses U.S. Department of Labor data to assemble its report.

I assume this will be a great relief to the folks at the Partnership for a new American Economy, who said Thursday in a statement they are concerned about "a significant gap between the kind of graduates the U.S. is producing and what the American economy needs today and in the future."

"U.S. companies are hungry for talent with degrees in STEM [Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering]—these jobs are increasing three times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy. However, these positions are the hardest to fill because of the dearth of native-born Americans with these degrees," PANAE said.

PANAE—try not to pronounce that as "penny," please—is backed by folks such as JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and tech entrepreneur turned New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Its new study predicts that the U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 high-tech workers by 2018.

Cheer up guys! The market price for tech workers is telling you we've got plenty.

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