Exploring the Generational Shift in the Southern California Tech Industry

By Tom Kenaley on April 20, 2016 in Information Technology


The tech industry seems to have been welcoming rapid change since the day the first email was successfully sent between two different computers. The 45 years since then have seen a major paradigm shift in the way we work and communicate. However, it’s clear that as those people who experienced that initial evolution of technology move towards retirement and a new generation filters into the workplace, we are seeing another major paradigm shift. That’s why we’re so interested in exploring the generational shift in the Southern California tech industry.

Exploring the Data

On a national level, the US census reports that Millennials have officially outnumbered Baby Boomers and now total more than 25% of the nation’s population. In fact, a Deloitte study shows the Millennial generation will make up a massive 75% of the US workforce by 2025. Those stats alone should shock employers into realizing that their workplaces are about to undergo some major change.

On a local level, about a quarter of Los Angeles County is comprised of young workers, and a quarter of those are in professional and technical services. For the IT industry, this not only means a major upheaval in their technologies but also in their hiring, retention, and cultural strategies.

Interestingly, a UCLA Labor Center study reports that more than half of working Millennials are currently stuck in low wage jobs. Many of them are in debt thanks to the high cost of post-secondary education, but their lack of experience coming out of college – the entry level Catch-22 – prevents them from launching into higher income positions despite their education.

That’s an interesting notion, because demand for top tech talent is soaring and Southern California IT salaries are increasing every year. There’s clearly a gap here, and employers need to start looking at how they can attract, hire, train and retain Millennials.

Hiring and Retention

Many companies are experiencing higher employee turnover rates than ever before. It’s a result of a mass number of Baby Boomers who are reaching retirement age combined with the fact that many employers haven’t been able to successfully strategize in regards to Millennial retention.

So where do we start and how do we retain top IT talent – especially the youngest ones? It starts with understanding their needs and motivations. Millennials are a tech-savvy generation that is committed to personal development and lifelong learning. They live a BYOD lifestyle and are consuming digital content an average of 18 hours a day. Can your workplace accommodate that?

It means marketing an employer brand that shows you’re on top of the tech trends that can drive your business. It also means embracing a culture of development, implementing engaging training programs, mentorship opportunities, and leadership development opportunities. Inherent to these programs should be regular feedback and employee appreciation. This generation wants to be heard and wants to make an impact; ensure they have a voice in your organization and that they know the meaning of their role in the big picture.

Although there are more similarities between older generations and Millennials that many people assume, a thorough evaluation of your workplace culture, values and processes is critical in order to reduce any negative impacts from this generational shift in the Southern California tech industry.

Leadership Development

Another major impact of this generational shift in the IT industry is on the future of the C-suite. While this youngest working generation values development and learning, it’s likely they’re going to need some strong leadership development to prepare them for future executive roles. A Deloitte report studied how many Millennials don’t believe their employers are helping them develop key skills, especially on the technical side. This is a challenge that employers can overcome by providing mentorship programs and advanced training opportunities.

Another key point to keep in mind is that this generation perceives organizational hierarchy very differently than their predecessors. They are looking for a more cohesive organization with cross-functional roles, where leaders aren’t trained to merely climb the corporate ladder within one narrow functionality.  Is your organization prepared to take on this type of leader in its future business?

Accommodating the Generational Shift in the Southern California Tech Industry

With so many of Southern California’s Millennials underemployed, it’s essential that companies start implementing and executing strategies for developing their careers. It’s a generation that will make a massive impact on every business, so making the move to accommodate their skills, passions, and lifestyles is vital to future business success.

At KORE1, we’re seeing this generational shift transform the way companies recruit, hire and train their professionals. We work closely with clients to find the right talent that can sustain success even in this evolving business landscape. Let us know how we can help deliver IT solutions and staffing services for your organization. We’d love to help.

Contact us today.