President Trump’s speech this week made clear that his administration is going to continue to push for restrictions on immigration. For the tech world, that raises specific concerns related to holders of H1-B visas. According to recent data, 65,000 foreign workers and 20,000 graduate students currently reside, study and work in the United States courtesy of the H1-B visa program. As their fate remains uncertain, the tech industry is left facing a real “talent crisis,” according to new research from business software review firm G2 Crowd.

Even without the added pressure of immigration reform, there is a growing skills gap within technology. It’s becoming harder every day to find skilled developers and engineers who can keep up with the rapid pace of evolving tech. The new report, Crowd Views on Digital Transformation, shows that 51.2 percent of HR professionals surveyed have had difficulty filling open positions because of a lack of available talent. Of those, 81.7 percent report that the problem is getting worse.

When looking at specific jobs, IT/technical jobs and highly skilled specialists were the most difficult roles to fill, with “lack of experienced candidates” ranking amongst the most common underlying cause. G2 Crowd says that this is evidence many companies are still just starting or only in the middle of a digital transformation, increasing the demand for new types of specialized skills.

As more businesses proceed down the path of transformation, the demand will grow, “creating broad shortages that are accelerating as more businesses deal with changing competitive and operational requirements,” according to the report.

All this means it’s a good time to be a tech specialist. Businesses of all sizes are experimenting with ways to combat the shortage, including HR software solutions, trying new processes and making operational adjustments. Among both enterprise-size and small businesses, offering hiring incentives ranked high on a list of strategies. Enterprise companies also displayed a commitment to increasing retention efforts and implementing new recruiting software, tactics commensurate with their increased level of resources.

Small and midsize companies demonstrated a willingness to try new or alternate talent sources. This may point to big opportunities for the channel, as organizations with fewer resources turn from in-house talent to working with consultants and solution providers.

The report details seven specific areas where the talent crisis is most evident, and they all result from changes in software and technology used to empower the modern workforce:

  • Dealing with massive quantities of data and making it actionable
  • Connecting “things” throughout the organization
  • Automating and increasing productivity with AI-enabled applications
  • Collaborating more with embedded social tools
  • Working anywhere with a variety of mobile devices
  • Utilizing new user interface (UI) models, ranging from augmented and virtual reality to conversational systems
  • Consuming technology as services across the internet on cloud digital platforms

All of these are areas where skilled, experienced channel professionals can step in to fill the gap and save the day.