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New survey results from Technology Councils of North America reaffirm the lack of tech talent available to employers.

A sign outside Amazon's HQ in Seattle shows the company's amazing appetite for new hires. Photo: Matt Shobe
A sign outside Amazon’s HQ in Seattle shows the company’s amazing appetite for new hires. Photo: Matt Shobe

TECNA, a non-profit trade association of regional technology organizations that includes the Washington Technology Industry Association, polled 1,763 senior U.S. tech and business execs and found that 69 percent of them perceive a shortage of tech talent available. One-fourth of them say the shortage is “significant.”

But while it remains difficult to find the right people, a majority of tech execs are increasing investments and have an improved business sentiment than one year ago. About two-thirds of them plan on hiring new staff next year.

The second-annual survey also indicated that 30 percent of execs feel as though the federal government does a “poor” job of representing the interests of the tech sector, compared to 16 percent at the state and regional level. In terms of preferences for policy action, 46 percent say they want government to focus on access to capital, while 41 percent would like to see work being done on STEM education at both the K-12 and higher education levels.

In Oregon, 73 percent tech execs said that the state’s research universities are the biggest roadblock standing in the way of company growth. In terms of numbers for Washington specifically, TECNA executive director Bob Moore said that the state’s response rate for the survey was not high enough to pull out similar data.

Locking down talent has been a well-known problem for tech companies, especially for startups who have to compete with giants like Amazon and Microsoft who can offer good pay and stability. Challenges with hiring seem to vary, whether it’s a culture fit issue or simply finding qualified candidates. And once talent is locked down, many startups continue to up the quality and quantity of perks to help keep employees happy and reduce turnover.

Previously on GeekWire: 12 ways to get and keep top talent, even on a bootstrapper’s budget

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