Where are all the tech workers? IBM shortfall reflects struggling industry

IBM’s failure to fulfill its promise of creating 800 jobs this year is an unsurprising reflection of a local technology sector that struggles to recruit and retain workers, experts and industry leaders say.

The company has so far created 572 jobs, well short of its goal. But the Gov. John Bel Edwards administration extended the deal for two more years, giving IBM another chance to meet the 800-job mark.

“Am I surprised? No,” Research Park Corporation CEO Byron Clayton says of IBM’s struggles. “We feel the (workforce) shortage. The shortage exists.”

Louisiana—and specifically Baton Rouge—has a dearth of qualified tech workers, according to numbers from Emsi, a firm that provides labor market data. Baton Rouge—by one metric, the number of software developers and programmers—has just one-third of the workers typically found in a comparable city.

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