The tech industry is looking for skilled applicants, and the ratio of open positions to qualified professionals is disproportional. In the first 6 months of 2021, the IT employment market gained an average of 13,000 positions (Taplin 2021).
With many positions available in most parts of the tech industry, and a less than equal number of skilled professionals available, the search for tech talent has become quite the competition. In this article, then, we will:
- Analyze the tech talent shortage
- Look at how top tech companies are meeting the tech talent demand
- Show how to optimize recruitment strategies
The tech talent shortage
While it might seem more prevalent now, the tech talent shortage is not a new issue. As early as 2011, 56% of CEOs were concerned about the availability of tech talent. Since then, that statistic has risen to 79% of CEOs (PWC 2019). The COVID-19 pandemic only increased the tech talent gap, making the recruitment process even more competitive for companies. There are a few different reasons for the talent shortage in tech, including:
- Baby boomers are retiring – Baby boomers are retiring, and there are not enough skilled professionals to fill their roles. Many of these positions are higher level positions, and due to a lack of effective career pipelines in companies, it might be difficult to find skilled employees to promote. This leads organizations to look for talent externally, which is more competitive.
- There is a skills gap because of fast evolving technology – In order to stay skilled in the tech industry, professionals must continue to train in new technologies. Many companies lack the resources to consistently upskill their staff, resulting in a skills gap between employees. Additionally, individuals who wish to enter the tech industry might learn skills that are not up-to-date, and therefore are not eligible for many job listings.
- Difficulty finding qualified candidates – This leads to an issue many companies face – not being able to find qualified candidates. Now, each company sets their own standards for new employees. Some may require a degree, while others require a high school diploma or different certifications. Deciding on these qualifications will determine how large the pool of candidates will be.
- Lack of formal education among potential candidates – Requiring a college degree is becoming less popular in the tech industry, but some companies still require some sort of formal education. With individuals wanting to start or change their career, they might lack the resources to get a formal education before looking for entry-level positions.
How companies are meeting the tech talent demand
Because of the tech talent shortage, tech companies must get innovative with their recruitment process. Some of the top tech companies have approached the shortage of tech talent with different strategies. Even if you’re not a tech giant and have a smaller number of resources, you can still optimize your recruiting strategy to meet your tech talent needs with these suggestions:
- Implementing an employee referral program – Many tech companies use employee referral programs to find new tech talent. This might sound like an expensive practice, but it’s really not. In fact, Google has stated that offering referral bonuses isn’t actually effective. They found that employees won’t refer people to jobs based on the bonus they will accrue, but because they sincerely enjoy their work environment and want to suggest it to a colleague. Additionally, they use a “nudging” approach, so instead of asking if employees know anyone who would fit a specific job role, they ask if they know someone with certain hard skills or soft skills. This is an easy approach for any company to take as long as you have a desirable work environment.
- Offer competitive perks and benefits for employees – With the tech talent shortage, the paycheck is not enough for a candidate to choose to work at your company. In a 2018 survey among tech employees, Dice discovered that health benefits and the ability to work remotely were the most important benefits for tech employees. Additionally, 55% of employees cited professional development as the most important factor when choosing an employer (Zojceska 2020). While people think of tech startups and tech giants and might see perks being in-office snacks and catered lunches, what employees actually care about are simple needs being met and the opportunity to grow their career with their employer.
- Offer candidates space to grow within the company – As we stated before, professional development is the most important benefit to over half of tech employees. Offering opportunities for employees to grow professionally and train for new skills will help candidates with their employment decision. This will also help your company in the long run because upskilling your staff will ensure that your employees are up to date with different evolving technology.
- Create a STEM program with local schools – This might not be the easiest approach for smaller tech companies, but if you are able to partner with a school’s STEM program, they can refer skilled candidates to your company after they have completed necessary training. With things like internships and apprenticeships, students can even integrate with your company before they finish their program.
- Go above and beyond with the interview process – In a world where there is a tech talent shortage, the interviewing process is less of an interrogation of the job candidate and more of a way for your company to show the candidate why working for your company is a smart career move. Instead of just hosting the interview process with a series of questions, you might consider doing something to make the candidate feel special, such as offering a meeting with leadership or potential colleagues over lunch.
At Woz Enterprise, we know that the technology talent shortage is affecting the productivity of companies everywhere. Because of that, we started working with companies through our Registered Apprenticeship Program to deliver qualified talent while producing a sustainable pipeline of skilled talent within their organizations. To learn more about Woz Enterprise’s apprenticeship, train-to-hire, or direct hire programs, click here.
Taplin, Steve. “Demand for Tech Talent Forces IT Leaders to Adjust Hiring
Strategies.” Entrepreneur. 6 Nov. 2021. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/390705
“Talent trends 2019: Upskilling for a digital world.” PWC.
Zojceska, Anja. “How to Recruit Like Top Tech Companies.” TalentLyft. 20, Feb.