Tech recruiting in this highly competitive age

December 28, 2023
Author: Brandon Bowman
Blog | IT Staffing | Thought Leadership

Recruiting top talent can be challenging. One survey of more than 1,500 senior executives worldwide revealed that 87% believe their companies aren’t equipped to address the skills gap. 

With the rapid advancements in technology, the demand for skilled IT professionals has skyrocketed, meaning finding talent—specifically tech recruiting—comes with unique challenges for companies that need help identifying and hiring suitable candidates.

The COVID-19 pandemic already reshaped how many firms go about hiring. Customers and employees alike demanded more remote access to what were once routine in-person services. Those increased demands for digital services meant that skilled IT professionals became a hot commodity in tech recruiting as companies adapted to the new reality. 

This led to a highly competitive job market where businesses have to compete for the attention of a limited pool of candidates. The demand for skilled and experienced technology professionals has never been higher, and organizations are under immense pressure to find the talent to deliver on projects.

What is making good IT workers so hard to find?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to why some companies struggle to find and retain good IT workers. But there are some common things to consider.

Inability to train job seekers

  • Many companies worry they’re spending money on training and skill-building only to see employees leave and take that knowledge with them, thus wasting their investment. But offering development and training opportunities is attractive to job candidates.  
  • What’s more, workers without proper training produce less work at a lower quality. Less training means less knowledge, which often leads to lower performance (and, let’s face it, less profit). It also leads to work that is often filled with errors and suffers in quality. 

Not understanding your turnover

  • Generally, there are four leading causes of turnover: Lack of growth and progression, inefficient management, inadequate compensation, and poor workplace culture. 
  • If turnover is high, the immediate consequences include loss of institutional knowledge and experience, poor morale for those left, and loss of belief in the team’s competence and ability to perform.

Unaddressed generational shift

  • Baby Boomers, who fill many highly skilled tech talent roles, are retiring in massive numbers. Younger employees may lack the skills and experience to fill more senior-level positions.
  • Addressing your organization’s potential exposure to the generational shift is crucial. In addition, understanding your workforce’s demographics and tracking employee retirement is fundamental to strategic workforce planning.

Tech improving faster than job seekers are learning

  • Organizations must change in five key areas—mindset, organizational setup, work-activity allocation, workforce composition, and C-suite and HR understanding and functions. 
  • Ask yourself if you employ people capable of adapting to the constantly evolving nature of technology. IT professionals must stay current with the latest trends, including the onslaught of emerging technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
  • Can your organization adapt to more demands for hybrid and remote accommodations? Companies may need to rethink their corporate structures and approach to harness the new technologies to their full effect.

Missteps in tech recruiting are costly

The hiring process itself is a challenge. IT professionals are often in high demand—with data scientists, IT architects, and security engineers among the most challenging positions for organizations to fill. 

This usually means that potential employees often have their pick of multiple offers to consider. Knowing who you want so you can make quick, efficient decisions to secure top talent is essential. It also means your organization must be willing to offer what seems like exorbitant salaries and attractive incentives. 

Salaries often bear the brunt of the blame for low retention. While that is a factor, the World Economic Forum’s “The Future Jobs Report 2023” says that nearly half of the organizations surveyed identified skills gaps and an inability to attract talent as the most significant barriers that keep them from transforming their industries. Furthermore, those companies said improving talent progression and promotion processes are crucial to increasing the availability of talent to their organization, even more than offering higher wages and effective reskilling and upskilling.

Recruiters targeting only a narrow group of candidates and workplace environments that don’t offer the flexibility of remote work will find themselves at a disadvantage in tech recruiting. 

Importantly, word of employee mistreatment or toxic work environments will repel people from specific organizations.

Tech recruiting requires creativity

Attracting top talent in the IT industry requires creativity, meaning organizations must stay ahead of the curve by adapting to emerging trends. That includes going out to find the talent of tomorrow.

Partnering with top colleges and universities is vital to improving course offerings that meet current and future IT skill sets. Additionally, implementing graduate referral programs can help organizations tap into existing talent networks and attract new hires. Exposing students to digital capabilities through internships and apprenticeships can bolster talent attraction. 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to neglect the current talent and culture you employ while seeking future talent.

Retaining employees in a competitive market means offering benefit enhancements such as remote work options and flexible schedules. Organizations should also invest in broad-based digital training to ensure employees have the skills to succeed. 

Investing in managers’ coaching skills is also essential. As remote work blurs the line between work and home life, managers and supervisors require tools and training to understand better the technology and culture shifts necessary to get the most out of at-home workers. 

Attracting talent means organizations must do some soul-searching. In order to thrive during a period where the industry is experiencing the pains of a wide talent gap, organizations must take a long, hard look at what their employee experience provides and how they value the people who work for them.

A better culture and a better employee experience, coupled with the right strategies, will amount to greater success for organizations that are tech recruiting in this highly competitive, ever-evolving environment. 

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