Defining today’s IT staffing challenge

Defining today’s IT staffing challenge

As technology advances and more organizations digitize, employment opportunities have proliferated in parallel. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs for professionals who work as software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers for example are expected to increase by 22% in the 2020s – a much faster rate than all other occupations combined. 

New types of jobs have also been created to support advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and the cloud architecture that today’s computing environment is built on. 

There certainly was little need for app developers, data analysts, or cloud architects 15 or 20 years ago. Not only are more tech jobs popping up in exciting new areas but these jobs are no longer limited to the technology industry. Healthcare, retail, education, and several other industries are digitizing and are in need of IT professionals to support this rapid transformation. 

The overnight transition to remote work and subsequent normalization of fully remote or hybrid working models over the last two years offers a great example of just how fast things are changing. 

Suddenly, companies had to ensure that their employees could seamlessly access corporate networks from home and collaborate with colleagues while protecting the organization from aggressive cyber attackers intent on gaining access to networks to steal data. 

Speaking of cyber attackers, they are working around the clock to create highly-sophisticated malware to compromise digital technologies before companies have the systems to adequately defend themselves or governments can introduce regulations to thwart their efforts. 

Both the public and private sectors are in a race to keep pace with the evolving threat landscape and qualified IT professionals are urgently needed to protect these systems. 

Adopting new technology solutions also made it possible for many companies to introduce innovative products and services to spur growth and increase engagement with customers. 

Philips, for example, brought something as simple as an electric toothbrush into the digital age when it created an app that helps parents monitor their child’s brushing habits – via a Bluetooth connection to the toothbrush – shares brushing tips, and gets kids excited about brushing properly. You name it, and there’s likely an app for that. Behind all of these innovative applications are IT teams that are central to bringing these ideas to life.  

These additional tasks and responsibilities have dramatically increased workloads for existing staff – and unfortunately burnout as well. Researchers at the ​​Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences in India found a significantly high prevalence of burnout among IT professionals who were working from home during the pandemic. 

This study simply validated what people have been observing among their colleagues. Companies need to address this issue by hiring more IT support to reduce workloads, focus on specific projects, and to offer expertise in emerging areas of technology. 

Finding the IT talent your company needs isn’t as simple as posting a job listing. Demand for qualified IT talent is much greater than the availability of workers. This gives job seekers more options and the ability to select jobs that meet all of their criteria. 

While companies are raising salaries to attract the right talent, it isn’t a job seeker’s only consideration. Other factors like flexibility, career development opportunities, and diversity are equally important to them. Even with all of these offerings, it can still take months to hire the right people for the job.  

Factors affecting hiring in the tech sector 

While a supply and demand imbalance in the talent market is a significant challenge for recruiters, it is far from the only issue impacting talent acquisition in technology. Let’s take a closer look at some of the nagging issues facing IT recruiters. 

The first, and probably most obvious, issue is the growth of remote working. During the pandemic, working from home gave many people the opportunity to relocate from traditional technology hubs like San Francisco in favor of other parts of the country with a lower cost of living. Now rather than sourcing the best talent from a local area, recruiters must look nationally and these candidates are not willing to compromise their Silicon Valley salaries. 

As Morning Brew notes, quoting a Datapeople report, “Between 2019 and 2021, job listings at tech companies headquartered outside of Silicon Valley grew by 45% in Miami, 38% in Salt Lake City, 36% in Austin, 25% in Atlanta, and 15% in Detroit.” This is not only increasing competition for smaller tech companies but it is also pushing companies to loosen education requirements and consider offering more competitive packages to entice candidates.

The technology sector is also not the only industry seeking experienced IT staff. As digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic, companies have needed professionals with digital skills in many other areas of the business to fuel their plans. 

At the same time, companies are placing higher expectations on these professionals to successfully manage projects and collaborate across functional teams. This desire for soft skills – or interpersonal skills that define the way an individual works – is incredibly important in a remote workforce although it was not required for many IT professionals before. 

Another significant issue is that their hard skills, which are the specific job-related capabilities that an individual acquires through education or additional training and brings to a role, are becoming stale just as fast as new technologies are introduced. Harvard Business School researchers shared how C-suite executives estimated that they had experienced an increase in the rate of skill obsolescence of more than 70% during the pandemic. 

This acceleration of skill obsolescence has the potential to exacerbate the long-term talent shortage affecting the technology industry. In cybersecurity, for instance, the number of open cybersecurity positions globally in 2021 was 3.5 million – enough to fill 50 NFL stadiums! The expectation is that there will be the same number of openings in 2025. 

The competition between companies to overcome these issues is making it harder than ever to hire qualified IT professionals. What can companies do to meet their urgent needs? Along with significant changes to how recruiters approach hiring, IT staff augmentation may be the answer.

Meeting IT hiring needs

For many companies, hiring the right people in the current environment will mean adopting new tactics and looking to new areas to find the best fit in the short-term for a project or as a permanent hire. 

Recruiters who prioritize a candidate’s skill sets over formal qualifications will be in a better position to find the right candidates quickly and retain them for longer tenures. Engaging and building relationships with passive talent – who are not in an active search for a new job – is also an investment that can pay off in the long run.

Organizations can also resolve urgent hiring issues quickly by working with IT staffing services to augment teams for specific projects or initiatives quickly. This manner of staff augmentation allows companies the flexibility to strategically source temporary projects to add capacity, test out temp-to-perm hiring, and gain competent individuals with advanced skills.

Achieving IT hiring success with Manatal

Recruitment technology solutions like Manatal allow recruiters to organize candidate information, including screening results, and keep their profiles updated. A candidate who is not a fit for a position today could be easily reached if they are eligible for a new job opening in a few months. It also opens the door to increasing work with contractors and freelance professionals, which is gaining popularity in the burgeoning gig economy.

Manatal’s ATS solution also helps recruiters shift their hiring tactics for more success in today’s environment. They are empowered to work more effectively with hiring managers to identify qualified candidates faster and reduce time-to-hire timeframes.

Learn how Manatal can support your recruiting team by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

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