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Hiring Tech Talent? Prepare for a Challenge

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Along with increased interest rates, 2016 is ringing in with renewed competition for tech talent. If you are planning on hiring tech talent in the coming year or will depend on tech talent in the near future, prepare for a challenge.

According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor statistics, the rate of tech job creation is growing at twice the national average for all jobs. In addition to a high demand, the supply of talented tech savvy professionals is projected to be in short supply for years to come. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that by 2020, there will be over one million computer science-based jobs without qualified college graduates to fill them.

The talent gap in the field of tech is the concern of many in the C-suite, as technology becomes more of an integral part of doing business in the 21st century. While the exact cause is unclear, the talent gap is effecting companies in a growing number of industries.

The Challenge

According to a study from Appirio, 90% of survey executives in the C-suite see recruiting IT talent as a top challenge for their company. The reason that the C-suite has honed in on filling these jobs is because vacancies in critical IT and Tech positions can have a huge effect on meeting company objectives. For instance, a software development team that loses their software architect may be able to carry out their designer’s designs, but the final product is bound to suffer.

All over the country, business leaders are recognizing the need to attract tech talent to their company. The only problem is, they’re all trying to do it at once. In addition to a low supply of talented tech workers, the demand for tech talent has never been greater. In the same Appirio survey, respondents were asked:

“In general, how many times per month, if any, do you think IT workers at your company are contacted by recruiters?”

Though C-Suite respondents were aware of increased recruiter activity, their estimates were still lower than the reality presented by surveyed IT professionals. While 45% of the C-Suite believed that their tech talent was contacted 5-6 times per-month, 51% of IT professionals believed that they were contacted by recruiters 5-6 times per-month.

Professional networks like LinkedIn have made it easy for recruiters to identify high profile tech workers with in-demand skills. While your most talented tech workers may be happily employed, it never hurts to check. Voluntary turnover is on the rise. According to a survey from Staffbay, 82% of employees hoped to leave their jobs in 2014.

Location, Location, Location

As if low supply and high demand weren’t enough to work around, a new study is showing that geography can play a key role in attracting and hiring tech talent. Job seeking tech and IT professionals are looking for work primarily in cities that are renowned for their industry connections. The “Big Four” cities attracting the majority of job seeking tech workers are San Francisco CA, San Jose CA, Seattle WA and Austin TX.

The Solution

If you are in need of tech talent and your company doesn’t operate in or near these cities, then you may experience difficulty attracting tech talent. To get around these difficulties, your company may have to offer a higher salary for your open tech job or enlist the help of recruiters to find some suitable candidates.

You should also place a new emphasis on the resources provided to your employees in your job description. Although location and salary will always play a part in a candidate’s decision, talented tech candidates are focused on the work that they’ll be doing and the technology tools that a company provides in order to do that work. In the same study from Appirio, C-Suite executives and IT professionals were asked,

“Which of the following factors, if any, do you think are essential to IT employees when evaluating a potential new job?”

For 69% of tech workers, the most essential thing in a job is a well sourced IT department, followed by the company having up to date technology. If your company depends on tech talent, then your job advertising must speak to the professional interests of your candidates. In your job description, focus on the resources that you will provide to a hire and the technology tools that they will use in their work.

You should also take steps to retain the tech talent that you company already has. Rather than leaving the retention of your tech talent to chance, you should demonstrate that you aren’t taking your star programmer’s continued employment for granted.

After you identify your company’s most indispensable tech talent, you should engage with these employees concerning their professional future. Find out where they want to go in their careers, which skills they want to hone and which skills they hope to learn. By engaging with tech talent in this transparent way, you are much more likely to get the truth from them, which is exactly what you need.

The rules are changing. You can no longer assume that any employee will remain with your company for longer than their career aspirations line up with their job. In order to retain your tech talent and create a company culture that will attract tech talent, a new emphasis needs to be placed on giving them what they want in a job.

Tech talent wants to have a wealth of resources at their disposal and to work with the most cutting edge technological tools. Until you invest in these tools, your company’s ability to attract tech talent may be limited, as the desires of the candidates you’re trying to reach continue to align with the cutting edge of technology.

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