2022 has seen a radical change in the recruitment market and IT sector. The market has fundamentally shifted from one that previously advantaged employers to a candidate’s market. Record job vacancies and a lack of skilled workers have meant many IT businesses have had to rethink their recruitment strategy to attract the best staff. As a result, employers have had to increase their benefits and employment terms. This, alongside advancements in the hiring process itself, account for some of the fundamental trends in IT recruitment in 2022. This article will look not only explore these trends but also the solutions that IT recruiters will need to adopt.
These changes can be explained by a simple supply-and-demand model in the IT recruitment market. With the pandemic and the mass exodus to the virtual world, in both work and our personal lives, so the need for IT staff has increased. For example, at the start of the pandemic, Facebook announced it would hire an extra 10,000 developers to keep up with demand. Other online businesses, including Amazon, followed suit. This has meant that demand for IT staff has never been greater. On the other hand, the supply of skilled staff readily deployable has decreased. In one study, it was even shown that the total number of new developers being trained fell during the pandemic. It dropped from a 4% increase to only an estimated 2.5%. This means that while more job vacancies are created, fewer individuals are being trained to fill them.
Increasing salaries and negotiation
One of the most obvious changes to the recruitment market has been the increase in salaries offered. While salaries have traditionally remained stubbornly disproportionate to rising costs of living, the sheer lack of skilled workers has meant that companies need to compete and beat their rivals’ financial offerings to attract new staff. This problem has extended two fold as the increase in competition between companies has meant that previously loyal existing staff are being tempted away to rival organisations for greater remuneration. Moreover, instead of having to go through the hassle of switching organisations, staff are increasingly starting salary negotiations with both their current and potential employers to help drive up their financial rewards. While this may be an unwelcome change in the recruitment market for businesses, it is essential to remain competitive.
Engaging candidates earlier in the hiring process
Another solution to the short supply of skilled IT workers is greater engagement with candidates. Specifically, many businesses are choosing to engage with candidates earlier in the recruitment process, before a formal offer is made. Before the pandemic, this kind of intensive communication would only be reserved for the top portion of management positions. However, as competition has increased, creating channels of communication between candidates and recruiters has shuffled down to more entry-level positions. This has meant that candidates are less likely to abandon applications mid-recruitment. While this demands a greater workload for recruiters, it is a relatively cost-effective way to keep talent interested in your business and beat out the competition. While it is not a silver bullet to success, it will allow recruiters to see inside the minds of candidates. This will help determine what factors drive their application decisions.
Making use of advanced screening tools
Alongside this, businesses are increasingly using advanced screening tools to filter out the best talent for their position. While skilled talent itself has decreased relative to the number of IT positions available, the need for effective ranking and conditioning of applicants remains. Recruiters can make sure they are not wasting time and resources on unskilled and unqualified candidates. Recruiters need to be able to choose the right talent to engage with if they are going to increase communication.
Traditionally, these screening tools have been reserved for the intensive competition between talent in graduate programmes. However, the psychometric and technical tests, alongside pre-made virtual interviews are increasingly being used in direct applications. Although, there is an important balance for recruiters to strike here. While these screening tools can be of use in a hotly contested market, recruiters need to be careful not to put off candidates with extensive and laboursome testing in a market where the candidate has control.
Adopting data-centric recruiting
The solution to this problem lies in advanced AI-led and data-centric recruiting. While recruiters need to make effective decisions more than ever, the burden on the candidate needs to be reduced. Making your recruitment journey too complex will only serve to put off the increasingly rare skilled talent. Therefore, AI-led recruiting and a more data-centric approach to decision making is more important than ever. AI can use data to automatically search and rank CVs and actively engage with a candidate before a human agent. This will help recruiters meet the increasing demand of the high competition between businesses.
Casting a Wider Net
While the solutions so far have focused on the hiring process itself, it is also important to consider hiring policies. Traditionally, tech companies have been notoriously rigid in their acceptance of candidates only with the right skill set and degree. However, as the number of skilled candidates increases, so do their financial and resource costs to the business. Moreover, there is simply not enough new talent being trained to the right qualifications. This is despite many “unqualified” candidates having the skills needed to perform the IT roles being advertised. Therefore, recruiters need to be more open to hiring talent that might not have the traditionally accepted qualifications but do have the skills needed. Here, AI and data-centric recruiting can help to identify these previously untapped talents which will help fill the gap in traditional candidates.
Looking beyond the boundaries of the office
In addition, another relatively untapped market of workers is that of the global and external workforce. Instead of being geographically bound to recruit in one region, many employers are looking to the global market to help meet their staffing needs. In one study, 40% of respondents were found to be open to recruiting globally in 2022. This was a noticeable year-on-year increase. Here, the increase in remote and hybrid work has helped drive recruiters’ eyes away from the vicinity of the office.
However, businesses can take another step and look beyond the traditional forms of employment to help meet their talent needs. Instead of full-time employment and a large internal workforce, recruiters should look to an external workforce and 100% remote opportunities to help widen the talent pool available. Here, an external workforce provides a much more focused and direct approach to the specific project and workload needs of a company. This can help to draw businesses away from the increasing salary costs in the local market.
Another talent pool that is far too often overlooked is the neurodiverse one. Having diversity within a business provides all kinds of benefits to organisations. It can bring unique perspectives and ways of thinking that enhance the agility and adaptability of business. Despite this, many neurodiverse candidates are often overlooked in recruitment and the infrastructure needed to truly cater for their talent is often missing. Here, employers must build different cultures and processes to help appeal to neurodiverse talent within their business.
While the pandemic has caused sweeping changes in the IT recruitment market, it is still possible for businesses to adapt and adopt new solutions. The market has fundamentally become a candidate’s market. Readily available skilled talent is no longer available. As a result, the competition for vacancies has turned into a competition for candidates. Here employers need to be agile in their solutions. We need to think beyond more traditional methods of salary increases and greater employee benefits in the way we do recruit. Greater communication at an early stage and the reimaging of advanced screening can keep an applicant interested in a position for longer. Similarly, looking beyond the traditional talent pool and sill requirements can open a door to previously untapped talent. Here, an international and external workforce can prove to be the new direction for businesses looking to navigate IT recruitment in 2022.