If you’ve been having trouble lately hiring programmers, developers, and other tech types, you’re not alone.
“2015 promises to be a banner year for IT workers as the unemployment rate continues to plummet, salaries increase and organizations double down on retention and engagement strategies,” Sharon Florentine wrote in CIO at the end of last year. In fact, she wrote, 87 percent of CIOs surveyed said they planned to increase staff this year, meaning that either salaries or benefits—or both—will need to increase.
According to one study, job postings in technology jumped by more than 11 percent over the previous year, with some 650,000 job openings listed in the fourth quarter of 2014, while the White House estimates that there are some 500,000 jobs requiring tech skills in the U.S., writes Kelly Bilodeau in CMSWire.
Part of the issue—not that it’s a problem—is that the economy in general is doing better, which means that people who might have been sticking with a job for security’s sake are now feeling more free to look for other opportunities. “Confidence is back,” Laura Oberst, an executive vice president at Wells Fargo & Co who oversees commercial banking for the central U.S. region, told Reuters. “It’s fragile still, but stronger than I’ve seen it since the meltdown of 2008.”
Despite the increase in tech-related job openings, companies are facing challenges bringing on new talent. Here are some of the main reasons why, and how to fix them.
1. You’re looking at the wrong time of year. There are certain times of year when it seems like nearly everyone is looking for new people, such as in the spring when people are preparing to graduate or at the beginning of the year. That means there’s a lot of competition.
When’s a good time? Right now, it turns out. A British survey found that in June, July, and August, there are 2.4 candidates for every technical job listing, while in the winter months, there are only 1.3, writes Jessica Stillman in Inc.
2. You’re looking for the wrong people. Maybe you’re looking for full-time staffers when contract employees would do—or even be better. Contract opportunities tend to increase during strong economic growth, and some tech people prefer the flexibility and variety, Florentine writes.
3. You’re looking in the wrong geographic location. It’s tempting to think you need to hire programmers from Silicon Valley or New York, but if everyone else thinks so too, there’s going to be a lot of demand for those people. If you’re in those areas, look outside, and if you’re already outside the traditional high-tech areas, look to hire local.
“It wasn’t until we realized that there was loads of talent right on our doorstep that we began to find success with hiring,” James Simpson of GoldFire Studios told TheNextWeb. “We now completely brand our business as an Oklahoma City-based startup, making all of the local talent aware and excited about what we are doing. This has led to great developers nearly knocking our doors down in order to land a position.”
4. You’re looking for the same sort of people as everyone else. A number of organizations are dealing with the hiring shortage by thinking outside the box and hiring different sorts of people.
- Organizations such as Microsoft, SAP, Freddie Mac, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the state of Delaware are embarking on efforts to hire programmers and developers on the autism spectrum. Due to their disability, they don’t always interview well, though they can perform the job well, and these companies are working with recruiters that specialize in them, writes Rachel Kremen for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.
- In California, prisoners are being trained to code and then hired as programmers from within prison, writes Jessica Guynn in USA Today. Such programs—which could be expanded to as many as 14 other states—also show promise of reducing the recidivism rate, she adds.
- Some organizations get way too hung up on thinking that they need to hire computer science graduates, and are ignoring other sources, such as liberal arts. “There is massive demand in the job market for engineers and developers in the tech world, but people often underestimate the demand for problem solvers, great communicators, and employees who can quickly and efficiently learn new things,” writes Michael Redbord in TheNextWeb. “Those skills are imperative to delivering a great customer experience, to marketing a remarkable product, and to scaling a rapidly growing team—all of which most tech companies need to do today.”
Hiring is never easy, but overcoming these challenges could help. And look on the bright side: With such a demand for techies, maybe it’s time to negotiate a raise.
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