The future of recruitment in all sectors is going to be very different from what we’re used to, with the impact of COVID-19 meaning that many industries are putting hiring efforts on the back burner or are resorting to new technologies to onboard new staff.
When it comes to tech recruitment, however, there is expected to be a post-pandemic boom. The tech sector has been more insulated from the impact of COVID-19, as tech talent has played a crucial part in ensuring business continuity with the rapid shift to remote working. It could be said that the pandemic has helped many business leaders understand the actual value of modern technology and the people that power it. It’s expected that future recruitment will focus mainly on tech talent.
Tech employees currently make up more than a fifth of the UK’s work force and there are reportedly 90,000 tech vacancies advertised in the UK alone every week. With many of us becoming more reliant on technology to help us achieve our goals, talent acquisition experts expect this to increase.
So, what does the future of tech recruitment look like, and how can we prepare for recruiting the best tech talent in a post-pandemic world?
More tech talent on the market
The current UK unemployment rate is 3.9%, and unemployment rates were at 10.2% in the US in July. These figures are set to rise as the UK enters a recession and the rest of the world faces financial uncertainty. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you’re thinking of hiring tech talent, this could be a great time to do so. Rising unemployment figures means there is a potential for more talent to be on the market for a new job. Many companies have had to make difficult decisions, and this will include having to let go of some of their best tech talent from software developers to digital marketers.
Then there’s also the issue of damaged employer brands after the pandemic. We’ve heard many stories of employers who have treated their people in a way that has destroyed trust and their reputation. Many people may be looking to make a move to an employer who takes care of their staff and has their best interests at heart or even an employer that is more willing to embrace flexibility. Either way, if you can afford to recruit tech talent during these uncertain times, you’re sure to find many talented people who are either out of work or are looking for a change. If you use a tactical approach to recruitment marketing which will allow you to appeal to passive candidates, the tech recruitment landscape could be a very exciting place for you.
Greater competition for tech talent
71% of business leaders believe that their organisation would become more dependent on tech as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In a way, we already have. For many businesses, having to adapt to remote working quickly forced us to rely on cloud-based technologies, video communication and remote software in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. It also looks like we’re going to be more reliant on tech in our daily lives, from doctors’ appointments over video call to ordering via apps at restaurants, which in turn will increase demand for the tech talent who can make these things possible.
The unemployment rate in computer occupations dropped from 3% in January 2020 to 2.8% in April 2020 as demand for tech skills remained. So even though there is more talent on the market, tech talent is highly in demand. This means that employers will have to seriously up their game when it comes to attracting tech talent. From a refined candidate experience to creating an appealing employer brand and company culture, working on all aspects of the candidate and employee journey will set you apart from the competition. Review these journeys from the perspective of the candidate and use in-depth employee research to understand what you could improve within your organisation to make it a more appealing place to work. Also, consider how you can tailor your messaging to resonate specifically with tech talent; appeal to their needs, use the right language and adjust your job ads to relate to the right kind of candidate.
Opportunities to upskill the workforce
Research claims that 58% of people want to develop digital skills, and some of these people will already work within your organisation. This provides an excellent opportunity to upskill your existing employees rather than employee new ones. It sounds strange to say that the future of tech recruitment lies in your current workforce but providing training for employees who wish to develop tech skills could be cost-effective and have positive implications on your employer brand. It shows you’re investing in your people and their future, helping them develop skills which could be as crucial to their career in the new normal as it is to your organisation.
Upskilling takes time, and so if you need a website developer fast, it may not be the best option for you. However, training up loyal employees and giving them skills they’re passionate about is a significant long-term commitment and will ensure your retention rates and employer brand improve. It means your dedicated team will be more likely to stay with you and will reflect positively on you for years to come.
Goodbye London bubble
Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported that around 40% of UK tech talent worked in London, which meant a large proportion of them lived around or in the capital. It’s well known that the cost of living in London is far higher than the rest of the UK and therefore, limits the number of candidates that can afford to work in such roles. For many graduates, those from local socio-economic backgrounds and even those who live further afield, a career in tech has previously been harder to achieve. However, the pandemic has opened the door for remote work, especially in tech roles where a computer and internet connection are all that is needed to succeed.
Remote working can bring tech roles to individuals outside of the city, meaning that businesses can cast their net wider when searching for website developers, software engineers and other top tech talent. With the technology and tools now available to us, the search for tech talent is no longer limited by geography. You could potentially hire on a global scale, making it easier to reach international markets. You could also hire graduate talent or incredibly talented individuals that have previously been reluctant to move to London or similar tech hubs.
Paving the way for diversity
In a similar way to ending geographical restrictions, remote working can also provide an extra layer of flexibility to tech talent that could help improve your diversity efforts. Tech roles have long been associated with being stuck at a desk in the corner of the office, but the pandemic has shown us that this doesn’t need to be the case. Tech talent is also notoriously lacking in diversity, with famous campaigns over the years to get more women into tech and other STEM roles. Therefore, flexibility could help.
Most candidates will expect a more flexible attitude to their working day after the pandemic, which means no more 9-5. Without this rigid work schedule, opportunities become open to a more diverse group of people. Your tech roles could appeal to parents, carers and those with disabilities that struggle to get into the office, as well as those outside of the commutable area.
It’s no secret that a diverse workforce is more creative, productive and can benefit a business hugely. However, a recent study by Culture Shift claims 51 per cent of tech employees say working from home has improved their work-life balance, which makes workers happier.
A happy and diverse workforce creates a more inclusive and enjoyable company culture, where everyone can feel comfortable to work to the best of their ability. Offering a more flexible approach to working will make your tech recruitment efforts more successful, as the roles will be more appealing. You’ll also have a more inclusive company culture where candidates can truly envision themselves thriving.
In-demand skills are changing
The pandemic has also shifted the skills that are in demand which is something you should be aware of when recruiting tech talent. Last year, the most in-demand tech skills were analytics and big data roles. However, after the coronavirus pandemic, there is predicted to be a significant focus on cybersecurity and cloud-based software. Research from Tech Nation found that demand for cloud computing increased by 22% between 2018 and 2019. As we’ve seen a shift to remote working, this is an understandable change in focus and is a skills gap that you may want to address. Researching trends within your industry is a great place to start, uncover what competitors are doing and how your business needs to embrace a digital transformation.
Companies are also focusing on soft skills much more, as we all consider working remotely more often, tech talent must have the communication and organisational skills you value in other members of the team. It may be that they’re asked to be involved in more meetings to explain their work. Think about the skills you value in the rest of your team and apply these to your search for tech talent.
If your business needs help connecting with the top tech talent to survive in the new normal, our experts are on hand to help. Our team has a wealth of experience working on employer branding, recruitment marketing campaigns and sourcing within the tech sector, plus, we’ve helped many tech startups to scale by connecting them with the right people. Get in touch today to start your conversation.