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Is this the most competitive tech hiring landscape ever?

By James Milligan, Director UK & Ireland, EMEA for Technology and Project Solutions

It will come as no surprise to most, but according to our latest Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 report, the technology sector is still booming. In fact, the report revealed that 95% of technology organisations expect their business activity levels to increase or stay the same over the coming year.

In light of this optimistic outlook, recruitment is high on the agenda for the vast majority (81%) of tech employers. Two-thirds plan to recruit permanent technology staff, while 41% are looking to take on contractors in the year ahead.

But will skills shortages put a spanner in the works?

However, employers may find they have an uphill battle on their hands when it comes to recruitment. The vast majority (93%) say they have experienced skills shortages over the last year and it doesn’t look like things will be getting any easier in 2019. Two-thirds of employers expect a shortage of suitable candidates to be their biggest recruitment challenge in the year ahead.

In fact, over half of tech employers (54%) say skills shortages are affecting their ability to deliver projects and 52% say they have affected productivity. There has been particular difficulty hiring experienced professionals and middle management over the last year.

With such a competitive recruitment market for the best tech talent, salaries in the sector have risen. On average, tech salaries have increased by 1.7% over the last year, however, in areas of particularly high demand or with even more acute skills shortages, average pay rises have been higher – for example 3.2% in cyber security, 2.7% in development and 2.6% in data and advanced analytics roles.

Yet, nearly half (44%) of technology professionals changed jobs in the last year, and almost as many (41%) said they considered it. This means that there is a large tech talent pool available for employers to benefit from, provided they are able to attract and retain the best candidates.

With fierce competition for digital technology, IT and telecoms professionals, how can employers attract and retain the best staff?

  • Benchmark your salaries. With pay on the rise across the sector, it’s not surprising that many technology professionals will go where the money is. If your salaries aren’t competitive, candidates and existing employees know that they can find the pay they’re looking for elsewhere. Make sure yours are accurately benchmarked.
  • Ensure a positive work-life balance is highlighted to tech candidates throughout their application process. Whilst they are most likely to be tempted by an increase in salary, tech candidates are also eager to maintain a good work-life balance. Not only do 37% of technology candidates say that aside from salary, work-life balance is the most important factor when considering a new role; but over half (58%) say their work-life balance is good or very good. If they are happy with their current work-life balance, tech candidates aren’t going to want to move somewhere that could put that in jeopardy, but may be tempted to move to an organisation that offers a better balance. Offer flexible working options, like home and remote working, and make it clear in your recruitment advertising that these are available.
  • Widen your talent pool with a diverse and inclusive attraction strategy. As skills shortages intensify, looking for talent in the same places every time is no longer a reliable strategy. Tech employers should widen their talent pool by looking at different sources that pertain to diverse populations of talent, and who asses their application journey for inclusiveness.

To discover more insights about the digital technology, IT and telecoms market, and the prospects for the next year for technology as a whole, request your copy of the Hays salary guide here.

For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

James is Director of Hays IT, Digital Technology and Project Solutions in the UK, Ireland and EMEA. Having joined in 2000, he is responsible for the strategy of Hays’ Project Solutions, IT and Digital Technology businesses, which includes IT contracting, permanent technology recruitment, resource augmentation and statement of work solutions across both the private and public sectors.

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