When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading across the country, it sent a seismic wave that impacted the entire workforce. It shocked IT companies and exacerbated an already present digital talent skills gap. A 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap report from Gartner Inc. noted that 64% of IT executives had cited talent shortages as the most significant barrier to adopting emerging technology.
The battle for tech talent
According to a survey from TalentLMS and Workable, 72% of tech employees in the US are considering leaving their jobs in the next year. About 40% of them attributed limited opportunities for career progression. And even as IT leaders say their teams are working more closely with recruiters to implement workplace technologies to improve attraction, engagement, and retention, actually finding the talent to execute and support that move is a significant challenge. While hiring cools in some technology segments, the demand for IT professionals is likely to remain high in 2022—and it's poised to continue to prove challenging to find and retain those skilled workers.
Staffing and recruiting agencies feel immense pressure to fill as many vacancies as swiftly as possible, coupled with growing demands from the marketplace. Meanwhile, agencies must also address potential candidates' new needs post-pandemic and the rising candidate expectations that are here to stay.
So, how can companies end the struggle to find IT candidates and keep the ones they have?
IT staffing hiring trends that can stop the revolving door
From IT managed service providers to IT consulting firms, companies that offer extensive professional development opportunities are more desirable for today's available candidates. Given the massive shortage of IT skilled professionals, upskilling and reskilling are ways to bridge experience and fill knowledge gaps while opening the potential talent pool to try and serve key markets.
Yet, the balancing act remains intense. The Great Re-Evaluation has brought a renewed focus on hiring practices. IT talent-focused staffing and recruiting organizations must now embrace new methods and technologies to remain successful and avoid losing candidates to competitors. More than ever, candidates with sought-after skills are moving into positions that offer more flexible schedules with better benefits and salaries.
Given how sought-after IT professionals' skill sets are, opportunities are around every corner. The Great Re-Evaluation has extended beyond the job itself; candidates expect more from the entire interview, hiring, and onboarding process. To be competitive, staffing and recruiting firms need to provide a concierge-like experience that affirms their interest and relationship with the candidate at every turn, and that gets complicated with clunky tech stacks making the process more arduous and slower.
The struggle is real
IT-focused staffing professionals are battling heavier workloads while utilizing outdated technology stacks themselves. Their tech infrastructures are often patched together, leaving them to juggle dozens of open browser windows within a single piece of software that often demands redundant data entry, significantly slowing down recruitment processes and delaying communication with potential candidates. With candidate expectations at an all-time high, the results can be costly. Eliminating double data entry, unaligned protocols, and holes in the process can help IT staffing agencies stay focused on meeting candidate expectations and building valuable relationships during recruitment as well as client assignment.
Utilizing end-to-end software itself should aid in more quickly finding the perfect candidate for a job, eliminating the risk of losing a potential worker to a competitor because of disjointed tasks or tracking systems. Hiring and onboarding are only becoming more complicated – from I-9s and background checks to drug screenings and personal information entry. Starts and stops, and a vague sense of status can drag out the process for candidates and create attrition. Functions like automated background check processes, which can be complex but necessary for compliance, can be streamlined via workflows that take a clunky, data-intense approach and make it painless for the IT recruiter. Advanced software can and should help staffing professionals expedite moving from recruiting mode to onboarding, automating, and simplifying the inescapable processes.
A staffing professional's only viable weapon is to streamline with tech at the center. Advanced end-to-end staffing and recruiting software is helping to ease the workload of professionals by eliminating extraneous manual or awkward information transfers, leaning into human-centered automation, and effectively integrating tools for engagement at scale. When technology streamlines recruiting processes, the staff and recruiting professionals can focus on developing relationships with talent and building out those mission-critical talent pipelines.
Aaron Elder is CEO & Co-Founder of Crelate.