Does it feel like your tech talent pool is shrinking? You're not alone: Even though major companies continue to dump workers in preparation for a possible economic slump, there's somehow a shortage of talented candidates and employees.
We know — it seems completely backward, but these kinds of economic twilight zones aren't unheard of. Here's our take on why we all got to this place, and how the way we hire might hold the keys to getting us back to a more sustainable state.
Understanding a Strange Landscape
How could there be a tech talent shortage if companies are slashing their workforces? Is this some kind of statistical error?
Unfortunately, the numbers seem to indicate that both employees and workers are in a tough place. 95 percent of companies in search of talent ran into skills shortages over the last year. On the other hand, labour market estimates project that by 2030, there will be at least 85 million unfilled jobs for a lack of qualified staff.
So the issue isn't that there simply aren't enough workers or that companies don't need help. Instead, a large contributing factor is a communication disconnect, and lack of proper tools to search for, find, and connect with employers and with professionals.
Delving Into the Disconnect
This isn't an issue that can go ignored for long. Just look at a Gartner survey from 2021, when IT execs said that talent shortages were the biggest roadblock to adopting 64 percent of emergent technologies. As great as technology is, it'll fall short of solving the problem if nobody on your team knows how to put it to good use.
The same report found that the shift to remote work wasn't working for everyone — at the time, companies and teams were slow to adapt. While COVID-19 and post-pandemic attitudes toward work and personal safety forced employers to get their acts together, many still struggle. Enterprises know the value of jumping on board quickly, but they're still pretty clumsy about getting their footing.
And as for the big layoffs? It's worth noting that the massive pink-slip numbers seen in the early part of 2023 may not have been as momentous as reports led us to believe. For instance, even though companies like Meta, Twitter, and Google laid off thousands in February, unemployment figures in the industry as a whole were still below the average for all sectors at around 2 percent.
It's also worth noting that the shortage is nothing new — roles like programmers and data scientists have long gone under-filled. The general rule appears to be that the more specialized the job, the harder it is to find a suitable match. Big surprise.
We've compiled some simple ideas on smart strategies to make you a better tech employer. Apply these practices today to overcome the tech shortage on your home turf.
1. Build Hiring Pipelines
What use are hiring pipelines in the face of a tech candidate-employer disconnect? An analogy might help here.
In marketing, you use funnels to help potential leads become clients — the idea is to make it easier for them to envision themselves as customers and smooth the transition. Recruiting pipelines fulfill a similar role. They let you target specific professionals based on their skill sets and open the door so they can get their feet in. By focusing on creating a tailored journey from job-seeker to team member, they minimize the time and effort you spend narrowing down the pool.
Another big benefit of pipelines lies in their ability to enhance the candidate experience. This serves not only to make life easier for the candidates you interact with but also to make you more attractive overall — buffering the impacts of the hiring shortage.
Hiring paths let you portray your company as a great place to work. For instance, using a good pipeline that includes streamlined communication systems reduces the odds that people will feel like they're navigating the process in the dark. Even if they ultimately aren't a good match, candidates will walk away with a better overall impression of how you treat people and let their job-hunting friends know. Eventually, the word will spread that you're an employer that actually cares about individuals.
Another advantage of building pipelines is that they improve your odds of finding the best talent. Because they take the inconsistencies out of the interviewing and assessment processes by focusing on standardization, they serve as better sources of experimental data that empower recruiters to influence hiring decision-making. In other words, it's easier to draw more accurate conclusions about which kinds of candidates make good employees and then extrapolate to enhance your HR practices across the board.
2. Create a Candidate/Skills Wishlist
Keeping a wishlist of ideal candidates is a great way to overcome labour market mismatches. As demand for highly specialized skills, like full-stack, DevOps, distributed computing, and AI contribute to a highly competitive market, thinking about your dream team is a good way to maintain a realistic perspective on where you stand in the hiring game.
Candidate wishlists work well with hiring pipelines by letting you identify evergreen positions. These are specific jobs that you expect to always require people for. Cultivating an awareness of your skills shortages lets you zero in on where you should focus your efforts — simply saying "we need more IT people" is way too vague.
Knowing your ongoing needs is essential to fulfilling them without being quite so subject to labour market fluctuations. It also ensures that when exceptional candidates arise, you can capitalize on the opportunity to hire without having to shift gears.
3. Explore Untapped Labor Pools
Strong organizations take advantage of a wide range of skill sets to build their capabilities. By working with people from diverse experiential, cultural, and ideological backgrounds, they expand their power to do everything from identifying market opportunities to using cutting-edge technology.
Exploring new intake streams can have direct and indirect benefits for your company. For instance, companies like Microsoft intentionally work toward diversifying STEM pipelines to cultivate the future generation of untapped female, minority, veteran and other talent classes. By starting at the recruiting level, you gain the power to enact changes with wide organizational benefits.
If you're not at the point where you can engage in broader social engineering, a good place to begin is to simply explore a new acquisition outlook. Hiring freelancers and consultants is a great way to diversify your team and keep up with your internal skills demand.
Gaining access to a wide network of on-demand professionals through platforms like oomple make it easy to discover, communicate with, and ultimately hire new candidate cohorts from one place. By using the Oomple Self-Serve Subscription platform, you’ll have unlimited access to top talent and the ability to search for, hire, and communicate with candidates all in one centralized hub. By simplifying the process of reaching properly vetted talent, Oomple keys you in on what today's tech workers expect, how to promote your workplace values, and how to distinguish yourself as a forward-thinking employer from square one.
Workplace technology will ultimately prove essential to solving the tech hiring shortage — why not put yourself at the forefront of the push? Chat with an account manager to set up your Oomple subscription and build a better workforce.