Top 7 Challenges in Recruiting IT Talent

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Recruiting top IT talent is challenging. Competition for the best and brightest is fierce, and it’s tough to find candidates who have the perfect mix of skills and experience. But if you’re up for the challenge, there are plenty of ways to make your recruitment efforts more successful. Here are seven of the biggest challenges in recruiting IT talent, along with tips on how to overcome them.

It’s no secret that recruiting IT professionals comes with its own unique set of challenges. Couple those challenges with economic and industrial changes, and each year, IT recruiters have to learn to navigate totally new landscapes. This year is once again proving that the only constant in IT recruiting is change, and the need for tech talent is at an all-time high, especially within the actual software and tech industry.

Here are seven of the top challenges recruiters face when looking for IT professionals right now:

1. Demand Outweighs Available Tech Talent

According to an article published by Dice earlier this year, the unemployment rate for IT workers is only about 3 percent. That’s great news if you’re looking for an IT position, but bad news for the recruiters who have more jobs to fill than people with the skills and experience needed to fill them. Software and Web developers are in particularly high demand. Other employees recruiters are having a particularly difficult time finding include those with big data and analytics experience, those with security knowledge, and those who have worked on legacy systems.

2. Increased IT Recruiting Costs

Compensation demands for IT positions were already competitive before IT wages went up 1.2 percent last year. Now, certain markets are experiencing even higher wage increases, driving up already high recruiting costs. These larger metro areas experienced the highest overall wage increases this last year:

– Seattle (up 3.6 percent)
– Minneapolis (up 2.6 percent)
– Detroit (up. 2.4 percent)
– San Francisco (up. 2.4 percent)
– Atlanta (up 1.9 percent)

3. Too Many Competing Offers for IT Professionals

IT candidates with strong technical skills often find themselves choosing between multiple offers, each one as attractive as the next. This job seeker’s market has employees feeling comfortable enough to start looking on the other side of the fence and consider job changes, regardless of the somewhat volatile stock market.

HandshakingRight now, IT workers are naming their prices and being incredibly choosy about where they go. Companies have to get go beyond competitive salaries and get creative about what they offer. Company culture, benefits, perks, and future growth opportunities all play a role in attracting tech talent today.

The job seeker market among IT professionals also has candidates being very choosy about which of the many emails they will respond to from an IT Recruiter. When sourcing IT pros, be especially mindful of your email content and the way that you present the role and company culture.

4. Getting Noticed by IT Candidates

Given that potential IT candidates have so many options to consider, it can be difficult for recruiters to get their attention – especially when it comes to passive candidates. Companies are struggling to be seen and heard.

Employers are spending more time and money on building their brands and clarifying their purposes in an effort to get noticed. Rather than pounding down the doors to find talented folk to join their organizations, companies have started building out their employer brands so that candidates will discover them organically and consider them for employment. Focus on developing effective outreach that attracts the right kind of IT talent.

5. Fussy Technical Hiring Managers

Most recruiters have had the experience of working with a hiring manager who paints a detailed picture of their ideal candidate without stopping to consider whether or not this person actually exists. For example, the hiring manager who requires ten years of experience in a programming language that was only created five years ago, asks for a database analyst with incredible communication skills, or the one who claims that someone “won’t fit in with the culture” but can’t explain why. IT recruiting is challenging enough without a hiring manager being picky or vague about what they’re looking for.

6. A Multigenerational Workforce

Generation Z is beginning to enter the workforce, and the baby boomers are delaying retirement. This makes for a unique work environment in which each generation values different workplace settings, benefits, and leadership styles. IT recruiters need to look beyond technical skills match and pay special attention to what matters to each individual candidate and how that aligns with the unique aspects of each company, department, and position.

7. More Tech Professionals Moving to Freelance Projects

Given the high demand for IT talent, more and more tech professionals are striking out on their own. The idea of becoming a freelancer or independent contractor can be very attractive. It puts people in a position to command higher rates, create their own flexible schedules, and choose projects based on the type of work they prefer. As the war for talent rages on, more companies are getting comfortable with hiring freelancers and contractors. This might be worth considering as a way to address your own talent shortages.

The war for IT talent is real, and it’s only going to get tougher as the demand for tech professionals continues to outpace the available supply. If you’re struggling to find the right candidates, or if you’re seeing an increase in your recruiting costs, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success. First, make sure that your job postings are accurately reflecting what your company has to offer. Be clear about the responsibilities of the role, and be specific about the skills and experience required. You may also want to consider offering more competitive salaries and benefits packages. And finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to passive candidates who may not be actively looking for a new job.

As challenging as IT recruiting can be, you shouldn’t lose heart just yet. Companies and recruiting firms are working hard to adapt to this climate. Recruiting strategies include continuing education for existing employees, centralized recruiting software, better retention strategies, and a renewed focus on workplace culture.

Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer

By Jessica Barret Halcom