Is The Shortage of Technical Talent Causing A Hiring Slowdown?

By Chelsea Babin

Which came first, the shortage of available technical talent or the hiring slowdown? It’s a tricky question with a fairly simple answer, but it’s also important to note that, for now, it’s a hypothetical question. The number of IT jobs is still climbing. According to TechServe alliance IT employment has grown 4.5% on a year-over-year basis as of February 2015. This is by no means a small amount of growth overall, but the number of IT jobs only grew by .4% in February 2015 itself.

Mark Roberts, the CEO of Tech Serve Alliance, has an idea of why this might be happening, “As I have been warning for some time, an inadequate supply of talent in high demand skill sets will continue to be a challenge. Without a significant increase in the availability of talent, all industries dependent on technical talent will continue to be at risk of not having their needs fully met.” With a glut of technical companies wanting the same skill sets, it will become increasingly difficult to find those in-demand techies. For example, a recent Linux Foundation survey found that 55% of Linux pros said it would be “very easy” or “fairly easy” to find a new job in 2015 while roughly 70% of hiring managers surveyed said they’d increased incentives in order to hang onto Linux pros. These incentives include flexible work hours and raised salaries for these incredibly in-demand technical professionals.

The 30% of hiring managers who are not increasing their benefits risk losing out on talented IT pros if they don’t change their hiring strategy. When they don’t maintain competitive offers, talent will look elsewhere or stay where they are until they find something better. This refusal to keep up with the competition is a major contributing factor to the slowdown in hiring.

Another factor is that employers are casting nets that may be too wide. Whether it’s wishful thinking or worry that too-specific job requirements may go unnoticed, lengthy lists of skills that candidates already need will often slow down the hiring process significantly. These skills are often listed due to a lack of resources dedicated to training new talent and improving the skills of existing talent. Expecting someone who is just joining a company to have the same skill set and depth of knowledge as someone who has just left your company after years of service—and therefore intricately knows every technology used at your organization—is a recipe for disaster.

The shortage in technical talent will certainly contribute to an IT hiring slow down but only when it’s coupled with a lack of resources dedicated to training and a refusal to offer competitive salaries and flexible benefits.