IT Employment Finished Strong in 2015 and Is on Track to Escalate in 2016

By Chelsea Babin

Although there was a little fluctuation in the unemployment rate for technical professionals in 2015, it generally remained strong and well under the average national unemployment rate, which hovered around 5 percent while IT unemployment stayed solidly between 3 and 4 percent. With this great year for the IT industry coming to a close, many employers are feeling the crunch when it comes to finding top technical talent and that need will only escalate in 2016.

According to a recent Dice hiring survey, finding highly-skilled technical talent is a top hiring priority for 78 percent of hiring managers within the first half of 2016. This staggering need for technical talent in an economic climate where the IT unemployment rate is already so low will certainly contribute to a growth in 2015’s trend of increasing numbers of technical professionals quitting their jobs and moving on to better opportunities.

Bob Melk, President of Dice says that, “the environment for a talent crisis in tech has been growing over the past few years and as the level of interest in technology professionals rises, it doesn’t appear the challenging recruitment market will lighten any time soon. Companies today are looking for new and innovative ways to streamline their hiring processes and attract top talent.” Because this top talent is so difficult for many organizations to find, the survey results show that over 27 percent of hiring managers are taking on entry-level candidates in the hopes of training them into the role they need to fill. This training initiative may be a key trend in the IT industry throughout 2016 in order to avoid the notoriously lengthy hiring process for technical professionals.

Another hiring trend in 2016 will be more creative employee benefits, more work/life balance improving benefits, and better compensation overall. Of the hiring managers surveyed who had already added in more employee benefits last year, one-fifth saw that these added benefits helped them see more candidates accepting offers at their company in 2015 than in 2014. Additionally, 64 percent of hiring managers said that 2015 salary guidelines were preventing them from hiring the technical talent they need so many companies are scrambling to find the adequate funds to hire the technical professionals their organizations so desperately need.

After a strong finish in 2015, IT employment is shaping up to be even more competitive and cut-throat for employers while providing more benefits, higher salary, and a better work/life balance for technical professionals in 2016. With a vast majority of employers prioritizing new IT hires this year, the IT unemployment rate should stay securely in its current low position and remain there for at least the first half of this year.