We remain convinced that the perfect IT candidate is extremely difficult to find – not to mention recruit. But the reasons behind this predicament are arguable. In particular, many experts in the industry blame a tech talent shortage, but this compelling argument is often met with strongly opposing views. We decided to take a deeper look to determine whether the proposed IT talent shortage is fact or fiction. (If you want to know why we even care, skip to the end!)
Arguments for the IT Talent Shortage
The BLS claims that tech occupations are set to increase by 12% in coming years. That’s a large jump, and it’s unclear whether the supply of tech workers can keep up. In fact, it’s estimated that over the next decade, there will be more than 1 million STEM-related positions that the US will be unable to fill due to a dwindling supply of people entering the field.
Part of the greater challenge at hand here is the sheer speed of which technology evolves in the business world. One of the overwhelming places this is especially true is in Cybersecurity. Cisco claims that the knowledge and technologies available to cyber criminals have outpaced companies’ ability and resources to address these risks. They estimate that there are over 1 million cybersecurity jobs worldwide that are unfilled. (This is why we believe cybersecurity should be your first priority.)
Finally, the 2.5% unemployment rate in the tech field means the supply of technical talent is not as readily available as other fields. While this doesn’t necessarily correlate with a talent shortage, it does explain why IT pros are harder to find; namely, that they’re already happily employed.
Arguments Against the IT Talent Shortage
On the other side of the argument, many people in the field suggest that the IT talent shortage is a myth. Some say that with tech salaries rising, it’s just a matter of paying the right price. Skimp on the compensation package, and very few professionals are going to take the bait. Others say it’s a matter of adjusting job requirements and not being quite so picky about finding “dream” candidates.
An Indeed.com study reports that there’s often a mismatch between where people are looking for jobs and where hiring companies are located. For example, many IT jobseekers are drawn to Salt Lake City, but the demand there is much lower. On the other hand, more companies are hiring in Boston than the number of people who are searching there. As a result, talent shortages seem to be occurring on a regional level, but could be overcome by remote work options or attractive relocation packages.
Finally, as we mentioned before, very few IT pros – approximately 15% according to some surveys – are actively looking for a new job. That means if companies are only shopping the places where active job seekers hang out, then it’s definitely going to look like a talent shortage. But the reality is, 60.4% of IT folks are open to new opportunities even if they’re not actively looking. Companies need to get creative in their recruitment strategies in order to find and attract these people.
Why We Care About Whether or Not the IT Talent Shortage Actually Exists
It’s no secret that doing your market research and understanding the dynamics of talent demand and supply are essential practices, particularly before a major hiring initiative. And knowing whether or not there is a true talent shortage fundamentally changes and directs your hiring strategies.
If there is a talent shortage, you need to focus on how to develop the talent you need to achieve your deliverables. Are you attending college career fairs? Have you invested in employee training and professional development programs? What requirements can you sacrifice when recruiting the people you need?
If there isn’t a talent shortage, you need to determine why your dream IT candidates are so hard to find. Are you searching in the wrong places? Does your company provide the things employees want – the work experience, the competitive salary, the decision-making opportunities, the career growth, etc.? If so, are you advertising those things effectively? Does your employer brand need an overhaul?