It is widely accepted that businesses across the UK have been moving into digital ways of working for some time, but more now than ever due to the Covid pandemic. As a result, the technology / IT recruitment market has boomed – and it’s still on the rise!
ZDNet stated that “More than 58,000 new tech jobs were created in the UK between July and September this year, with women landing the majority of those new roles!"
The issue that has arisen from this surge is: how do companies resource for vacancies when faced with a candidate shortage in the market?
Our expert Technology recruiter Sarah Moody has been analysing the market, and has put together this blog to explore her observations and reasons behind the boom, and what it means for you.
A survey by LSE found that 75% of firms had adopted productivity-enhancing technologies since March 2020. The most frequently adopted were technologies for remote working, either alone or in conjunction with other technologies, including online sales, cloud, data analytics and cyber security.
Businesses have been adopting new cloud based technologies in recent years, and even more so in the pandemic in order to ensure business continuity. The government has done its best to support businesses with these technological advancements, including grants specifically designed to help small businesses boost productivity by moving to cloud based models.
The last 18 months have also increased the need for cyber security awareness, and protection. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have reported that “the demand for cyber security professionals has grown by an average of 14 percent per annum since 2016. In the past 12 months, it has grown by nine percent.” You can read the full report on the Cyber Security skill shortage here.
It hasn’t just been about Coronavirus though. Combined with Brexit negotiations in the UK, it has caused a real stir, but whilst there has been much speculation in the media that up to 1 million people have left the UK in the last 18 months, there is little evidence to support this at this stage. The ONS reports that it looks as though “slightly more people” left the UK than usual in the early stages of the pandemic but it is too early to say whether these are temporary departures due to the pandemic and Brexit, or the continuation of a trend which may have been emerging anyway.
The Candidate Led Market
We are now in what is called a "candidate led market". This means that the candidate is in an extremely strong position when they are searching for a role. Businesses are competing over good candidates, which has seen an increase in salaries and contract day rates in an attempt to secure good hires. According to the Office of National Statistics, salaries have risen as much as 7% in some cases.
Large numbers of workers in the technology sector are now able to work remotely and so candidates searching for roles find it much easier to slot in interviews during their working day, with Microsoft TEAMS / Zoom on hand for most. Pre-pandemic, Candidates would have needed to arrange time off and travel to the place of interview. Now there is very little or no travel, candidates can easily schedule an interview during their working day. This provides good candidates with multiple opportunities, and thus multiple offers to consider.
How To Make Good Hires in a Candidate Led Market
The Talent Locker team have compiled the following list for clients to consider in order to secure the best talent in this challenging market:
- Are you asking for a unicorn?
Be realistic about what you can achieve in a job spec. Look at similar job specs online, or ask a specialist recruiter for their guidance. Consider that your job description may be an amalgamation of more than one role.
- Does your job title match the market?
Your business may have a specific job title for the role that you are recruiting for internally (and we support that!), but when advertising your vacancy, you will see an increase in response if you mirror the market with the correct job title. Reach out to your recruiter and ask if the job title is indicative of the description.
- Move quickly with interviews
Speed is the key here; Be quick to interview, and be ready to make quick decisions. The best candidates will have lots of interest from other clients (and likely have multiple offers) and therefore the faster you act, the more chance you have of securing them. Think about your interview process. Can you get all of your key stakeholders into 2 interviews, rather than 3, 4, or more?
- Agree and stick to the interview plan
Stick to the original time & date wherever possible. More interviews from hiring companies are being cancelled or rearranged than ever before, because everyone is so busy. Whilst it’s super simple and therefore tempting to re-arrange online interviews when something comes up, this can put doubt in the candidates mind.
- Invest your time into running professional interviews
It is a delicate balance of moving quickly, while making sure that your candidate feels like you’ve fully invested the time to interview them, especially when hiring for permanent roles. Be mindful that interviewing is a two way street. Quick 30-minute interviews won’t do the trick when you are presenting your opportunity to potential candidates. The interview works both ways, especially in this market. Spend time, make sure all parties are comfortable and this will aid in coming to the correct conclusion for all.
- Hybrid / Office working
Be clear with candidates from the get go with what your business is planning regarding working from home or in the office. We are seeing people accepting roles purely on the basis that they are looking to remain in a remote position… If companies start asking employees to transition back to be in the office 2 or more days a week, candidates will potentially look to move.
- Remote onboarding
Onboarding remotely can be challenging for some. There is often lots of learning along with trying to understand ways of working in an office that the candidate may not even visit for months. This is so much tougher from home and the candidate may not feel fully bought in to your company. Put together a robust plan that includes getting to know them and making them really feel like part of the team as they are unlikely to meet their colleagues, co-workers and stakeholders for some time.
- Building loyalty
Whilst we all expect loyalty, in today’s world – things have changed. Candidates aren’t so attached to companies anymore as many roles offer remote working, meaning that in some instances neither party have physically met. It becomes far easier to hand in notice / resign remotely, when you don’t have that opportunity to really connect and build relationships.
- Making a compelling offer
The market has changed, and salaries and benefits packages are more competitive now. Businesses that have rigid / set pay grades and compensation packages may find it challenging to secure the right candidate at the level that they can offer. If this is the case, (not all candidates accept because of a higher salary) focus your efforts on the long-term benefits of joining your organisation (projects / career progression / environment etc). Under-offering a candidate can be interpreted negatively and one who accepts may still continue looking for a new role and will find time to continue interviewing.
- Counter offers
Companies don’t want to lose their top staff and more than ever are trying to tempt their staff to stay, by way of the counter offer, more money, changing roles / responsibilities etc to entice the candidate to stay with them. Some candidates get persuaded to stay and can decline offers even after verbally accepting. It is so important from the first interaction with the candidate that they are bought in to your opportunity.
- Get the cotton wool ready
You need to be ready to wrap your new hires in cotton wool – before they start and throughout the early part of their tenure. Get them engaged and committed to the company before they start. Consider sending them a little something in the post. Put on a ‘welcome’ event via Teams or Zoom with their immediate team, just so they can get to know everyone. Ask them about how they like to work. Make sure they have everything they need to get started at home if they’re remote. Like any relationship, it takes work!
Need help with your technology recruitment strategy? Speak to our expert, Sarah, today.