Tech Hiring Trends to Know for the Year Ahead

Why It’s Important to Pay Attention to Tech Hiring Trends

Unemployment is continuing its downward trend across the country, hitting a 50-year low in September at 3.5%. This holds true in Illinois as well, though Wisconsin has seen a slight uptick in unemployment over the past quarter. While historically low unemployment rates across the country mean good things for the economy, it can also bring more challenges — particularly for human resources and recruiting teams on a few fronts.

First, with more opportunities available for job seekers, the influx of applications, resumes, cover letters, phone calls, and emails means a significantly heavier administrative workload. While there are efficiencies, managing this workload can quickly eat up significant amounts of time from HR and recruiting teams’ schedules. And while this work goes toward helping people find jobs, it’s still work. HR and recruiting teams’ time must be streamlined so they can better manage organizational goals of benefit administration, personnel development, and so on.

Second, with more people filling open positions, the amount of talent available in the market is dwindling. This might seem like a counter to the point above, but it’s actually in tandem with it — people will always apply for jobs, even if they’re already employed and even if they’re unqualified for the role. (In fact, as many as 75% of applicants aren’t qualified for the role they’re applying for.) With a significant amount of incoming (and predominantly unqualified) applications coming in, the true candidate base for your positions is shrinking.

When it comes to technology positions, now more than ever is the time to start paying attention to tech hiring trends — not only to ensure you and your candidates are on the same page, but also so that your organization is able to secure the talent it needs to move forward. Let’s review several tech hiring trends to know as you prepare your hiring strategy for 2020.

Five Tech Hiring Trends to Know to Find Great Candidates

1. Work Flexibility

Millennials are currently the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, followed (diminishingly) by Generation X and Baby Boomers, the latter of which are retiring by thousands per day. Whereas previous generations were fine with the standard 8–5 in-office job, Millennials demand greater flexibility in terms of where, when, and how they work. This tech hiring trend is particularly important for companies looking for developers and other tech roles, as those skillsets are high in demand. If you’ll be hiring tech positions soon, consider what you have to offer — particularly in your new hire package. How you approach benefits, compensation, and soft benefits such as in-office perks should be part of your overall hiring strategy.

2. Fair Scheduling Requirements

While not limited to Millennials alone, finding the right work-life balance is becoming a greater focus for employees, companies, and lawmakers. While not every organization will utilize an hourly scheduling and compensation structure for technology positions (particularly critical roles such as senior developers, cybersecurity experts, and leadership roles), you may have tech roles focusing on support, repair, maintenance, and so on.

If these roles are hourly, you’ll want to pay close attention to this tech hiring trend as it’s already a law in many areas. The use of a fair scheduling solution may become necessary to ensure you’re meeting fair workweek obligations. This will be useful as it pertains to our next tech hiring trend as well.

3. Hourly/Contract Work Preferences

Another tech hiring trend that is particularly applicable to Millennials is the growing preference for hourly or contract-based work as opposed to standard full-time workweeks. As discussed, Millennials and others are desiring more flexibility in their work schedules. This extends beyond what hours to work or whether it’s in-office or remote. It also extends to the structure of their overall working arrangement with their employer.

Across the generations, 57% of workers in 2018 said they were interested in taking on a freelance role (up 6% from 2017). Getting more granular, 74% of Millennials said they were interested in freelancing as opposed to 57% of Generation X workers and 43% of Baby Boomers. While becoming one’s own boss is certainly a reason for the preference shift, others are doing it for greater flexibility and time for more important things like spending time with family and taking care of aging relatives.

Whether your organization already contracts technology roles, it’ll be important to consider how you can meet this growing tech hiring trend. According to an employee benefits report from MetLife, 87% of employees who companies support work-life balance said they’re happy with their roles and are loyal to their employers.

4. Benefits Are Part of Your Strategy

When it comes to winning great candidates, it’s not just about negotiating the best compensation anymore. While some Millennials are willing to sacrifice key benefits in exchange for hourly or contract work, just as many aren’t. Millennials understand the importance of benefits now and for the long-term as well as how they factor into their overall compensation package with a potential employer.

Recently, we explored several situations in which offers were made to candidates applying for technology positions. In each situation, the candidate previously had some key benefits or compensation offering that wasn’t available with the new employer. To offset this, additional compensation was offered via salary or bonus, or additional PTO was negotiated into the final offer. Many Millennials are starting or already have families and are paying attention to their retirement goals, so consider how your benefits offerings can help them in these areas.

To give you a reference point, check out this list of the top 50 companies with the best benefits in Chicago. Using feedback from their listings and team quotes, you can get an idea of what helps them excel in this space. And to see how your compensation practices align with other companies, you can also explore the top 50 best-paying companies in the area, too.

5. Remote and Distributed Workforces

In their recent survey, FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that remote work has grown by 91% over the past 10 years and by 159% over the last 12 years. While remote work brings many benefits for both employer and employee alike, it also brings with it a number of regulatory and compliance requirements that can be difficult to manage for HR teams. This is particularly true when the remote or distributed workforce crosses state or even national borders, as different laws and requirements must be addressed and satisfied.

While not a specific tech-hiring trend, the staggering growth of remote work and the workforce’s desire for more flexible opportunities means that your organization may have greater responsibility in terms of labor requirements (if it doesn’t already). A greater emphasis on and investment in effective change management and internal policy development should be on your radar if your organization will offer remote work options. (We know, it doesn’t sound fun, but it’ll be important to protect your organization and your employees.)

Consider Tech Hiring Trends’ Impact on Culture

As more and more of these changes begin to take hold in your organization as well as across the country and world, it’ll be important to consider their impact on your company culture. If you’re not already offering work flexibility in terms of where and when people work, adapting to a new policy may become difficult for existing employees.

Don’t make these changes without considering the potential impact there and how they can be rolled out effectively to an existing workforce. Again, change management, communication, and feedback will be invaluable as you begin to implement these tech hiring trends and others.

At CultureFit, we work with organizations that are planning for, implementing, and adapting to change in addition to recruitment and hiring. After all, change and hiring make an impact on one another, so careful consideration and planning is critical to success. If your organization is considering adopting new tech hiring trends, contact us to learn how we can support you.