Here’s Why It’s Getting Harder to Fill IT Jobs


It’s no secret that the tech scene is booming across the nation, and if you’re feeling the heat to get the best tech pros on your team, you’re not alone. Businesses everywhere are confronted with rising trends in digitalization, globalization, changing consumer habits, and generational shifts, and at the heart of these changes lays technology. But the biggest challenge of all is finding and recruiting the people you need to address your technology needs and initiatives. We see it every day and in every industry. Below, we explore the reasons behind this challenge.

Soaring Demand for IT Professionals

The national tech unemployment rate has been hovering at just 2.0% for several months, while the average number of days to fill the typical IT position is at a massive 26.7 days. We can infer from this data that the supply of readily available tech talent is in low reserve, far below the soaring demand.

And that demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to increase a huge 12% over the next decade. This due in particular to occupations in Cloud technologies, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and mobile computing. The booming need for top IT talent is likely to continue well into the future; in fact, the BLS also predicts that over 1 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to decreasing numbers of people entering these fields.

Hard to Find Technical Skills

One of the big reasons it’s hard to find the talent to meet the demand is the simple fact that technology moves so rapidly. This causes two main problems. First, there’s a handful of technologies that are now considered “outdated,” which fewer people are proficient in. These legacy technologies are used in industries such as banking, computer science, weather prediction and more, and range from C and COBOL to Fortran and Mainframes, and more. As increasing numbers of professionals move their careers in favor of newer, cutting edge technologies, these legacy technologies are left in the dust, with a smaller talent pool to maintain the environments that use them.

On the other hand, companies that are quick to adopt newer technologies often find that the supply of professionals who can use them has yet to catch up to the demand. Think Cloudera, Puppet, Cassandra, Groovy, Hadoop, Swift and more. Many of these hot new languages and platforms are also some of the highest paying technologies, which ups the ante for any company trying to recruit these professionals.

Rises in IT Salaries

Hot new technologies are not the only place salaries are seeing major spikes. Tech compensations are getting higher across the board. In fact, last year saw a 7.7% year-over-year jump in tech wages. That’s the largest ever increase, and over $20,000 higher than the average tech salary from 10 years ago. Bonuses also saw a 7% increase.

What does that mean for employers? A major squeeze of IT and departmental budgets. While the best tech professionals are motivated by more than just money, a handsome paycheck definitely doesn’t hurt. In fact, it could mean the difference between accepting your job offer versus your competitor’s job offer.

A Candidate-Driven Market

The abundance of tech jobs combined with rising salaries and evolving technologies culminate to produce a candidate-driven market. For employers, this primarily means that candidates have more freedom and control in what jobs they apply for and accept. It also results in increasing numbers of passive candidates rather than active jobseekers.

A recent survey reports that more than 60% of developers are open to new job opportunities but aren’t actively looking. And only 15% of respondents were actually actively seeking. The implication is that companies are unlikely to find their next employee on a job board. In fact, 1 in 3 survey respondents found their current jobs through a referral.

Furthermore, some industry leaders believe that less than 10% of people respond to job ads at all, with 95% moving into a new position either through networking or internal promotion. These statistics are powerful, because they show that candidates are entering the job market with a very different perspective than they were just a few years ago. And employers need to adapt their recruitment strategies accordingly.

It’s this adaptive recruitment process that many companies are struggling with as they seek top IT talent for their open positions. If that’s a challenge that sounds familiar, we’d love to share more of our insights into recruiting the best of the best. Just reach out today and tell us more about your hiring challenges.