We’ve all heard more about the “Great resignation” and the “Great reshuffle” than we ever wanted to. That said, job hopping is a reality of 2022 that isn’t going away. The biggest headache for business leaders and department managers alike is addressing overwhelmed, understaffed teams without breaking budget and operations in the process. The talent sourcing strategy that’s proved most successful is to invest in a few key roles imperative to keep business on track. Then, lean on contingent (or contract) workers to augment staff without spending big dollars that will be lost to turnover in the next 18 months.
We sat down with Shawn Cahill, President of NuWest Technology, to discuss the current state of recruiting challenges and how to adapt. Here’s a TLDR of what’s happening in tech industry hiring right now:
TREND #1 | APPLICANTS ARE LIMITED (OBVIOUSLY)
The tables have turned — it’s not an employer’s market anymore. The influx of candidates and referrals is long gone. In November, something like 4 million Americans quit their jobs, leaving companies with gaping holes in their workforce. Most organizations can’t fill roles fast enough and it costs them through the nose in delayed project delivery, client work, and contract delivery penalties.
Employees are looking for competitive compensation, flexible work options, and improved financial perks like high 401k matching and performance bonuses. The average time to hire for a technical position and with the current labor shortage, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
How to adapt:
It’s more important than ever to get your jobs in front of the right candidates, quickly. This means going outside your own talent sourcing teams to source fast, but it also means improving the hiring process in general. In the past we could afford to sit on candidate decisions for weeks – we do not have that luxury now. If you’re waiting more than a day or two to offer a quality candidate, they’ll get snatched up by competitors.
TREND #2 | GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES HAVE BEEN LIFTED
The shift to remote / hybrid work came with a slew of its own problems and recruiting challenges. It’s also lifted geographic boundaries. Nearly all of the most in-demand jobs can be done remotely. The obvious benefit is a more expansive talent pool for employers previously limited by geography. This is a huge boon for companies prioritizing a diverse workforce and lends itself to cost efficient hires in other parts of the country for those in the highest cost of living markets.
How to adapt:
Any role that can be performed remotely should be remote optional. Full stop. Invest in training in-house recruiting teams to adapt to digital recruitment trends or expand to staffing agencies with talent pools outside your geographic network to source in a variety of locations. The latter can balance your workforce spend while creating more cognitive dissonance on your team. When posting jobs on your own internal side, set the location to the US and not your headquarters. Even if the JD says it’s remote, Google will relay that location if you set your home base in a specific location.
TREND #3 | INCREASED PROJECT-BASED WORK
Business is changing too quickly for slow moving work or status quo. Due in part to the Great Resignation, we’re seeing leaders focus more and more on agile structures that allow them to shift every quarter based on the market and their customer needs. Project-based work has exploded in H1, largely because it keeps employee overhead costs flexible without delaying work.
How to adapt:
No surprise, the easiest way to scale up or change skillsets on a project-by-project basis is to lean into the growing gig economy and grab skilled contingent workers. This is also a great opportunity to upskill your current people, give them experience working with new teams on different tasks, and keep them engaged in their work. The key here is also making sure you have the project managers to support these projects and keep things on time and running smoothly. To me, project managers are worth their weight in gold.
TREND #4 | OUR PROBLEMS ARE EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS
If we all had our own special niche of skillsets that few other orgs need, this article would be irrelevant. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where most of our problems are also everyone else’s problems. We’ve seen a 17% increase in cyberattacks in the last year alone – the average total cost of a breach being about $4.24 million. Obviously, this isn’t common, but companies are still arming themselves appropriately by hiring cybersecurity professionals and network engineers. With more tech job openings and increased success in a project-based model comes a high demand for project and program managers. Regardless of industry, building up your in-house recruiting team to meet the challenges of today’s job market itself is a major blocker. Linkedin reported open recruiting roles increased by nearly 7x more in 2021 than in 2020.
How to adapt:
The easy answer is to tap talent sourcing agencies that already have recruiting teams and talented professionals on deck. Alongside that, pay attention to what people in a specific field are looking for in a strong career opportunity. Highlight the career path options for growth within your company. Get team members that were recently promoted out of a role you’re sourcing for to give the candidate a more credible perspective than the hiring team. Alternatively, step back and look at your current workforce. Is there someone on the team that has ambition and the foundations to level up into the skillset you need with additional training or education? If so, consider investing in that person and backfill their position. Junior roles will almost always be easier to source. More importantly, it shows that person you care about their growth and value them as an employee, which in turn keeps them engaged and more likely to stay long-term.
TREND #5 | A LITTLE BIT LOUDER NOW?
And the final hurdle: getting the candidates’ attention. LinkedIn. Tik Tok. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Reddit. Job seekers spend time on each of these platforms and there are companies recruiting on every one of these platforms. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once, and few companies have enough resources in-house to compete. Are your open roles reaching your ideal candidates?
How to adapt:
Syndicated job boards are a quick and easy way to get eyeballs on your open positions, and some social channels like LinkedIn have a solid presence for the professions you’re targeting. This is the most competitive job market I’ve seen in my 20 years within this industry. You’re not going to win top talent by putting your opening on a job board and calling it a day. Our team’s success has come increasingly from sourcing passive candidates that match the skills and culture fit our clients are looking for and within our own candidate networks we’ve nurtured over the years. To break through the noise and earn attention, you need scads of highly trained talent sourcing teams or a marketing team that can put your digital presence above the rest and connect on an emotional level with your target candidates.
Stacked against enterprise tech companies with massive budgets, competition for the best talent has always been steep, but it will be tougher than ever in H2 as the Great Resignation drags on. These strategies are a few of the methods we employ with our clients to successfully fill gaps in their workforce every day.
If you need a partner to solve hiring challenges in the short term and build workforce efficiencies for the long term, we can help. Our reputation is built on getting quality candidates for clients, faster and in fewer submissions. Send us a message with your toughest roles to fill – we dare you.
ABOUT SHAWN CAHILL
Shawn is the President of Technology at NuWest Group and a Seattle native. He leverages his diverse background in sales, recruiting, and leadership to help companies scale how and when they need. Over the past nine years, he has built a thriving technical staffing practice with four divisions from scratch. He leads industry-specialized sales and recruiting teams as a top vendor for clients in Technology, Engineering, Business Operations, and Manufacturing.
Shawn is a UW alum and an avid sports fan.