December 23, 2019 Last updated December 20th, 2019 1,367 Reads share

The Challenges of Recruiting IT and Software Professionals

Challenges Recruiting IT Software ProfessionalsImage Credit:

As the world is becoming more digitized, the demand for good IT and software professionals has slowly grown. IT professionals play a crucial role in the business from streamlining services to providing quality customer support services.

Unfortunately, it has become extremely hard to find good professionals. Finding someone who is certified and has the appropriate experience is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

So, why exactly is it so challenging to find the right professionals in IT and software when businesses are recruiting for them? Let’s explore this area further here:

1. High Demand and Low Supply

In 2017, Code.Org conducted a study that highlighted that there are nearly 500,000 open positions in the computing industry in the US. Today, efforts are being made to bridge this gap but the numbers still haven’t gone down. As is very obvious, there appears to be a large divide between the supply and demand in the market.

It also seems like the American education system is not doing everything it can to introduce more young students into the STEM fields. With budget cuts in the school systems, many public schools shut down their computer labs and libraries first.

The following data also highlights how many schools focus on teaching computer science to their students:

  • 29% of rural schools
  • 29% of small-town schools
  • 45% of suburban schools
  • 34% of city schools

The numbers still aren’t promising which increases the divide between the growing jobs and lack of qualified professionals in the field. It is estimated that by 2026, 255,440 additional positions will need to be filled in by companies with IT and software professionals.

So, when there are too many jobs and not enough professionals, getting the right ones is going to be extremely competitive as each business will be aiming to fill their positions. It can be one of the biggest hurdles that businesses have to overcome.

Outsourcing is one option but even then, there is a gamble as there is no way to predict how well the business can work with the individual. In some cases, outsourcing may not be the best idea particularly when it’s necessary to get constant updates.

2. Not Investing in Their Employees

It is surprising to see that most businesses are not interested in investing in their employees. No one is looking to hire a low-level professional and then train them or help them get certified. For a professional who wants to specialize, this task is completely on them.

Additionally, certification is not inexpensive. They can be costly, depending on the language or area of specialization that a person has chosen. Businesses also tend to view their employees as disposable. This means that instead of training the person, they would prefer to simply hire someone else.

It might appear like they are saving costs on the surface but it can cause damage. An existing IT professional that has been working with the business and understands the systems will be more valuable for a business than one who is just figuring out their place in the company.

3. More Specialization is Needed

In the past, most IT and software development professionals had limited skill sets that they specialized in. Look at the example of a .NET developer to learn more. All they needed to know was the following:

  • JavaScript
  • .NET
  • NET
  • C#
  • jQuery
  • SQL Server

They got bonus points for acquiring certification or appropriate work experience in these areas. Having these skills could open a lot of doors and opportunities for that developer.

Unfortunately, in today’s marketplace, this would not be enough. While they will have opportunities, there will only be a few options. This is because employers need developers who specialize in more.

Programming languages have also changed in a number of ways over the years.

This means that professionals now need to have niche specializations. Suppose a developer knows JavaScript. They will still have to show specialization in Angular, React, Vue, Node and more if they want to get a job as a MEAN stack developer.

Today, JavaScript has over 500+ libraries. So, even if a developer knows JavaScript, it might not enough for an employer. They want to know the niche of the developer and how they can add value. Similarly, there are other tech requirements, specializations, and certifications that employers look for. It is easy to see that while in the past, applicants only had to tick a few boxes in the skills department. Today, they have to do a lot more.

4. Paying Top Price for the Best Talent

Ever wondered why companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook or even Google never seem to be the ones complaining about not finding the best IT and software professionals? That’s because they make sure to attract the best talent and swoop them up through competitive hiring practices.

It’s not just their practices that are competitive but these companies are also willing to pay top dollar. They not only offer packages ranging from $300k to $500k for the best, but they also add some enviable employee perks and benefits. These are extremely hard to beat and tend to attract the right professionals towards them.

With the common business though, this trend also contributes to making it difficult to find the right professionals. How? Their market competitors can offer prospective professionals $10k to $20k more. In fact, many businesses are not above poaching skilled IT and software developers from other businesses in this manner.

Additionally, many professionals understand this and know their worth. They are willing to go to the business that is willing to pay them more. In a surprising turn of events though, sometimes, it is the benefits and perks that matter the most.

IT professionals tend to work in horrendous work environments, pulling through long shifts and few breaks. If a workplace can offer them better benefits and treats them right, they aren’t afraid to switch to them.

There is Still Hope

These challenges could leave businesses with a rather bleak outlook about getting the right IT and software professionals. However, more action is being taken by schools, colleges, and universities to introduce more students to the STEM fields.

Slowly but surely, there will be more STEM professionals available. However, this process does take time so patience is important. However, by offering top prices, a package that is hard to refuse and searching diligently, it is possible to find the right people.

If nothing else works, then it is always possible to try competitive hiring or poaching. Just make sure to offer $10k to $20k more than the others.

Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones

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