The Challenges of Finding and Keeping Top Tech Talent
Finding technical talent is becoming a real challenge, and it is proving to be an even bigger challenge to keep that talent. Maybe you found someone who possesses all the required certifications necessary to perform the job at a high level, but he or she lacks interpersonal skills.
Maybe you found an expert technical person, but you were unable to promise any high-level advancement opportunities or the financial compensation they desired, which resulted in them seeking opportunities elsewhere. In a recent conversation with Software and MSP executives, it was revealed that MSPs continue to struggle with finding and keeping technical talent.
What Types of Skills/Roles Are Difficult to Fill?
Some tech positions do draw plenty of qualified and interested candidates, but other jobs seem nearly impossible to fill. The IT job market is typically a seller’s market, but some IT roles are especially difficult to fill. From Engineers to Support Team members, leaders in the IT industry revealed which skills/roles are most difficult to fill.
Azure Administrators and Developers, System Admins, and Level 1/2 support roles are the roles that Orion Networks is finding difficult to fill, said Ashu Singhal. Since individuals with strong tech skills could be hired anywhere, it’s hard to hire and keep them. Bryan Badger of Integral Networks revealed how difficult it has been to find and keep talent lately. Worse, it’s not just other MSPs sweeping up the best talent.
We have been actively trying to fill Level 2 & 3 Engineer slots. We have lost staff to larger companies paying a considerable amount more than us and the perception that larger companies mean more opportunity.
The higher the skill set, the more competitive the search is. You have to compete with big companies. The deeper you go in the search for top talent, the harder it is to attract and retain them.
What Are the Challenges That Are Faced When Trying to Fill These Roles?
While trying to recruit and retain the talent to fill those roles can offer you more control, the time spent searching for top tech talent combined with the disruption caused by an unfilled position can have a significant impact on the entire team and the bottom line. Badger detailed key challenges that most businesses are facing today when trying to fill significant roles.
One is just trying to find someone who is legal to work in the country or not recently from the Middle East, as this could create some issues from a possible security or cultural stance. Another challenge is that people send in resumes, but we are unable to get a reply via email or phone to schedule an appointment because they simply do not reply. If we do get communication and schedule something, potential candidates either don’t show up, show up late, or are very unprofessional in their appearance and attitude.
Finding qualified employees to fill any role has always been one of the biggest challenges for solution provider leaders. However, the task of finding and hiring tech talent today appears to be especially difficult right now. ”The issues with hiring that we have been experiencing go far beyond the technical skills. We find that the number of applicants has been reduced significantly from our experience years ago”, Ilan Sredni of Palindrome Consulting, Inc. said recently.
It seems like there are fewer people wanting to work and those that want to work seem to have additional requirements which did not exist a few years ago. As an example, we now have candidates who demand work-from-home options when that was not even a consideration years ago.
”Remote working has become the new norm, and what potential job seekers expect. Since the pandemic, the job market and hiring power have shifted from the employer to the employee. In order to stay afloat during the height of COVID, employers had to think outside of the box to allow their businesses to continue to operate with their employees working remotely”, said Kenny Riley of Velocity IT.
There also seems to be a shortage of local tech talent, meaning that more businesses and organizations are expanding their search. This opens up opportunities to find talent not just locally but on a broader global scale as well. Singhal revealed that it is harder to find local talent and salary requests are increased when local tech talent is found.
How Has Hiring Changed in the Last Few Years?
The latest advancements and the changes in the hiring process can be overwhelming, but just look at how much has changed over the last few years. One of the changes that Bryan Badger has seen in the industry is that many people don’t want to work beyond what is necessary because they see no elemental value in it.
People do not want to work. The mentality has changed from you work for a good paycheck to what are you going to give me to come and work for you? Also, what are you going to give me to show up every day? (i.e. sign-on bonus) We have also noticed that the younger generation does not know how to handle stress, workloads, or any confrontation without resorting to a 5-year-old mentality, completely shutting down, and needing to leave for the day.
The ongoing push toward remote work also continues to compound the tech talent scarcity. ”Candidates now require more flexible hybrid models or the option to work remotely completely”, said Singhal. Our ”everyone is expected to be in office” model is out the window, added Singhal.
”Over the last six months, we’ve been trying to fill a few roles within our support department and weren’t successful in securing ideal candidates. We had several ideal candidates cancel interviews once they realized the position we were hiring for was in the office”, said Riley.
What Has to Change to Start Bringing in Top Tech Talent?
Businesses don’t have to rely on themselves to hire top tech talent. There are several options for business leaders to overcome these challenges with the help and expertise of an outside provider. Working with hiring experts to help you find the right tech talent is an option.
”The biggest thing we as a company have been working on is implementing EOS so we can bring clarity to job roles and accountabilities, along with an improved focus on culture. We have also been going back and gutting our employee benefits package and, instead of the traditional things, we have been asking our staff what is most important to them and incorporating those priorities”, said Badger.
”As for bringing people in the door, we work with several outsourcing companies, not recruiters, and we have a perpetual job ad listed on Zip Recruiter”, added Badger.
The top tech talent knows they are in high demand and believe they have the upper hand in salary negotiations. The package you offer is increasingly important to top talent. To attract top tech talent to your workplace, you may need to offer more than a slight pay increase.
Riley said, ”Ultimately, what got us over the hump and allowed us to secure suitable candidates for our organization was offering above-market salaries for the positions we were hiring for, in combination with providing the flexibility for employees to work from home”, said Riley.
Attracting and retaining top tech talent will continue to be a challenge, but employers that make changes to their hiring practices will finally secure the strong talent they desire in this evolving landscape.