Hiring managers in the technology sector feel the acute shortage of skilled professionals daily. But to put those everyday experiences into context, in December 2021, IT and computing staff were the most in-demand of all workers across the UK, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. That means there were more vacancies for IT people than there were for even nurses and HGV drivers.

This is not just a UK problem, with management consultancy Korn Ferry estimating that by 2030 there will be a global shortage of 4.3 million technology workers.

It is not hard to see how we arrived at this situation. Digital transformation was becoming increasingly important before COVID-19 struck, but the pandemic accelerated companies’ plans across sectors and globally.

Suddenly, non-tech sectors, which had been gradually winning a larger share of tech talent over a long period of time, ramped up their efforts to digitise. And heavyweight industries with big budgets entered the market for tech talent with renewed enthusiasm.

Indeed, according to a 2020 McKinsey survey of executives across sectors globally, healthcare and pharma, financial services, and professional services companies reported significant jumps in their rate of digital product development during the pandemic. The public sector, too, put its foot on the digital accelerator.

 With so much demand for skilled tech professionals, workers are in a position to chase higher salaries, greater flexibility and jobs with purpose, making retention and recruitment a huge challenge for hiring managers.

For technology companies, which are facing competition from many segments of the economy, talent shortages could lead to serious problems in the long term. As management consultancy Bain & Company put it, “it’s becoming clear that the competition for tech talent isn’t simply an HR problem. It’s about survival.”

Going back to the day to day experience, hiring managers are regularly facing challenging situations such as candidates dropping out after accepting offers and simply not being able to find the right people for the job.

But they are not passive in this process. There are strategies hiring managers and CIOs can adopt to improve their chances of a successful hire. Paul Griffiths, Business Manager at our parent company SThree, who oversees the tech, cloud and project delivery teams, shares his top tips for technology companies hiring in a competitive market.

Have a back-up offer where possible

Take several candidates through to the final interview stage so that you have options if the best candidate declines your offer. Three is the magic number. If you are able to always aim to ‘final’ three candidates, then you are able to select the best person but also have someone as second best should the top choice not accept your offer or drop out later in the process. To achieve this, you’ll need to work with your internal recruitment team or agency partner on ensuring you have the options to make this happen. 

Dedicate a single day to interviews

If you spread interviews out over a long period, you risk candidates losing interest or getting other offers. Whereas providing a clear target for your agency to hit can really speed things up. Knowing they can secure interviews for a set day will allow your agency to qualify candidates and gain interview availability up front. This can massively reduce the communications involved in the process.

Be sure of your budget and be transparent with candidates 

We often hear, “The budget is ***** but we’d consider *****”. Then fast forward to offer stage and the rate/salary is an issue. What can really clear up issues around money is clarity on what is ideal and what is possible. If you’re looking for a contractor, for example, you might say “£500 all-in is the budget, but it is possible to pay up to £550 all-in”. If your agency knows where the line in the sand truly is, it will allow better decision-making around candidates. They will have a clear target (the budget or below), but also parameters around putting forward more expensive candidates.

Sell your business during the interview

It is common sense that the more interviews a candidate secures the more likely they are to get a job, but another factor to consider is that agencies are targeted and incentivised to get as many interviews as possible for their best candidates. Therefore, there is a good chance that you might find the perfect person at exactly the same time another company has found that same perfect person. Clearly articulating the selling points of the company and the role early on can help ensure you are their preferred option.

Reward good service from your suppliers

We strongly advise that, over time, you partner with the agency you are seeing good service and delivery from, as the more you commit the more they will commit back. When a role comes in to a recruitment agency they will determine how much time and energy to commit to it based on the ‘quality’ of the role. Often that judgment is made based on how much commitment there is from the customer and how fillable the role is. Is it better to have one trusted supplier fully committed to sourcing it or five who have it at the bottom of their to do list?


We’re a trusted supplier to many leading organisations, so for help finding the right tech people, contact us today!