Recruiting & Retaining Tech Talent in 2023
As a senior leadership and executive IT recruiter, I gain insight from clients and candidates daily. Below are some practical tips and advice we have found to help ensure you are in an optimal position to attract talent.
How robust is your 2023 hiring strategy?
Industry data continues to show a record high for IT job vacancies. In a recent CW jobs report, adverts were up 11% between October 2022-December 2022 on pre-pandemic data indicating there is still significant demand for tech talent.
The same report also found that 60% of UK tech workers are actively considering changing jobs and that many are pre-emptively looking at other roles in case their existing company suffer due to market conditions.
All of this creates a climate, where if seeking a job, candidates will have choice. Firms must do more to stand out to attract and retain the best talent. A robust recruitment and retention strategy should firmly be on any IT leader’s agenda in 2023.
Our Top Tips to Secure Tech Talent in 2023
- Invest in your candidate experience
Today over 50% of IT candidates claim they would reject a job offer regardless of salary and benefits offered if they felt they had a negative recruitment experience. It is easy to forget that interviews are a two-way process. It is highly likely that each candidate you meet with will have other opportunities they are considering. Candidates are interviewing you as a prospective employer just as much as you are them a candidate.
- Clear communication & timely feedback
An effective hiring process is key and requires thought. What is the format of your interviews? when and where? and with whom? Ensure processes are in place to provide clear and regular feedback, promptly. Candidates will quickly disengage if kept waiting. Employers that get it right have a measured, effective process and can act decisively to secure talent when it presents itself.
- Broaden your talent pool
Hiring processes can drag when you are struggling to generate enough applicants. It is essential therefore that you can confidently promote the purpose of your role and organisation. Job adverts need to be more than a list of bullet points. List-style adverts put off more candidates than they attract. Further still, how your advert is written will directly impact the diversity of your candidate pool. For example, women are less likely to apply to a role unless they match the majority of listed criteria. It is important to define what really are the essential elements of the role and where you can be more to ensure you do not prevent interest in your opportunity.
- Understand your audience
Historically, salary and location have been the main drivers for applicants seeking to change jobs. The contemporary workforce is often motivated by other factors. Whilst hybrid/remote working is expected by most workers in the Tech sector, over 75% of candidates in a recent study stated a company’s DE&I stance was a key factor in choosing a new employer.
- Be transparent, open & honest
There has never been more information available to candidates prior to joining a business. A clear yet candid picture of the working environment will dramatically improve your hiring process. Candidates who make a wrong move can easily move again. You will achieve better outcomes by sharing the exact nature of the challenge and asking how candidates might solve it.
Investing in your IT team by hiring new talent has also been shown to have a positive impact on employee morale and retention. By getting your hiring strategy right, you can ease existing staff attrition. Alongside staffing there are a number of other push factors that motivate candidates to change jobs. Understanding what these are and what you can do to mitigate them can also boost engagement and reduce staff churn.
Top frustrations for senior tech workers
Senior Tech Workers (3+ years of experience) seek to change jobs for a variety of reasons. In my experience the most common motivations where as follows:
- Lack of opportunity to upskill/progress; people like to be motivated by fresh challenge, learning or development. If this your team do not feel this is available, you may see a spike in movement.
- Too many processes; As a business changes, the day-to-day systems, controls, and routines become tiresome. If a job becomes stale, workers are quick to seek a change of environment.
- Inflexible working pattern; Workers dislike being called in to the office without gaining some value from it. Hybrid & remote working has become the norm for technology workers, but it is important to spend time together providing it is meaningful.
- Lack of budget; In tech, candidates like to be working with modern technology and solutions. If your business is not investing in the right areas this may cause employees to decide to look elsewhere. Tech resources fear being left behind without gaining experience in new developments or environments.
- Lack of support; Regular check ins/reviews and feedback are important. Access Employee Assistance Programmes, healthcare, and support for childcare arrangements have also been shown to have a positive impact on retention.
Employers must focus on motivating employees to stay because the cost and challenge in replacing talent often dwarfs the investment needed to keep them.
In Summary, the Tech market in the UK continues to be buoyant. There is no silver bullet to solving recruitment and retention challenges. However, making marginal adjustments to your hiring process can have a substantial impact. To stand out you need to broaden your pool of candidates and commit to a clear and open process to build trust. Employers that show adaptability and flexibility whilst promoting their brand, culture and proposition will appeal to candidates over their competitors.
When hiring, it is important to make your job advert as rich as possible and once you have hired people, keep them engaged. Existing and prospective employees like to hear about company wins and regularly sharing news can build momentum and encourage positivity. Look after your existing employees to bolster wellbeing and offer training and support where appropriate, e.g., Mental Health Awareness. A continuing focus on culture and professional development will contribute to high retention.
If you would like to discuss how Berwick Partners can help you to recruit and retain talent to your organisation, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0798 941 0140.
Rob Fain is a Principal Consultant in the IT & Digital Leadership Practice at Berwick Partners (an Odgers Berndtson company). He specialises in recruiting CIOs, IT Directors, and other senior technology leadership roles across a variety of sectors. He has a particular interest in Manufacturing, Engineering & Infrastructure markets.