Candidates Calling the Shots: It’s Time to Take a Stand in 2022’s Hiring Climate
If you’ve been keeping up with recruitment news over the last 12 months, you’ll no doubt be familiar with ‘The Big Resignation’. It refers to the huge number of workers who have reappraised their working life and either left their jobs, or plan to, in the wake of COVID-19.
As people’s priorities changed post-pandemic, the power dynamic in hiring has changed too. So, how can candidates use this shift to their advantage? And what does it mean for employers?
The Big Resignation: The Facts
According to a recent study, 1 in 4 UK workers were planning to change employers in 2021. That’s 25% of workers, in comparison to the usual 11% previously expected to move jobs over one year. Another report found that people in the UK were resigning at the highest rate seen since 2009.
Not many industries have seen more upheaval than tech and IT. According to Gartner, 31% of IT workers were seeking new jobs in the second half of 2021.
So what’s led to this widespread career restlessness?
Why Are So Many People Changing Jobs in Tech?
Skilled workers and tech specialists are in high demand. Global Knowledge found that 76% of the world’s leading IT companies were dealing with grave skills shortages across the board. Another report puts the number at 70% in the UK.
In this context, job candidates are suddenly able to be more choosy when it comes to picking an employer. If a job doesn’t meet their requirements, it’s easy to switch to one that does.
Here are some of the reasons tech and IT workers might have for seeking fresh employment.
One of the most interesting developments resulting from the pandemic is the huge shift to remote working. At first, WFH wasn’t a choice for many people, as lockdowns prevented all but key workers from leaving their homes. Employers steeled themselves for project setbacks and distracted employees.
However, it rapidly emerged that home working wasn’t the threat to productivity most employers thought it was going to be. In fact, new research shows that remote working actually increases productivity – the findings demonstrate that remote working boosts work engagement by 75% and innovation by 63%.
With employers no longer able to use the excuse that it’s bad for business, remote working has become non-negotiable for many workers – especially in tech and IT, where roles are often uniquely suited to WFH.
“Even if it isn’t full-time, almost all candidates now expect a blend of home and office working,” says our software skills specialist, Matthew Foot. “Anyone expecting full-time office workers will find themselves at a significant hiring disadvantage.”
Simply put, if a company doesn’t offer remote and flexible working, its employees are likely to start looking elsewhere.
With so many IT companies experiencing skills shortages, workers have their pick of roles – and it’s unsurprising that many will go for the jobs that pay best. If an employer doesn’t offer a worker the pay rise they expect, they can simply move to another role that will.
The November 2021 Lloyds Bank Business Barometer reports that 43% of firms expect to see a 2% increase in average wages over 2022, while 25% expected a 3% increase.
Wellbeing Over Work
That being said, many workers are reporting a change in priorities since the dawn of Covid. Lockdowns helped many people achieve a better work/life balance – workers wasted less time commuting and had more time to spend with family or on hobbies. The pandemic also made people re-evaluate what was important to them.
That’s why employees are fast ditching roles that involve too much stress, conflict, or overtime, preferring jobs that offer a better location or working environment, a positive company culture, increased wellbeing and fewer hours. This has become so important to job seekers that many are even willing to take a pay cut over it.
What Does This Mean for IT Candidates and Employers?
When it comes to employers, the key is complete transparency. Companies have to be upfront about the things employees are looking for – i.e. flexible hours, benefits and good working environments.
Higher rates of pay can certainly help, but company culture, career progression, up-skilling opportunities and employee appreciation are equally important. The more a company can do to make their role attractive, the more likely they are to snag that sought-after employee.
If you’re a tech or IT candidate, the current climate means that you’re in a stronger position than ever before. Have confidence in yourself and your skills, and remember that you’re in the driving seat! As a specialist with in-demand skills, you now have more leverage when it comes to choosing who you work for.
Making the decision to move jobs can be stressful, but with the right support and advice it can be a lot less painful than you imagine. Yes, you will still have to go through the interview process and tell your current employer you want to leave, but it’ll be worth it – especially when you know you could be more fulfilled at work.
A better future is worth paying the price now.
Land your next dream job in IT and tech
With skilled specialists currently in short supply, the hiring climate in 2022 is a candidate-focused land of opportunity. With so many employers keen to attract professional talent, there has never been a better time to push for working on your own terms and craft your dream job.
Get advice and feedback on your options – or get clarity on where you want to go in future – in a friendly initial chat with one of our agents.
Andy is responsible for making sure Bristow Holland delivers results for our clients. Drawing on over 20 years recruitment experience, Andy leads our team of specialist recruiters in combining modern recruitment recruitment techniques with old fashioned network building and market knowledge so we can give clients access to the best talent the market has to offer.