What does tech recruitment look like in 2019?
If there’s one thing that deters employers from hiring, or candidates seeking new opportunities, it’s uncertainty. That’s not to say things have been quiet in the tech recruitment industry over the past 12 months – far from it – but I certainly anticipate a significant increase in hiring activity once we have more clarity on Brexit, namely what the final deal means for businesses and the wider economic landscape. There’s a lot of pent-up energy in the marketplace, with many businesses looking to expand, so whether the deal is agreed by March or later in 2019, I believe employers who have been holding fire on recruitment plans will be ready to press ahead, or re-prioritise, once they have a better understanding.
Similarly, in times of uncertainty, many employees don’t tend to look for new roles – they just hunker down and wait it out. Back in 2010, for example, it was difficult to get people to move. They were nervous because the news was dominated by the doom and gloom of the recession, and everything was unsettled. They were effectively saying, “I’m not going to do anything and sit tight.” Once the financial crisis began to subside, people started to move, and the last eight years has been like a bull market as far as recruitment is concerned.
A candidate-driven market
From a candidate’s perspective, you couldn’t pick a better time to be in IT. In 2019, you will continue to have a choice of jobs, your salary will continue to tick upwards as you gain experience, and opportunities are going to be plentiful for you across all areas of IT.
In fact, it’s hard to point at an area of IT that won’t experience high demand – if I had to, it would probably be user-focused infrastructure support. That’s the one area of IT where demand is tailing off a bit as so many services are being delivered through applications and Software as a Service (SaaS). Outside of that, however, you are sitting pretty. You’ll have jobs coming at you regularly, and you’ll probably need somebody to help you filter them and advise you on what’s good, what’s bad, and where the market is going.
The challenge for employers
So, what does this mean for employers? I think a lot of companies are just beginning to appreciate the challenge of tempting candidates away from their current role. They may have had fairly stable teams for the past few years, so they might not understand what they need to do in today’s market. As a result, it could take them months to fill key positions, impeding their ability to grow.
Simply saying “I’ve got this job at this salary” may have served you well up until now, but it won’t next year – there’s now a lot more to think about when it comes to attracting candidates. What does your employer brand look like? Do you tell a good story? What messages are you giving about your company, and who are you choosing to relay these messages? These are the sorts of questions you need to be asking yourself as an employer in 2019.
Nailing your candidate process
Process is also going to come under the microscope next year – if you can’t turn applications around quickly enough, you’re not even going to get in the race. Let’s assume you’ve got two jobs with equally attractive prospects to a candidate. If one has a laborious, stretched out application process that runs over four weeks, the more agile business is going to snap that candidate up.
To give a sense of how competitive the market has become, some of our clients are now saying to us, “Actually, don’t wait for us to send you a job – as soon as people become available, just send them to us. We will see them.” These companies have growth plans, and they know how long the process can take from candidate identification through to notice periods being served. By seeing people on a regular basis, it can help them make hiring decisions sooner, and it also gives them a better understanding of the market compared to a company that is only interviewing candidates once or twice per year.