What You Need to Know About Recruiting IT & Tech Talent in 2021

11.03.2021

The last 12 months have changed the face of IT & tech recruitment as we know it. Despite rapid technological advancements since the turn of the century, pre-pandemic recruitment processes were still dominated by in-person interviews and on-premise, office-based roles. 

However, these traditional hiring practices were turned on their head in 2020 as organisations were forced to operate flexibly and embrace remote working. Despite this step-change, ongoing skills shortages combined with intense competition has meant that the race to secure the best tech talent is just as fierce as it was before Covid, if not more.

This blog post looks at the top trends and developments in IT & tech and what hiring managers need to consider if they want to land the best talent in 2021 and beyond.

Rise in demand for specialist tech roles 

The past year has forced employers to refocus their efforts on attracting talent that helps their organisations navigate and thrive in the ‘new normal’. As a result, several areas have seen heightened demand in recent months. Here are five of the most sought-after professionals right now and the reasons why: 

  1. IT support. Critical as the UK workforce continues to work from home and rely heavily on technology to remain productive and operational. 
  2. Software developers. A vital tool for businesses seeking to accelerate digital transformation plans, diversify and drive revenue. 
  3. UI/UX. The pandemic reinforced the need for businesses to be online to survive. Web developers focused on user interface and experience are critical to ensure companies stand out from the competition and win and retain customers.
  4. Cloud specialists. Unsurprisingly, the world moving online throughout 2020 exacerbated the need for skilled cloud professionals to meet modern business and customer needs. 
  5. Cybersecurity. Perennially in demand, the rise of home workers and the heightened security risks this brings has seen demand for these professionals hit an all-time high in 2021.

Remote working is here to stay

There are many reasons that IT & tech hiring has historically stayed close to the office. Some large organisations take pride in recruiting from their area and actively promote themselves as a local supplier of jobs. For others, it’s a matter of trust - will employees be as productive if there’s no one watching? Of course, data security also plays a significant part in whether certain roles can be undertaken from home.

However, the possibility of connecting with previously untapped talent is enough of a driver for organisations to embrace remote working. Additionally, advancements in technology mean professionals in this field are already ideally suited to remote work (with many finding it preferable). 

Those undertaking geographically-unspecific hiring over the last 12 months have found it valuable in connecting with the skills they desperately need. It’s a trend set to gather even more pace in 2021, especially as organisations resume hiring strategies put on ice in 2020.

You know what that means…

If remote working becomes a permanent fixture, so too will remote hiring. Online interviews and assessments will remain the primary means of recruiting for the foreseeable, with some organisations unlikely to return to in-person meetings with candidates at all. 

Switching to online interviews isn’t as simple as downloading Zoom. The entire process needs to be rethought and restructured. For example, fully remote practices can mean candidates are off the market faster than ever, therefore rendering multi-stage interview processes that allow large amounts of time to pass between each stage null and void. 

For development candidates, in particular, we’ll see employers increasingly adopt pair-programming tools in interviews. These enable the interviewer and interviewee to work on a piece of code together, so that skills can be adequately and quickly measured remotely. Say goodbye to whiteboard interviews!

Greater emphasis on EVP

The switch to online hiring and onboarding processes means employers in 2021 will become more aware of the candidate experience and how the business is being represented.

With office space and location becoming less of a selling point, organisations will update Employer Value Propositions (EVP) and communication strategies to reflect modern working practices. It means assessing what’s important to candidates in 2021 and revising company benefits to meet these evolving expectations. For example, flexible working hours, private health insurance and a greater emphasis on learning & development are benefits that candidates are now demanding from employers. 

In addition, tech candidates are proactively seeking companies with strong diversity & inclusion (D&I) strategies. It’s more than just a passing interest, with many demanding evidence of the policies that businesses have in place. It means companies are now prioritising their behaviours, processes and policies surrounding D&I, with a global acknowledgement that such action is integral if they stand a chance of overcoming skills shortages in IT & tech.

You know what to expect. Now what? 

In our next blog, we’ll build on these learnings and explore how hiring managers can find and secure the IT & tech talent they need in 2021. Make sure you stay tuned to the nufuture blog so that you don’t miss the next instalment of our ‘How Has IT & Tech Recruitment Changed?’ series. 

Until then, connect with a member of the nufuture team if you have any specific questions about your talent strategy or hiring needs. Give us a call on 01344 289224 or email info@nufuture.co.uk. Alternatively, complete this form, and we’ll give you a call back. 

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