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IT Professionals and Unemployment: Reality Bytes

Author: Pete Langlois/Tuesday, September 10, 2013/Categories: SNI Technology

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Each time I meet with a client, or talk to a highly qualified technology candidate, I get the same impression: technology unemployment is a bit of an oxymoron. And, it seems that the Bureau of Labor Statics agrees: At the end of 2012, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, more than twice the 4.1 percent unemployment rate among information technology professionals. And, things have only gotten better – or worse – depending on where you sit. Currently, the national unemployment rate is around 7.8 percent, but is estimated to be about 3.2 percent for technology professionals.

This makes finding skilled candidates for your open position difficult – and getting them to accept the position even more of a challenge. The new reality of technology hiring requires some new and more aggressive skills by recruiters and staffing professionals, and the employers for whom we conduct searches. More than a dozen times in the last six months, I have personally seen a great candidate slip through the fingers of an employer because they just did not understand the “new reality” of technology hiring until it was too late. The following are important actions you should take to be successful in this new hiring environment.

New Reality #1: Act Quickly: Candidates are fielding multiple offers from multiple employers. While this may sound exciting and flattering, it’s actually pretty exhausting. They are looking for a fast and streamlined process so they can get out of “looking” mode and into “working” mode. Employers can’t take days to consider a candidate after talking or meeting with a candidate. In fact, sometimes you can’t take hours. If you know you want the candidate, and feel it’s a good fit, then act immediately. This is truly a situation of “he who hesitates is lost,” and losing a candidate costs you time, money and productivity.

New Reality #2: Know What Is Essential: Employers often come to SNI with a list of 10 essential job skills. And we will do our best to find a candidate that has them. But in this highly competitive environment with a smaller supply of workers you need to reconsider what is important. You might have a list of 10 desired skills, but if six of them are needed to do 90% of the job I suggest you go with the six. It will widen your pool of potential employees and likely speed your job search. Too often I have seen employers reject a candidate who was missing one non-essential job skill – and realize too late the error of this thinking.

New Reality #3: Be Prepared to Pay More: Thanks to social media and the strong professional networks of many IT professionals, salaries are no longer confidential. I strongly encourage our clients to lead with a solid financial offer. Chances are the candidate knows someone within your organization and will easily recognize a low ball offer. And, when things get highly competitive, be prepared to offer a little more. Finding the right candidate that fits your needs and culture is hard enough. Letting them go to another organization over a small amount of money will just cost you more in the long run. Not sure you are offering a competitive salary? Consult SNI’s 2013 National Salary Guide which offers market-specific compensation data to assist you in attracting top local talent and benchmarking salary grade levels.

While I don’t have the ability to predict the future, it is safe to assume that the low unemployment rate for IT professionals will remain steady through the end of the year. I hope that these responses to this “new reality” will help you to get the IT candidate you need as quickly and painlessly as possible.

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Pete Langlois
Pete Langlois

Pete Langlois

Pete Langlois is the Chief Sales Officer at GEE Group. His blog leverages his decades of experience in hiring, training and retaining top talent and covers trends and issues of interest to employers and job candidates alike.

Other posts by Pete Langlois
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Pete Langlois is the Chief Sales Officer at GEE Group. His blog leverages his decades of experience in hiring, training and retaining top talent and covers trends and issues of interest to employers and job candidates alike.

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