Home » IT Recruitment » How to recruit and retain IT professionals during a skills shortage

Despite headline grabbing job losses amongst the leading global US tech firms, with layoffs at Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter and Paypal and many others in 2023, the UK IT job market remains tight with limited candidate availability and a serious IT skills shortage.

In a job market where key IT skills are in short supply, and business critical IT staff can simply leave for a better deal elsewhere if unhappy, recruitment and retention strategies have never been more important.

Employers face a number of recruitment challenges during a shortage of IT candidates. If left unaddressed, these challenges can have a negative impact on company growth and pile extra pressure on the existing team.

IT recruitment challenges

  • With a limited pool of available candidates, employers have a harder time attracting individuals with the necessary IT qualifications and skills to fill open positions.
  • When there are fewer candidates to choose from, employers face increased competition from other companies looking to hire similar talent.
  • Increased competition for candidates forces employers to offer higher salaries and other incentives in order to attract top talent. This has the added knock-on effect of pushing up internal salaries to maintain consistency and parity across roles.
  • With a shortage of candidates, employers find that it takes longer to fill open positions, which results in project delays and disruptions to operations.
  • Employers may struggle to find a diverse group of candidates due to lower levels of candidate attraction, which can result in a lack of diversity in the workforce.
  • Increased pressure on existing employees, with more work being shared across an already overstretched team, can give rise to issues with employee engagement and retention.
  • Employers may compromise by hiring candidates who may not fully match the requirement or culture, ultimately leading to poor performance and turnover.

Which IT skills are in highest demand?

Each of these specialist areas have seen a shift from permanent employment to more lucrative consultancy work over the past 12 months. Despite the economic turmoil and current layoffs in industry, it is unlikely any cuts will extend to employees with these skills.

  • Software Developers
  • Cyber Security
  • DevOps
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Software Testing

Addressing the challenge

  • Reach out to the widest pool of candidates, making it easier to find individuals with the necessary skills.
  • Develop an employer brand, working with the marketing and HR departments to produce a compelling case to join your organisation.
  • Create appealing employment packages: Flexible working hours, remote work options, and benefits such as healthcare, pension plans, training and development programs, to attract and retain top talent.
  • Ensure your compensation package for the existing team is competitive – check salaries are in line in our IT Salary Guide.
  • Upskill current employees: Employers can invest in training and development programs to help current employees acquire the IT qualifications and skills needed to fill open positions and complete projects.
  • Recruit from new sources: Broaden your IT recruitment efforts to include new sources of talent, such as recent graduates or employees from other industries.
  • Allocate an advertising budget, running a campaign across multiple channels to maximise candidate attraction.

Broaden your IT recruitment efforts

Companies upskilling for retention

Broaden your IT recruitment efforts

Companies upskilling for retention

IT salary increase

Produce a skills gap analysis

IT Salaries

Engage a contractor to deliver services

Work with existing employees to create case studies, showing the potential for progression within the company.

Work with the team to forecast skill requirements and produce a skills gap analysis to address future skills shortages, hiring and upskilling into defined areas.

In the search for talent, start early; consider starting a trainee academy for high demand skills.

Form partnerships with local colleges, Universities and IT training providers to create pipelines for the key skill sets.

Employee referral programmes are powerful tools to attract potential candidates. Referral programmes can generate a good number of potential candidates through your employee network.

Engage a contractor to deliver services, alleviating pressure whilst the recruitment campaign to attract a permanent employee is in process.

IT salary increase

Produce a skills gap analysis

IT Salaries

Engage a contractor to deliver services

IT recruitment agencies

Employers can also use a specialist IT recruitment agency who will have access to a larger pool of candidates, bigger advertising budget and connections with passive candidates. Outsourcing the task and searching a larger pool of potential IT professionals will deliver a quicker and more effective solution than going it alone.

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