The need for tech talent continues to grow.
In its 2017 State of Tech Recruiting report, Built In indicated that 53 percent of companies surveyed have salary increases planned for 2017 in hopes of attracting the most qualified personnel.
Other sources report similar growth. The Computing Technology Industry Association's 2016 edition of Cyberstates revealed that the technology industry added almost 200,000 jobs to the U.S. economy. The industry also contributed 7.1 percent of the overall GDP.
For a well-funded startup, this rapid growth (and similarly growing salaries) may not be a concern. For the majority of small businesses, however, the level of demand and competition for these hires is going to make getting high-quality talent more problematic.
Dealing with high demand
Based on data compiled by Glassdoor, hiring for tech positions takes up to 35 days. Hiring IT staff can be difficult, and while screening applicants more thoroughly usually narrows the search to some of the best candidates, making the process too lengthy can mean losing desirable candidates to other companies -- potentially competitors.
The following tips can help a company survive the wait and recruit the right new hire:
1. Create an environment of respect.
Employers on even the tightest budget can compensate by offering an attractive company culture. Experienced technical employees prefer to be in an environment where their expertise is respected and they’re given a certain level of independence.
They’re smart, capable people, so making them an important part of the mission of the company will go a long way toward attracting talented applicants. Stack Overflow’s survey of more than 50,000 developers around the globe concluded that company culture is one of job seekers' top three priorities when applying for a role. Creating a respectful workplace will attract candidates who have experience and who will respect your company in return.
2. Cross-train employees.
While you're waiting for the right candidate, consider training someone in-house who has the inclination and ability for a tech role. Cross-training can help address tech problems or goals while you review candidates, and the potential for cross-training itself can become a recruiting tool, among other benefits.
Doing so might even result in a new career in technology for the cross-trained employee. A CareerBuilder survey found that 33 percent of employers surveyed would consider on-the-job training to fill the company's open positions. On the other hand, it doesn’t always work out ideally, so be realistic about adding demanding responsibilities to current employees who might already have a full plate.
3. Connect with a technology partner.
Hiring an external company offers another avenue to incorporate a level of experience and expertise that might not be affordable otherwise, whether it's full-time or just until the right candidate joins the team.
Third-party technology providers offer a new perspective on a company's operations and can help leaders problem-solve outside the box; even Nestlé has begun to use tech partners for future innovations. Additionally, a partner firm becomes especially helpful in filling roles for more complex and highly sought-after spaces in technology, such as tech management or cybersecurity-related roles.
The trend of increased salaries reflects the high demand for great tech employees. That can cause problems for small business owners on a budget, but it should also make them think about how valuable a role tech talent plays in a business. These skills are increasingly in demand because they’re integrally tied to business success. That means it’s important to make technological talent a core part of business planning -- not an afterthought.