Demand for Tech Talent Forces IT Leaders to Adjust Hiring Strategies

Leaders in information technology say they are increasing pay packages and offering flexible work arrangements to deepen the pool of potential employees.

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By Steve Taplin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the first half of 2021, the IT employment market in the United States gained an average of 13,000 positions per month. It was up from an average of 5,000 to 8,000 jobs per month prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, posts on the job-search site were up 39 percent from February 2020 to the end of August 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of unfilled positions topped the 8.7 million Americans who were jobless and looking for work when the Delta variant spike began in July.

An increasingly competitive market

Leaders in the IT industry say they're providing flexible work choices, including a mix of on-site and remote work to attract and keep workers. Based on some estimates, the median pay for IT workers will rise from $94,600 per year in January to $97,000.

Computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. CIO Arthur Hu says the talent market is very competitive and growing more so, given the increasing necessity of digital business and digital transformation models. It's hard to find qualified candidates for positions like technical product managers because of the growing demands for these professionals in the market. CIO's like Mr. Hu say they look for "nontraditional" individuals that may come from outside the company's conventional sector, location, or subject.

Related: Stop Looking at Your IT Department as a Cost Center

It's hard to find qualified candidates for positions like technical product managers in part because of the growing demands for these professionals in the market. Some CIOs say they are looking for individuals that may come from outside the company's conventional sector, location, or subject. According to CIO Prakash Kota, Autodesk Inc. recruited about 250 IT employees since the pandemic outbreak in early 2020.

Placing a high value on talent

Rob Alexander is the CIO of Capital One Financial Corp. He places a high value on talent and plans to recruit over 3,000 technologists by the end of the year. The business is leveraging its move to public cloud and Amazon Web Services as an advantage for recruits. It enables developers to focus on rapidly developing and delivering new apps and services using cutting-edge software tools. Pure Storage Inc. CIO Cathleen Southwick says that qualified candidates, especially software engineers, are hard to come by in the United States and internationally. Companies in Silicon Valley are vying for top technology talent, including the Mountain View, California-based business. Pure Storage aims to attract potential workers by providing a case-by-case flexible work style and competitive pay packages.

Related: How to Hire for Talent, Not Geography

Benefits of working with nearshore software development companies

U.S. businesses have a lot to gain from working with nearshore software development companies. For one, they can save a lot of time and money because the cost of outsourcing to these companies is significantly lower than in other countries.

In addition, they get higher quality work because the developers in these countries are more skilled and efficient. They also get additional benefits such as faster turnaround times, flexibility, and access to skills not readily available in U.S. markets.

The shortage of tech talent has been a major driving force behind this shift in hiring practices. At first, firms could find technologists by looking at colleges and universities through interviews and social media. Now the shortage is forcing IT leaders to find more creative ways to hire, including consulting, contracting, and outsourcing.

Related: Common Misconceptions of Nearshoring

Steve Taplin

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Sonatafy Technology

Steve Taplin is the CEO of Sonatafy Technology (, a premier nearshore software-development-services firm that provides its clients with expertise in cloud solutions, web and mobile applications, ecommerce, big data, DevOps practices, QA, IoT and machine learning.

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