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Recruiting Tech Talent : Essential Trends & Hiring Solutions

Posted by Kate Smedley on 6 Jul 2017

A new report from Dice[1] found that nearly three quarters of hiring managers intend to increase tech hiring in the second half of 2017. At present, there are an estimated 1.64 million digital tech jobs in the UK and the creation of new jobs in the sector outpaces non-digital. In this article we look at the three key recruitment trends affecting the sector and explore effective hiring solutions for tech talent.

Three tech recruitment trends

The following trends are currently driving demand for tech talent:-

Artificial Intelligence

The inexorable growth in AI means that one in ten of all new jobs created this year are in technology. According to Indeed, the top 5 in-demand roles are:-

  • Full Stack Developer (a rise in demand of 232.2% since 2015)
  • Machine Learning Engineer (191.3%)
  • Reliability Engineer (160.6)
  • Data Scientist (135.5%)
  • Development Operations Manager (134.5%)

Software development roles in particular were reported as the hardest vacancies to fill by nearly half of all employers (44%).

PwC estimates that AI will add 10% GDP to the UK economy by 2030. 


Robert Walters ‘Technology and Recruitment : The Landscape for 2017’[2] found that tech specialists with cybersecurity skills are predicted to be those in highest demand this year for over half of all hiring managers (54%). Cybersecurity was ranked the second highest concern for UK CEOs in PwC’s annual survey, with just over three quarters (76%) considering it a challenge.  The extent of those skills shortages are revealed in a further report from Indeed[3] which found that globally, one million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled, a figure which is predicted to rise to 1.5 million by 2019. Across Europe approximately one third of all cybersecurity vacancies are unfilled.

Digital skills shortages

The Open University’s (OU) Business Barometer published this week revealed the depth of the skills shortage in the UK. 90% of all businesses surveyed reported problems in filling vacancies in the last year. The lack of available talent is costing businesses an estimated £2.2 billion as companies pay higher salaries and turn to temporary workers and recruitment agencies to fill the skills gaps in their business.

The issue is exacerbated by the lack of technical ability as a whole among UK employees. Over half of UK employees state that having the right technical skills is their biggest challenge in job performance. Furthermore, one third are not given sufficient - or any - training in how to use digital tools. A more recent survey found that one fifth of UK workers lack basic IT skills, putting more pressure on sourcing people with IT skills. The CIPD previously warned that the UK is ‘sleepwalking into a skills crisis but to date HR has been slow to respond.

Hiring solutions for tech talent

Taking steps to identify the issues in your recruitment strategy now enables HR to implement hiring solutions to source and retain the tech talent so vital to your business. Effective hiring solutions include the following:-

Build relationships : Dice notes that the most successful tech employers communicate on a regular basis with their talent community. HR must get pro-active. Adopting this approach enhances your employer brand and provides a source of qualified candidates for your next open position. Automate updates through your recruitment software and respond quickly to enquiries. Stack Overflow noted that 59% of developers in the UK & Ireland are open to a career move, but only 1 in 10 (9%) are actively looking for a job. More information on how to build a talent community to meet the specific needs of your business is available here.

Tap into the experience available in the gig economy : Dice also found that tech employers focus on hiring talent with demonstrable experience, a minimum of 10 years in many cases. Hiring teams struggling to source qualified candidates may consider the gig economy as a workable solution, particularly for cybersecurity professionals. 70% of gig economy workers possess at least 10 years of experience in their sector, often more than permanent hires. Highly skilled contingent candidates should be evaluated in the same way as your ‘permanent’ candidates. Fast track referred and qualified applicants through your applicant tracking system to ensure consistent engagement and improve your time to hire.

The power of the hackathon : As well as ‘go-to’ communities like Stack Overflow or Github, companies are turning to tech initiatives to connect with potential talent. For example, a growing number of banks now run hackathons at Universities. Attracting graduate talent with sought after skills in machine learning, data analysis and AI was the goal of hackathons launched by RBS last year. Hackathons bring talented individuals together in an intensive brainstorming session. Gamification, virtual reality and online simulation are additional examples of tech innovation in recruitment.

Revamp your approach to hiring : If you continue to apply the same hiring strategies that worked for you five years ago, your business will not attract the talent it needs. Review – and be prepared to amend – every element of your hiring process. What requirements do you ask of prospective candidates at the application stage? A longwinded process means talent will look elsewhere. Do you still insist on qualifications over experience? 94% of developers surveyed by Stack Overflow believe that they are self-taught. Remove the filters in your recruitment software and consider the use of anonymised CVs to reduce the level of unconscious bias in your candidate selection. Our previous article explores the reasons for high candidate drop off rates.

Understand the trends but trust your own data : It is all too easy for HR to be diverted by the latest emerging trend or ‘must have’ sourcing tool. Understand the job boards and online recruitment sources that are effective for your business revealed by your recruitment data. Consider the inclusion of potential talent streams one at a time, such as Indeed Prime which specialises in tech candidates, but measure the success of each new e-recruitment channel carefully to ensure its effectiveness for your business.

Perfect your candidate experience : When faced with the challenge of hiring 1,000 tech candidates,[4] adopted a strategy of sourcing referrals through their candidate experience. The following standards were agreed during hiring:-

  • Candidates received a response within two days after submitting their job application.
  • Post-interview feedback was provided to all candidates within three to four days.
  • Rejected candidates received a telephone call, providing constructive feedback.
  • Recurring candidates are always considered.
  • Interview training is provided for HR where appropriate.

Set up automated responses and feedback reminders in your recruitment software to ensure your business meets similar objectives. Stay in touch with recurring candidates through your talent pool and re-evaluate their experience each time they apply. A positive candidate experience will build interest in your brand and lead to referrals.

Focus on workforce planning : The OU report found that while employers are aware of the skills shortages in their businesses, they are not always aware of where those shortages exist. A strategic approach to talent acquisition and long-term workforce planning must now be a given for HR. Three in five employers believe the shortage has already damaged their business. To prevent further damage, adopting workforce planning and moving towards people analytics is critical. Investment in recruitment software to streamline your hiring process and provide vital insight into key metrics is the first step.   

Advorto’s world class recruitment software helps you to hire better tech talent faster.

Contact us today to discover why our technology is used by some of the world’s leading organisations to support their entire talent recruitment cycle.

You might also like to read:-

10 Ways To Attract More Women Into Tech Jobs

5 Reasons Your Made A Bad Hire

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