By Piyush Raj Akhouri
As the economy continues to digitally transform, the IT recruitment ecosystem has evolved significantly. From e-commerce to artificial intelligence and from data mining to cloud technologies, the tech hiring spree has refused to stop. According to reports, the IT industry created more than 5,000,000 new jobs in the market alone in FY22. Indeed, the covid-19 pandemic accelerated digitalization by five to ten years in India .
India is an IT talent powerhouse, seeing a surge in IT recruitment due to its tech-focused startup culture. Organizations are increasingly investing in hybrid work model tools including cloud technologies, digital customer outreach, AI, and automation to streamline repetitive and mundane tasks. However, there is a wide gap in the market between the rate of IT adoption which is expected to hire over 10,000,000 people by the end of 2023 and the availability of skilled IT professionals.
The IT sector, being a key sector for organizations, will always pose a myriad of challenges for recruiters to hire tech-heavy talent and one needs to be prepared before anyone jumps into the market.
It is undeniable that the covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for IT workforce, however, the gap between demand and supply is inevitable. This requires better solutions as the Indian IT market was already struggling with a chronic shortage of talent even before the pandemic outbreak. The limited availability of skilled talent in the IT industry is triggering a talent war within the industry, leading to record attrition rates. According to the facts, India is already grappling with a technology demand-supply gap of 21.1%, which is expected to widen further in the coming years.
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Talent availability for in-demand roles
With Metaverse, Web3, and Industry 4.0 on the horizon, new roles in the tech industry are emerging at a rapid pace. The demand for IT talent has multiplied and new positions including data engineers, programmers and developers will continue to lead the digital transformation of the Indian economy. Additionally, UI/UX designers, no-code developers, Android/iOS app developers, etc. are gaining prominence in the industry which needs to reskill existing technology talent to meet growing industry demand.
Change in hiring strategies
The attrition rate in the Indian IT industry is at an all-time high of around 25%, attributed to the shortage of new era tech talent. As a result, recruiters are rethinking their hiring strategies and leveraging contract recruitment platforms and other online recruitment platforms. These platforms play a crucial role in hiring employees for hard-to-fill positions. Bringing on-hire contracts and gig workers into the mainstream helps deliver high-value projects at effective costs. Additionally, recruiters are also exploring solutions to address the talent shortage by hiring non-IT professionals and training them for this role.
Longer notice period
Although HR policies are gradually changing due to the paradigm shift in working models and recruitment processes, one thing that still hinders the onboarding of new employees is the longer notice periods. A notice period of 30 to 90 days poses a difficult challenge for HR because the system disrupts the work of all staff. In the current scenario, employers need 15 days notice period instead of 90 days and to get rid of new hires they even buy out their notice period. The problem that has already prevailed in the market for ages is not going to disappear overnight and requires certain revisions in the HR policies of organizations.
Candidates want a new work culture
To attract top industry professionals, organizations need to reconsider their culture and employer branding strategies. This is the key to winning the talent war by building a strong and positive brand image in the market. According to a LinkedIn study – around 75% of job seekers consider employer branding before applying. As the covid-19 pandemic has scrambled organizational recruiting processes, companies have slowed down their investments in employer branding strategies. To attract and retain qualified talent, organizations must leverage the idea of ensuring a positive candidate experience by promoting their culture on social media and creating an exceptional employer image.
Candidates withdraw at the last moment
Recruitment is an expensive business. Whenever a candidate withdraws before the scheduled interview, after the interview, or on the day of arrival, the recruiter must start the process over again. Although the recruiter finds another potential candidate to replace them, much of the time and effort is wasted, delaying results and impacting revenue. The most potential candidate pulling out at the last moment is the last thing HR would want in their hiring process. To avoid such situations, recruiters should go through a thorough background check to find out if the candidate is applying only to test their potential, if your offer is just one of many other options open to them or if he is waiting for a counter-offer from the former employer because it is difficult to accept a job change.
Lack of technical expertise of the recruiter
Lack of clarity on job requirements or technical expertise when interviewing IT candidates creates a huge gap between the employer’s expectations/requirements and the candidate’s profile. The best IT talent wants to build a strong portfolio while the employer wants to employ the right candidate for their role. Therefore, recruiters need to be very specific about the job description and the first round of interviews. To bridge the gap, recruiters need to know when to redirect the conversation to senior department management to bring transparency between candidate expectations and job function details.
In the highly competitive IT talent market, recruiters face new challenges every day. However, to stay ahead of the market, IT recruiters must determine where to look to expand the talent pool. This will open up new avenues for organizations to close hard-to-fill positions in non-IT environments, recruiting and recruiting platforms.
(The author is co-founder and business leader, Bridgentech. Opinions expressed are personal.)