What Recruiters Forecast For Tech Hiring In 2022
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record-breaking 2.9% of the workforce quit their jobs in August 2021 to seek better opportunities. Many are demanding increased flexibility in their employment search—from remote and hybrid options to more work-life balance—as companies are desperate to fill roles.
HackerEarth’s 2021 State of Developer Recruitment Report is based on survey data from around 2,500 engineering managers and HR professionals from 79 countries; across industries including technology, pharmaceutical, retail, automobile, construction, banking, media, finance, and insurance. The report aims to outline the best practices for hiring professionals and developer candidates and determine what the post-pandemic hiring landscape looks like.
Here are some of the important tech hiring trends we forecast for 2022 based on our survey:
- Doing away with the ‘generalist’ approach to hiring
Before the pandemic, we would hear a lot of recruiters talk about the ‘black hole’ in tech hiring. While the final veto on hiring a candidate lay with the CTOs and engineering managers, the lack of a proper communication channel between recruiters and tech hiring managers meant that many companies took a ‘generalist’ approach to hiring.
In 2022, companies are coming back to hybrid work with a very specific agenda – make business future-proof, update legacy tech stacks for flexibility; and adopt trustless, permission-less systems that do not require central governance. The use of AI will deepen across sectors – even verticals that have not traditionally been AI-dependent will open up to the use of smart machines for improved functioning.
Our survey shows that companies need to update about 42% of their legacy tech stack to make businesses impervious to rapid technological and process changes such as the one we saw in 2020. Many companies are looking to make architectural changes in their tech stack which is also one of the reasons why hiring top talent is so crucial in the coming year.
It is therefore important to hire based on data insights. Recruiters should create a specific profile or candidate personas for each role. This should highlight the outcome expected from the role, the competencies required from the candidate, the assumed interests and needs for each specific role. These details can be used to create a competency framework that aligns with the ‘persona’. Only then, do you get down to the business of hiring.
- Dealing with attrition
2021 brought us the ‘Great Resignation’. A Forbes from April last year piece shows how employee burnout increased from 43% in 2020 to over 52% in 2021. It’s safe to assume the number must have grown over time.
Burnout needs to be addressed promptly and before your teammates start to leave for companies that put more emphasis on their ‘wellbeing’. As this survey from Microsoft points out, high productivity should not be a reason to ignore the emotional and mental wellbeing of our employees. One of every 5 employees feels that their company does not prioritize their work-life balance and over 54% feel overworked. Giving employees the choice and flexibility to pick their own work hours, location, might help in stemming some of this tide. However, proper processes need to be put in place to ensure developers do not feel pressured to overachieve.
It’s also important to note that employees have voiced concerns about the lack of training among managers to handle the hybrid new work paradigm. Yes, we have talked ad hominem about empathy and being ‘flexible’, but changing from a work model which revolves around a specific time and place, to an ‘anywhere, anytime’ model needs more than that. Flexibility is undoubtedly the number 1 reason employees are leaving current jobs for the ones that offer them the choice to work remotely, and without the constraints of time.
- Protecting diversity when hiring at scale
The upsurge of hiring demands in 2022, and the aftermath of the Great Resignation, has shown us that there’s far too much demand for the average qualified developer. The priority is hiring someone, over hiring that perfect diverse candidate. Diversity as a criterion might just be an added burden in the current recruiting process.
Our year-end survey shows us that in an ideal world, over 30% of recruiters would never compromise on candidate quality to fill a role. Compare this with 35% of engineering managers who said they would make the compromise to hire faster. When it comes to diversity though, recruiters are slightly split between wanting to hire diverse candidates and filling roles early. An overwhelming number of engineering managers, though, care more about shipping code than building diverse teams.
The spotlight is therefore on the HR leaders to uphold diversity mandates, and keep the focus on skills when hiring in such large numbers. Two years of statistics have proven that the pandemic disproportionately affects labor outcomes for minority groups. The focus areas for companies should include updating their brand research and outreach initiatives and integrate with grassroots communities. There is an imminent need to adapt policies, benefits, and messaging to the current market and prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in talent attraction and retention.
- Tech hiring tools will rule the roost
When the pen-and-paper assessment method went out the window in 2020, tech hiring tools replaced the traditional.
One can argue that a tech interview can be done over a Zoom call, and candidates can showcase their coding experience via their resumes. However, there are proven benefits to using dedicated hiring tools. In our survey, companies that use assessment tools for their tech hiring reported a more standardized process. The process is also more objective, and more accurate. Neither engineering managers nor recruiters seem to be paying much mind to the fact that technical skill assessment software can also reduce TTH and CTH; proving that in most cases they care more about the bigger picture than immediate gains.
The survey also highlights the pains of using multiple tools/platforms when conducting a tech interview. Most of the time, candidates use a video calling tool, along with a code editor to be able to showcase their skills live. This is in stark contrast to our findings from our annual Developer Survey , where over 40% of coders said that they would like to be interviewed via dedicated interview platforms.
Of late, recruiters have come to recognize the importance of candidate experience during interviews. Companies that have taken the initiative to integrate tech hiring tools in their processes see the benefits in a more homogeneous, and equitable hiring environment. Using coding interview tools also helps provide a better candidate experience for developers and ties in with their expectations from interviewers.
2022 might not have started exactly the way we hoped (hello Omicron!), but the insights we have gained over the last two years remain. The empathy and people-first approach we have used to navigate the pandemic so far needs to continue, and maybe even stepped up in some cases. Coming back to some sense of normalcy in the shape of hybrid work might be nice, but it needs to be done with patience and with keeping employee welfare at the forefront.
Leadership teams need to address difficult topics like burnout, and work-life balance, when discussing retention strategies. They also need to ensure that DEI does not take a backseat when it comes to hiring.
The gains – both big and small – accrued over the last two years should not be let go of in the face of the high numbers and targets that the tech recruiting community is faced with in 2022.
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