Some personal notes on surviving the hiring hurricane

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Recent reports on hiring in IT show that it’s raining jobs in this segment. The flurry of activity in hiring is almost reminiscent of the dot com boom and the hyper-energy around recruitment in that time. Over the past months, the news on hiring has oscillated between the absurd to the outrageous. Some desperate companies are showing that there are no depths too low to be plumbed. 

It is important to understand the reason behind the sudden explosion of hiring in IT. The wave of digitization and the need for digital transformation has now reached its crescendo. Organizations across sectors are also looking at technology solutions to solve real problems. Added to that is the pressure to shorten the already short release cycles to meet market demands and accelerate deployment. 

Product owners are also under increased pressure to change how their products look and work to accommodate the needs of this new world. Software products now need inbuilt analytics capabilities to remain relevant and deliver greater value. The need to build cloud-ready, extensible software products along with approaches such as serverless and cloud-native applications is also rising. 

Couple all these factors with the accelerating pace of technology change and the newfound craze to adopt the latest and most current ‘it’ technology is driving the hiring boom.

However, while IT organizations want to increase their capabilities and capitalize on the upswing trend in the market, these skills are usually outside of their current portfolio. That these are hard-to-find skills and typically out of the organization’s bandwidth. Reports show that IT businesses in the U.S would have filled more positions had they found enough qualified candidates. And even if they find the human resources, ensuring employee retention in a market that is reeling under talent shortage becomes a big hurdle to cross.

Organizations have to not only accelerate hiring but also build risk mitigation strategies around these hiring challenges. Here are a few things that we feel help organizations to navigate this skills gap.

Hire the right people rather than the ‘right now’ people

Certain skills are in exceptionally high demand. Cybersecurity and IT compliance professionals, AI and ML experts, data analytics and data science professionals, QA and testing experts, developers with serverless, edge-computing, cloud-native, DevOps, new tech experience, etc. are just the tips of different icebergs.

There are 3.72 million IT pro-jobs to be filled in the US alone putting great pressure on businesses to increase salaries. However, along with filling the job roles, organizations will stand to benefit if they on hiring the “right” people rather than the “right now” people.

Looking not only at technical skills but also power skills like adaptability and learning and growth mindset become important here. Since the shelf life of technology is reducing organizations also have to ensure that they continuously upskill their resources and keep them market-ready. Simply adding numbers to the employee list is not going to contribute to profitability in the long run if the skills become redundant.

Access hard to get skills

Organizations not only need to get the numbers but need to also make sure that they get access to the hard-to-get skills. However, that becomes a challenge in itself because these skills and tech expertise in new-age skills are, well, hard to get. Organizations need to identify how they can expand their bandwidth while building risk migration into hiring.

A good way to access new-age, hard-to-find technical skills and expertise are to leverage a combination of onsite, nearshore, and offshore resources from strategic partners. These resources can step in at relevant and crucial points in the product development lifecycle and can provide more scalability and flexibility to organizations to manage their hiring challenges.

Hire “boomerang employees.”

Hiring boomerang employees is also a smart hiring strategy in an overheated job market. Boomerang employees are those employees who do leave the organization for better positions, opportunities, or salaries but are willing to come back and work for the organization.

This has been a hiring strategy for us that has helped us navigate this tough hiring market with relative ease. Organizations can not only draw back their ex-employees with better roles but also understand that providing excellent learning opportunities also becomes an attractive hook.

For example, we underwent an AWS serverless certification that not only added value to our existing employees and increased our service portfolio but also worked for us to attract the right candidates who wanted to work in this ‘hot’ area.

While hiring is now the top priority for most organizations, finding the right skill sets has been a challenge for most. It is tempting to jump on board this hiring hurricane, but one must tread carefully and with caution. Taking calibrated steps now is more important than ever before. After all, unless we learn our lesson from history (think the dot com boom), it has an uncanny way of repeating itself.

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