CXO

Why the tech talent war is killing innovation in your business

Some 83% of hiring managers said a lack of tech talent is hurting business, with lost revenue, slow product development, and employee burnout. Here's how to win the tech talent war.

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Image: iStockphoto/AndreyPopov

In the war for tech talent, what is the greatest casualty? Innovation.

Nearly nine in 10 US HR managers and recruiters said that it is challenging to find and hire tech talent, according to a new survey from Indeed. This challenge is harming progress at many companies: 83% of hiring managers said the inability to fill tech roles has hurt business with lost revenue, slower product development, sluggish market expansion, increased team tension, or employee burnout.

Indeed surveyed more than 1,000 HR managers and recruiters involved in hiring at companies that varied by size. And, they found the tech hiring challenge is only getting worse: 75% of respondents reported that the length of time it takes to fill a tech role has increased in the past three years.

"We know the tech talent war is dragging on," Raj Mukherjee, senior vice president of product at Indeed, told TechRepublic. "We see no immediate end in sight on the demand side, and it's hurting business growth."

These findings from Indeed echo results from a recent ManpowerGroup survey, which found that 40% of employers globally reported difficulty filling jobs—the highest number since 2007—driven by demand for IT roles.

The vast majority of respondents (91%) in the Indeed survey said that their business would be more innovative if they were able to hire enough technical talent to fill their needs.

SEE: Can 'MicroMasters' credentials help fill the tech skills gap?

Many employers are now forced to hire unqualified employees: More than half of hiring managers reported hiring tech talent who did not meet the job description requirements in order to meet an immediate need, the survey found.

What are employers looking for when evaluating tech talent? Some 58% said soft skills are important, while 56% said a computer science degree is important. Only a quarter of employers said a computer science degree from an Ivy League school was a major factor in hiring.

Coding challenges are becoming a more popular tool to evaluate tech talent in hiring processes, as they allow for a more empirical measure of a candidate's skills, the survey stated. Half of employers said performance on a code challenge was an important factor in hiring decisions.

The silver lining? Employers are beginning to consider candidates with nontraditional backgrounds, Mukherjee said. "Traditionally, companies have been overly focused on hiring from specific colleges or looking for past big brand experience," he said. "Companies that go beyond traditional screening approaches and are open to job seekers who perform well on coding challenges and have strong soft skills will have a hiring advantage."

In terms of attracting tech talent to your organization, salary and career growth opportunities remain important factors, Mukherjee said. However, perks including remote work and unlimited PTO can make positions more appealing.

"Even something as simple as relaxing the dress code is the kind of perk that will better attract tech talent," Mukherjee said. "In older industries and more traditional companies, moving to become a 'technology' company is a bigger shift but a manageable one, especially if they can hire change agents."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new survey of HR managers and recruiters from Indeed found that nearly nine in 10 said it was challenging to find and hire tech talent.
  2. Some 83% of hiring managers reported that difficulties filling tech positions has hurt business with lost revenue, slower product development, sluggish market expansion, increased team tension, or employee burnout.
  3. The most important factors employers look for when evaluating a tech job candidate are soft skills, a computer science degree, and performance on a coding challenge.

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About Alison DeNisco

Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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