It’s a little hard to know where to start when talking about recruitment in 2022. There is so much to cover, with the last two years throwing numerous curveballs that have affected many industries, and have certainly made agency recruitment a little challenging.
On the flip side, it’s never been a better time to be a technology agency. Designers and developers alike have found the shift to remote working easier than many other professionals, and agencies themselves, for the most part, were already well set up for distributed working.
In this piece we’re going to look at some of the struggles with finding great tech talent, what we look for in great tech talent, and how we look for it.
The great resignation
Let’s get the negatives out the way. This is something that you’ve no doubt already heard of. Whilst unemployment is reassuringly low, resignation rates remain high as workers shun their jobs for roles that are more appealing to them. This has happened for a number of reasons, not least because the rise of remote working has simply meant that workers are finding it much easier to move to other agencies without having to move house.
Some employees have gone the extra mile, and considered an entire career change, either spurred on by the sheer overwhelm of the pandemic (life’s too short for bad jobs) or they’ve decided to pursue another skill or hobby which they were able to explore whilst locked down or on furlough. (I played a lot of VR fishing in 2020, but there’s little chance of me becoming a trout farmer any time soon.)
Work is just easier
Us and many agencies alike have radically changed how they work. For us, this was the swift goodbye to our office in favour of a distributed (but still sociable) AndAnotherDay. For others, this might be a hybrid approach, where the central office is still retained but becomes more of a clubhouse for dropping in when you feel like some skin-on-skin contact.
Either way, this flexibility suits many people and as such, some workers are staying put and reaping the benefits of good company culture that transcends Slack, Zoom, offices and the pub. In fact, it’s great to see so many agencies finding this balance and baking it into the company culture.
So why is there a tech talent shortage?
There’s a number of factors at play here, and unfortunately, they have created a perfect storm in which those who set sail the earliest will come home with the best catch. And here ends the fishing analogies.
“As with many economies, the onus falls on companies to train workers, and also to encourage governments to rethink education programmes to generate the talent pipelines the industry will require.”
Werner Penk, president of Korn Ferry’s Global Technology Market Practice
Whilst your uncle Terry may be quick to blame AI and ‘robots’, that’s simply not true. The talent shortage actually existed long before the pandemic, and depending on how deep you want to get, can be linked to demography. Birth rates are simply too low (and have been for some time) to fulfil rapidly growing tech industries.
According to Korn Ferry, there could be more than 85 million unfulfilled jobs by 2030. Furthermore, companies and education systems are not preparing young people with the right skills to fulfil these jobs once they leave school or college.
But it’s not all bad news
Location-based pay is disappearing
Moving to a city, typically a capital city, was often a guarantee for a better salary in a tech role. It seems crazy to say it now, but that was the norm just a few years ago.
Tech Nation data from 2019 suggests that a London-based full stack developer can earn as much as £20k a year more than one based in Cambridge, Leeds or Manchester.
A 2018 survey from Emolument indicated that London paid 30% more for senior roles when compared to Paris, Frankfurt or Milan. TL;DR: Workers are no longer gunning for the city to get a better pay packet.
Salaries will increase to coax employees from role-to-role
Many organisations, agencies included, are pumping up salaries to make a move from one company to the next seem more attractive. But for many workers, designers and developers in particular, it’s not all about the pay cheque.
According to Barometer, workers are now putting salary fifth when considering what’s important to them, with leadership, structure, job opportunities and company culture coming top.
On-the-job training will be more readily available
Statistics tell us a very clear picture, and that is that personal development is fundamentally important to workers, so we expect to see many employers offering on-the-job training or subsidised courses as standard.
Company culture is thriving
Agency culture, when done well, is magic. Give workers a place where they can come and be their best selves, where they can feel trusted and valued, and where they can work autonomously and asynchronously. The agency model is now being echoed and copied across many industries, and we hope it’s here to stay.
Purpose is becoming increasingly more powerful
With the job market being at its most competitive in recent years, the need for purpose has never been stronger. Candidates are no longer interested in salary and benefits alone, but are eager to work with agencies who demonstrate real purpose, and values that employees can identify with.
A staggering 58% of companies who clearly articulate their purpose have seen an increase in growth, and according to a survey of LinkedIn members; 73% of purpose-oriented employees are satisfied in their jobs, with 39% staying put for three or more years.
For agencies to attract talent; employer brand and EVP, values (which you must live and breathe and not just about) and flexible working will be key to attracting the best talent. More and more candidates are ‘keen to go green’ and want to do their bit for the environment, so the projects they work on and the clients they work with are key.
Whilst there is no magic bullet, it’s clear to see what the modern day tech worker is looking for in a company. Some of these requirements can be actioned overnight, whereas others will take time to instil.
But it’s imperative that we as agencies not only listen to our own employees, but what the wider job market is saying. There is no shortage of statistics, research and writing from the last few years alone, and I’d encourage you to take a deep dive as it’s a fascinating topic, and a movement that has everyone’s best interests at heart.
Where do we look for tech talent?
Right now we’re on the hunt for a number of design and development folk to join our growing team. And even now that we know we have the world at our fingertips, it can still be daunting when considering where to start. Here are some of our reliable go-tos:
Answer ten questions based on your requirements and they’ll show you the best sites to look at. All within 60 seconds. Impressive.
Proper candidate-sourcing software that even the most hardy recruiter would raise a glass to. Post to over 200 job sites and search 400 million profiles for your dream developer, with AI.
The motherload. A site for all sites. 15 of the best places to find PHP developers.
Why work for AndAnotherDay?
For us, it’s about balance. If you’re worried about giving up your lucrative contracting role, we pay well. If you’re looking at other agencies, be reassured that we live up to our values and are making real progress in making the world a better place. If you think you’ll have more time to work on your own projects if you went freelance, well, we’ll give you time to work on your passion projects too.
We balance all of the above with a core set of values and a unified desire to build digital products that improve our lives and the environment. In fact, that’s our sole purpose as a business.
Are you a developer looking for a new role?
It’s no secret that we’re hiring. We’d love to hear from you if you’re looking for a new challenge with a company with big ambitions to change the world.
If you’re a fellow agency and you’ve nodded along to this blog at least twice, then great. Let’s stick together and support our design and development brothers and sisters in their quest for workplace zen.
Check back in next week, where we’ll be taking a closer look at PHP developers, why we love them so much, and the nuances of the framework.