There has been a lot of news lately about the roller coaster that is tech industry hiring. The pendulum has swung from a hiring surge, to reports of hiring freezes. Predictions for the future run the gamut, from wildly optimistic to wildly pessimistic. What is a hiring manager to make of it? At TalentReach, we have a front row seat to the entire show, and here’s our advice: there has never been a better time to hire in the tech industry.
The big players in the industry are the ones that make the news: when a Microsoft or Amazon announces a hiring pause, that is front page material. However, this is not necessarily a bellwether for the entire industry. There are very good reasons why an extremely large employer, with 10,000+ employees, should pause the hiring machine – but those reasons don’t always apply to the smaller employers. Extremely large organizations are better able to handle an ebb and flow of work, and have many redundancies in roles and a heavy use of contractors. They can sit back during a downturn while continuing to thrive. But for small to medium size companies, holes in an organization can really slow growth. So we have got some great news for them: this pause represents a big opportunity for them to fill hard-to-fill openings, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where we have countless startups as well as small to medium size legacy tech companies.
During a hiring boom, when everyone is competing for the same talent, the big guys will usually come out on top when it comes to salary and other compensation. Offering bonuses of stock that has been performing well for years or decades is pretty tempting. We’ve seen candidates turn down smaller employers, even when the position was a better fit, to work for a large corporation where the role isn’t ideal, but there is the perception of stability and opportunity for internal promotion or moves. But as is becoming increasingly clear (we’re thinking about all the people hired at Twitter and quickly let go as market conditions changed), that nothing is guaranteed, even at the biggest names in tech. Candidates are aware of this, and are looking more closely at other opportunities.
Great companies can make their now pitches to top talent and be very competitive, as they sell their corporate culture, opportunity for growth, and most importantly, a great fit for a role. Candidates can expand their search beyond a few big tech companies, and discover employers and roles where they will be happy for a long time. This is a great time to go to work for the NEXT Microsoft or Amazon.
Candidates shouldn’t be put off by news of hiring pauses – we are seeing the usual demand for certain roles. The market is still a candidate’s market. According to the latest jobs report, overall unemployment nationwide is around 3.5% – but for computer programmers, it is just 1.6%, and for software developers it is a whopping .9%. With these statistics, employers should move quickly to fill roles – regardless of what the news is saying or who is temporarily pausing hiring. As we head into fall, we expect those hiring pauses to lift, and the war for talent to be as fierce as ever.