Tech Firms More Cautious About 2017 Hiring
Employers are more cautious about hiring, according to a new survey conducted by Dice. Some 56 percent of surveyed hiring managers anticipated an elevated level of hiring in the first half of 2017. That’s a six-point drop from a June 2016 survey, and a five-point drop from a year ago. In other words, hiring managers are progressively less assertive about future hiring. At the same time, some 59 percent believed that salaries for new employees will increase in 2017. And 55 percent said they couldn’t fill positions due to existing salary guidelines—a rise of eight points from a year ago. A subset of managers have resorted to perks such as signing bonuses (48 percent), relocation payments (50 percent), and free food and gym memberships (44 percent) in order to attract top employees. The numbers are a bit starker when it comes to tech. Some 68 percent of hiring managers who focus on tech workers anticipate more hiring—a 10-point drop from a year ago. (Overall, the survey captured responses from some 618 hiring professionals who recruit across a variety of industries, along with 785 professionals who specifically target tech pros.) In the third quarter of 2016, the technology industry’s unemployment rate hit 2.8 percent, lower than that of the overall U.S. labor market, where it stood at 4.9 percent. Of course, the employment rate for various technology professions—including Web developers, computer systems analysts, software developers, and others—tends to swing on a quarter-by-quarter basis; but overall, the industry’s employment picture is strong. Thanks at least in some part to that strength, tech professionals have been voluntarily leaving their current positions in search of better opportunities. According to turnover data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), voluntary quits in the Professional and Business Services category (which includes tech) averaged 560,250 per month for the first eight months of 2016. Those factors increase pressure on employers to offer high salaries and premium perks if they want to draw in top, specialized talent. For tech pros, that’s a good thing—but keep an eye on hiring trends over the next several months.