According to Dice’s latest hiring survey, finding highly-skilled tech talent will be a top hiring priority for companies in 2016. A record 78 percent of hiring managers anticipate more hiring in the first half of 2016 compared to the second half of 2015. As more companies are looking to build upon their current tech infrastructures, the need for tech professionals is mounting, with 71 percent of companies looking to bolster their tech teams by 11 percent or more in the first six months of 2016. Nearly half (49 percent) of hiring managers said the time to fill open positions has lengthened relative to last year. The ability to recruit these professionals has become increasingly more difficult for companies as the demand and level of competitors has increased. “The environment for a talent crisis in tech has been growing over the past few years and as the level of interest in technology professionals rises, it doesn’t appear the challenging recruitment market will lighten any time soon,” said Bob Melk, President of Dice. “Companies today are looking for new and innovative ways to streamline their hiring processes and attract top talent. Sourcing, in particular, continues to serve as a top strategic recruiting initiative, as companies are thinking more long-term and building out an on-demand talent pipeline rather than focusing on one-off hires.” While companies envision hiring experienced professionals, the latest hiring survey results show that companies are taking a greater interest in candidates with less experience. More than a quarter (27 percent) of hiring managers said they plan to hire entry-level candidates, up nine points from last year, and 62 percent said they desire candidates with two to five years’ experience, up eight points from 2014. Companies looking to attract and retain the best tech talent have to stay competitive, which means knowing what the employer across the street is offering. More than half (53 percent) say they are providing more employee perks, like free lunches and gym memberships, with 48 percent citing the increased use of sign-on bonuses and relocation expenses as a way to incentivize candidates, and it appears as though these “sweeteners” are working. One-fifth (20 percent) of hiring managers say they are seeing more candidates accepting offers this year as compared to last, up four points year-over-year. Compensation also plays a huge role in hiring tech talent, with 64 percent of hiring managers and recruiters saying salary guidelines have prevented positions available now from being filled, a jump from the 58 percent who said this last year.