Main image of article Which Tech Skills are Difficult to Recruit For?

Companies across a variety of industries are focused on digital transformation. Executives are rushing to hire tech specialists who can do everything from data science to making existing apps and services “smarter” via artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning.

How is that quest going? According to a new report from the IT Executives Council, there’s quite a bit of work to be done. Based on polling of more than 100 technology executives (including CIOs, CISOs, IT directors, and others), 70 percent of businesses are currently struggling to find tech workers for key vacancies; some 53 percent suggested the process was “difficult,” while 16 percent said it was “very difficult.”

Which skills are particularly difficult to recruit for?

  • Cybersecurity topped the list at 54 percent. This makes sense; these roles are high-profile and demand a portfolio of technical and “soft skills.” The cybersecurity gap is a longstanding issue in the U.S., with thousands of jobs unfilled.
  • Network engineers came in second, with 34.51 percent of respondents suggesting some difficulty in sourcing. As with cybersecurity, network engineering is a complicated job with a lot of accompanying pressure; practitioners are expected to keep complicated, often hybridized networks running no matter what happens.
  • Software developers were in third, with 30 percent. Many thousands of companies rely on software developers to build new software, maintain legacy apps, and more.
  • Data scientists were virtually neck-and-neck with software developers, at 29.2 percent. Data scientists analyze massive datasets for crucial strategic insight, and those who’ve mastered the necessary skills can be difficult to find (and often demand high salaries).
  • IT project managers (15.93 percent) are necessary to keep increasingly complicated tech projects running.

Fortunately, there are key steps that any executive or hiring manager can take to successfully source and retain tech professionals. Sizable numbers of respondents said their companies’ attrition rates were due to lack of career advancement opportunities (47.79 percent), inadequate compensation (46.90 percent), burnout (26 percent), limited flexibility and work-life balance (14 percent), and lack of training/development opportunities (9 percent). Fixing those issues can yield significant hiring benefits.

To counter those issues, a company can take a number of steps, including (but definitely not limited to):

  • Make job postings transparent (about pay, expectations, and more).
  • Inform candidates about the hiring process and their place in the “queue.”
  • Help tech workers define their preferred career path.
  • Become as transparent as possible about training and upskilling opportunities.

While these (and other steps) won’t necessarily attract and retain all workers, they will contribute to a positive culture that hopefully encourages your best and brightest professionals to stick around and grow within your organization.