Unemployment in the tech sector is around 2 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s far lower than the 5 percent national average for all occupations. Good news in some ways, but not if you’re trying to find top talent.
Low unemployment levels tend to push wages up and that makes it hard to find and retain the top people. Surveys of CIOs indicate that more than 60 percent believe it is hard to find skilled IT professionals. To add to the problem, large numbers of baby boomers are now reaching retirement age and leaving the industry.
Overcome Skills Shortages
Reports from the industry also indicate a skills shortage in specific tech disciplines. Database management, network administration, tech support, security, architecture, programming and development crop up regularly in industry surveys.
If the government’s planned reforms of H-1B work visa programs go ahead, commentators believe this will have a serious impact on hiring opportunities for tech firms of all sizes from start-ups to large enterprises.
Balance the Workforce
Faced with these challenges, more companies are turning to contingent workers to fill the gaps. In 2016, reports from the industry indicated that the balance of permanent to contingent staff was around 80 to 20 percent. In 2017, the proportion of contingent staff is forecast to rise to around 24 percent.
Hiring contingent staff doesn’t just bring the workforce up to full strength. That may be important for IT firms that want to lower their HR costs. Contingent staff cost less in benefits than their full-time equivalents and recruitment costs are lower.
For many firms, the benefits go beyond HR costs. Hiring contingent staff provides a solution to meet fluctuating workloads, reduce project timescales, or implement new technologies that are beyond their in-house skills.
Access Skills on Demand
Contingent workers make the right skills available on demand. Because firms only need to hire top talent for defined periods, recruitment and employment costs are much lower than the full-time equivalent.
Contingent workers tend to have specialized skill sets and long experience. That means they can take on complex projects straight away and complete quickly.
The agility and flexibility of a contingent workforce is important when market conditions and technology change so rapidly. Tech firms must be able to respond quickly to market opportunities or lose the business to competitors. Hiring top contingent talent can provide a real competitive advantage.
Hire with Confidence
Of course, there are also risks in hiring contingent workers. You need to be confident that they definitely have the skills, qualifications and experience to meet your specific needs.
That’s why it pays to deal with reputable agencies that source and manage contingent staff. Reputable agencies have strict screening procedures to ensure candidates meet high standards.
In 2017, contingent workers are helping tech firms overcome skills shortages, reduce project times and improve their agility. What could they do for your business?
In future blogs in this series, we will look in more detail at the factors you should consider when taking on contingent staff.