Is the pandemic changing the tech recruitment calendar? — Talent Works International
January has always been a hectic month for recruitment. Jobs always factor into induvial goals for the year, and as a result, the New Year, New Job mindset is strong. After the downtime of Christmas, January seems like the perfect time for businesses to start hiring new roles and for candidates to start looking for new opportunities.
Traditionally December is a bit of downtime. Candidates don’t really want to talk to recruiters and postpone chats until the new year, while employers take a similar mindset. There’s no point in hiring if the recruitment process will have to be paused for a few weeks.
However, the last few years have been anything but ordinary. The recruitment landscape has changed dramatically, as have candidate priorities and the most in-demand roles. Therefore, is it really a surprise that our team of tech recruitment experts are now seeing the recruitment calendar turned on its head too?
December 2021 was one of our tech recruitment team’s busiest. What is usually a period of slower recruitment and prepping for the influx of roles that will arrive in the new year became the most active December on record. Our recruiters were still sourcing for tech roles in the week before Christmas, scheduling interviews and continuing with the recruitment process. As an RPO provider that has been in the game for almost 13 years, we can tell you that this is unprecedented.
So, is the traditional calendar we’re used to seeing in the world of recruitment a thing of the past? Will those slower months that we’ve come to accept become a distant memory?
With a rise in remote working and a hugely candidate-driven market speeding up tech recruitment, the answer is likely to be yes. Here’s why we think so:
Remote work makes applying easier
Before the pandemic, remote working was almost a novelty available to a few individuals but not widely accepted. Now it’s commonplace, which means workers aren’t stuck in the office. It also means that remote hiring is now widely popular, with most interviews occurring over Zoom or other video platforms. It’s much easier for an employee working at home to duck out of work for a Zoom call than for an employee in the office to make an excuse to disappear for an in-person interview. We’ve all been guilty in our careers of having interviews disguised as medical appointments.
Therefore, in months like December, when workers would usually be more preoccupied with Christmas parties and festivities, the world of remote work has offered more time than they can realistically apply for a job. In fact, if workload slows down in December, which it does for many outside of the customer service industry, it may be an ideal time to look for a new opportunity.
There are more opportunities for candidates
As we’ve mentioned before, we’re in a candidate-driven market, particularly in tech recruitment. This means that there are far more opportunities than available candidates. This gives qualified tech talent a wealth of options and choices. People who may not have considered moving jobs are suddenly open to the thought of higher salaries and new opportunities. They hold the power and can be more easily tempted to leave as, unlike in peak covid lockdowns, there’s minimal risk involved. If an opportunity doesn’t work out for a senior front end developer, there’ll be five more in their LinkedIn inbox.
This makes it much harder for recruiters to source talent and for companies to entice them. However, for candidates, opportunities aren’t slowing down, and therefore neither is their job hunt.
Similarly, companies need to hire talent and can’t afford to wait. These tech roles that could usually be put off until January are more urgent than in previous years. With talent harder to source in the current market, tech recruiters have to advertise in what would have traditionally been recruitment downtime to capture attention or ensure they stand a better chance of getting the talent into their organisation for when they need it. Growth can’t be put on hold to wait for talent, and therefore, recruitment can’t afford to pause.
Candidate priorities are changing
We’ve seen that candidate priorities are changing dramatically throughout the last two years. This means that how they view their employer is also changing. With remote work and hybrid structures altering company cultures, employees realising the value of work-life balance and a global pandemic to change what’s most important to us, it’s no surprise that candidates are looking elsewhere. The Christmas period is often a time for reflection on what needs to change, and therefore it may be that candidates have realised employers no longer align with their values.
But is this good or bad for tech recruiters?
The answer is a bit of both. Of course, it’s great that the market is so busy right now, and those traditionally slower months are picking up pace. It shows that tech recruitment is booming, and more people are moving. However, it also reflects how challenging the tech recruitment market is right now. There are more opportunities competing for the same talent than ever, which means retaining and attracting talent is more aggressive than ever.
Businesses and recruiters have to work harder and try alternative tactics to ensure that they stand out to tech candidates. Whether this is promoting your employer brand or offering large amounts of compensation, which the likes of Apple are doing. With everyone fighting for a limited talent pool, the world of tech recruitment is an exciting one to be in and is paving the way for more creative thinking and innovation.
However, our tech recruitment team is asking whether this momentum is sustainable? Of course, The New Year New Job resolution will always be there, but with so many people from a limited talent pool moving around within the last year, can this job-hopping continue? Or will candidates want to settle into a role and have the chance to make an impact there?
Previously moving jobs frequently was frowned upon, but it’s becoming much more regular. However, suppose a developer constantly changes employer in search of higher compensation or a new challenge. In that case, it may reflect poorly on them, as if they can’t settle into a role or commit. Even in a candidate-driven market, tech talent needs to be able to stay long enough at an organisation to prove themselves, learn and make an impact.
In the US, the average tenure of employees aged 25–24 was 2.8 years, and for those aged 55–64 was ten years. If this data is anything to go by, the tech recruitment landscape may slow down once talent has settled into new roles, then we’ll be faced with a significant skills gap and a problem to solve. The recruitment calendar will be turned on its head once again as movement slows.
Whatever happens, companies need to become creative when it comes to retaining their people and attracting new talent. This may mean working on career progression, expanding pools to look for non-traditional candidates, and reskilling the talent already within an organisation.
One thing, however, is for sure. The pandemic has undoubtedly turned the world of recruitment on its head. With 2022 just beginning, it’s safe to say that we cannot expect to see the same peaks and troughs that we’re used to; quieter periods will only get busier as demand for tech talent continues to grow.