Tech Roles
Workforce Development

Employers Struggled to Fill Tech Roles Over Past Three Years

iCIMS, Inc., a market leader for cloud-based talent acquisition software solutions, analyzed 25 million technology applicants representing a broad swath of the U.S. economy from Jan. 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019, and found that companies face a daunting technology talent deficit, specifically:

  • Employers hired only six for every 10 open tech positions in the U.S.: In stark contrast, U.S. companies made 12 hires per 10 job openings for all positions (employers often post one opening to hire multiple candidates for the same role), over the same time period.
  • There is no shortage of technology applicants: Despite the large number of unfilled positions, there were, on average, 43 tech applicants per hire in 2018 (up from 36 in 2016) compared to 21 applicants for all hires. The central problem is that employers find it increasingly difficult to find qualified tech candidates.
  • It took 50% longer to hire tech positions than all other roles: In the first five months of 2019, U.S. employers spent an average of 66 days to hire a new tech employee, which is 23 days longer for all other types of hires (43 days-to-hire on average).
  • Days-to-hire jumped to 81 days from 66 in 2016 for software application developers, which is the most sought-after tech position.
  • In comparison, employers are able to fill all of their openings for user support technicians, more commonly known as help desk, in just 40 days on average.
  • Tech hiring grew faster than all other positions: In 2018, there were 18% more net new technology hires than in 2017, outpacing the overall U.S. hiring trend of 14% net new hires. The increasing demand for tech talent is being driven by:
  • Companies in two sectors: Telecom/information services and retail significantly increased the number of tech hires as a proportion of their total U.S. hires since 2016. All other sectors kept the volume of new tech hires proportionately the same as all other hires.
  • Three roles: Software application developer (32%), user support (14%) and system administrator (10%), which combined account for more than 50% of all tech hires.
  • As a percentage of total hires, fewer women are hired than applied: Twenty-seven percent of tech applicants are women – in sync with the 28% of all STEM graduates that are female – but just 24% hired are women, which has been a consistent gap for the last three years.
  • Today’s candidates communicate differently: Thirty-nine percent of all applications came from mobile phones, up from 20% in 2016.

“To mitigate the chronic shortage, employers should look for tech talent within their own ranks and invest in professional development programs. Training the help desk team for specialized roles is a natural place to start,” says Josh Wright, iCIMS’ chief economist. He continues, “To attract more qualified candidates, creating and nurturing pools of tech talent is indispensable, as is implementing a recruitment marketing program optimized to meet candidates where they are: mobile phones, Google searches, and the like – the entire digital dashboard of today’s consumer.”

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