Hiring in the Digital Economy

Just about every jobs report and tech news article highlights the insatiable demand for qualified software engineers, product developers, product managers and others with technical skills. Hiring is challenging. And recruiting talent for high velocity software development is not going to get any easier. In fact, an estimated 77% of all new jobs forecast for the decade ahead will require technical skills.

Currently, NYC is home to about 10% of the country’s software engineers. Overall, there are around 333,000 tech jobs in the city where the tech company office footprint is now approaching 8% given the recent expansions by Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, Spotify and others. 

Some of the hiring challenges are related to the engineer stereotype: introversion and a general disinterest in networking are hampering companies from growing. Increasing immigration restrictions and exacting termination policies are additional impediments. For many, the workaround is off-shoring or near-shoring talent, transitioning contractors from temp-to-perm roles and forging alliances with coding bootcamps and colleges with computer science programs. However, these efforts are insufficient. Average tenure rates are now less than one year (11 months) and declining.

Our recent CTO Breakfast Disruptor Series explored some potential solutions. Every leader was encouraged to make a target wish list of the Top 25-50 engineers then to personally reach out to at least two per week to open dialogue. Communities like Slack channels, Meetups, Reddit and Linkedin groups are critical to overcoming challenges in hiring but require active and regular participation. Hosting beer socials is an informal way to build comfort and trust which will encourage engineers to bring their friends. Finally, it is the responsibility of the high velocity software development teams to establish their brand. This is not marketing’s role. Hiring is challenging and tech teams need to establish who they are, a sense of purpose that extends beyond coding and what makes them different than the hundreds of other companies out there trying to recruit the same talent. 

Which solution(s) will you adopt to become a high performing digital center of excellence?

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