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State Of The Tech Job Market in the US 2021

At long last, the global economy is beginning to recover from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tech job market, which weathered the effects of Covid better than most, is now starting to see real growth.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the economic recovery, how it’s affecting tech, and what this means for recruiters.

State of Play: Tech Industry Statistics

According to CompTIA, hiring in tech has reached a level not seen in two years, with 28% growth compared to 2020 of last year.

Some of this boom is accounted for by the influence the pandemic has had on the way we interact with tech, and with the world. According to McKinsey, for example, telehealth, which was only in limited use prior to COVID-19, is on track to become an "A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality"

Indications of recovery are also seen in the types of jobs that are being hired for. For example, in Dice’s most recent tech job report, project managers had increased several demand rankings compared to this time last year, which means that companies are no longer just trying to survive, but again are looking to the future.

Another effect of the pandemic is that it has changed where some of these jobs are located. While every city that was a major tech-hub before the pandemic has remained one afterward, the increased availability of remote work is driving some tech workers to flee high cost of living cities like San Francisco for more affordable locations — which are now seeing tech jobs on the rise.

US Job Growth Chart (Image via Dice)

The city of Seattle, for example, which is not traditionally thought of as a tech hub, jumped 7 rankings in the Dice report. Austin and Dalla Texas increased by one rank each, and in Richmond, Virginia, tech job postings increased by a whopping 68%.

Demand has also been increased by the extent to which the pandemic has forced companies across all industries to speed up digital transformations that were already in progress. While this trend was in place before the pandemic, McKinsey estimates that organizations have sped up their digital transformation processes by an average of 3-7 years as a result of Covid — a truly staggering increase.

The increase in technology job growth is also driving an increase in compensation.

Technology Job Salaries

As you might expect, the increased demand for skilled workers in the tech job market brought about by the recovery means that salaries have increased as well. It’s too early in 2021 to determine exactly how much these salaries will increase yo/y compared to 2020, what we do know is that even despite the pandemic, tech salaries increased by over 3% in 2020 according to the Dice report. In specific cities, the increase in salaries in the technology job market was even more notable.

For example, in New York City, the average technologist salary increased by 11.6% from 2019-2020, in Austin, 9.6%, Charlotte VA and Orlando, FL both saw increases of over 13% and Houston, TX over 7%

The best paid roles (excluding executive-level positions) were Systems Architects, Cloud Engineers, Cyber Security Engineers, Data Architects, and programming managers.

Cyber Security Analysts saw the single biggest increase in compensation (over 16%), likely driven by a spate of high-profile cyberattacks in 2020 and early 2021, including the Solar Winds hack and Colonial Pipeline hack.

Data Science Engineers and Dev Ops also saw big increases.

Growth in compensation for Data Scientists is being driven by organizations realizing that they need to be «Data-first» in order to compete in the global marketplace. Data is increasingly the key to «boring» projects like better process automation, all the way to most applications of artificial intelligence.

Other Tech Job Trends

Recruiters may also be interested in following not only which positions are posted, but what skills are being listed as required in open roles in 2021 and how they are changing.

According to the Dice report, on a month-over-month basis, Tableau, a popular data visualization tool, grew by an impressive 30 percent. Change management (29 percent) and data warehousing (27 percent) also showed notable increases. This is likely account for by the increased demand for data scientists and consultants, who use tools like Tableau and data-warehousing best practices in order to get information they need from the company’s datasets, before turning that data into actionable insights. IT Technician salaries for individuals with these skills are set to increase.

The increasing shift to remote work has also driven increased demand for help desk and support specialists, to support company employees as they shift from an in-office environment to remote platforms.

There are some unfortunate tech job trends as well. Companies also find themselves battling high turnover, especially with talent in such demand. National Public Radio has termed this phenomenon the «Great Resignation». Recruiters can mitigate this risk by setting clear, realistic expectations for the role and doing their best to ensure the candidate is a culture fit before hiring.

Technology Hiring in 2021

As we have seen, tech positions are some of the most in-demand US jobs today.

With competition for tech talent only getting more competitive, to do technology hiring in 2021 you will need to make sure that your recruiting strategy is optimized for a hyper-competitive environment.

One of the first steps you can take is to make sure that you have a plan in place for engaging passive talent instead of just active talent.

To source passive candidates, you can use LinkedIn and other traditional channels, and also tools like Employa’s MatchMiner to source potential applicants from your existing CV database.

Whenever you have a competitive application process for a vacancy, it means that you end up having to say no to some promising candidates. When hiring for a new role, it can save your recruitment significant time to start by reaching out to candidates who already passed several rounds of interviews the last time they applied to your company.

However, because these candidates were competitive, they are likely to have found employment elsewhere by now, which means you will have to treat them as passive and not active talent.

The key to reaching out to passive talent is to develop a rock-solid email nurturing strategy, as the one contact is usually not enough to get engagement from a candidate. For more on how to develop a good email-nurturing strategy, you can check out this excellent guide from HubSpot.

Another aspect that you can’t neglect in a competitive market is your employer brand, which needs to both stand out from the crowd and also be tailored to the type of candidate you want to attract. It’s a real challenge to be both unique and tailored, as your competitors are also tailoring their employer brands to appeal to the same or similar candidate as you are trying to attract. Part of this making sure that the tech job offers on your website are well written.

A good general rule here is that startups should focus on the «impactful, underdog spirit» in their employer brands, whereas larger enterprises can go for more of a «be part of something bigger than yourself vibe». You can read more about how to make a great employer brand here.

Organizations are also undertaking efforts to shorten their hiring process, both for the sake of efficiency and to reduce the chances that an applicant will be hired by competition first.

One way to reduce your time-to-hire is to level up your recruitment team’s capabilities by using an AI-driven recruiting assistant, such as Employa.

Employa can expand the capabilities of your existing ATS with its MatchMaster and MatchMiner tools, or be used as full service recruiting agency that combines human recruitment talent and AI-powered insight.

Need Employa to advance your tech recruiting?

Whether you need a recruitment service or upgrade existing recruitment software, Employa is ready to help.

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