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Technical Recruiting in the USA in 2021

For the tech job market, the recovery phase of the COVID-era economy has generated headlines toting how new conditions are. However, the jolt brought on by the pandemic has underscored the USA technical recruiting industry trends developing for years – first and foremost that there is a shortage of tech talent on the market at any given time. And second, that finding those people that are out there is driving automation and AI in recruiting. At Employa, the IT job market in the USA is our specialty, so we watch it carefully, and here are our observations about the market going forward.

The USA tech job market

In some ways, the IT job market in the USA is getting back to its pre-COVID levels. Computerworld notes in an October 2021 article that,

“The IT job situation in the US continues to look very much like the pre-pandemic state: more positions than candidates.”, says Computerworld.

It’s not simply a matter of having too few people for the positions, though that has been the case and it is only going to get worse. Microsoft reported in December 2020 that it expects the total global technology-oriented job count to expand by a factor of nearly five between 2020 and 2025, from 41 million workers to 190 million in 2025. 

One trend observed in 2020, however, has reversed, and that is in terms of the number of people already employed in tech positions who are looking to move elsewhere. Through the beginning of 2021, it had been noted that churn in the IT industry had slowed as tech workers who had kept their jobs as the pandemic whipsawed through the workforce decided to shelter in place, so to speak, and suspend job searches. In April 2021, Technical.ly published an article stating that quit rates in technology-oriented companies were at a nine-year low, though that was expected to end. Just how many tech workers will jump ship in 2021? In October 2021 article in Recruiting Daily, Steven Rawlings pointed to estimates that as much as 30% of the tech workforce would change jobs in the next year.

Those returning to the job hunt are finding hungry companies. In a September 2021 article on the tech job market, TechRepublic compares technology occupation unemployment to the general figure, and despite the turmoil of COVID on work-life, tech comes out on top. The field saw 1.5% unemployment in August, versus 5.2% for the general workforce. The tech talent pool in the USA is essentially at full employment.

“The competition in this candidate-driven market is fierce, forcing companies to rethink how to put the candidate experience first, how they recruit and who they hire.”

Steven Rawlings 

Tech hiring trend

More tech workers are expecting to work from home at least part of the time, and employers in formerly prime locations have to face broader competition. Tech companies hiring in San Francisco, for example, are finding that requiring workers to be on-site automatically cuts their possible talent pools in half, and competition now comes from every company willing to focus on remote work.

The increasing number of companies that are amenable to remote work complicates processes that used to feature a face-to-face component. Some of the same technologies used to enable remote work, such as video conferencing, are now more common in distance recruiting, and the introduction of more technologies can be expected to change recruiting further.

New technical recruiting technologies

New recruitment technologies will be among the major trends in technical recruiting for the next three years, Hr.com predicts. The Hr.com authors found that only 18% of the companies they polled claimed that their talent acquisition technologies were well integrated. This means that the ATS, recruitment marketing platforms, assessment software, and remote, video-based hiring software were not adequately connected. Furthermore, artificial intelligence is expected to play a major role in recruiting, especially in terms of:

  • automating talent acquisition processes
  • targeting candidate searches
  • prioritizing resumes and applications
  • engaging candidates 

Furthermore, in a tight employee market, technology is becoming a differentiator. Hr.com notes that companies with higher self-assessed HR competencies are about twice as likely to state that they have the following:

  • overall talent that is above average in quality
  • that they use sourcing technology
  • they have a recruitment marketing system
  • they leverage talent and skills analytics technology

How company hiring in 2021

Hiring in 2021 needs to take into account four trends, Bryan Robinson, Ph.D., wrote in Forbes magazine in August 2021. With the Great Resignation in  full swing, companies looking to bring in (and retain) talent need to focus on reshaping their relations in terms of:

  • mental well-being
  • productivity in terms of results
  • company culture in terms of supportive, trust-building management
  • career development, including continuous learning

The last point, continuous learning, has several ramifications for any IT recruiter in the USA companies. One important thing is that resumes will become even more intricate as the range of responsibilities, positions, and varieties of learning expand. Accurately processing resumes will need to rely even more than ever on automation and AI in recruiting. Being able to glean insights such as career development but also issues such as employment gaps or inaccurate information will make AI indispensable. 

Finding such gaps does not mean that there is a problem with a resume – the fragmentation of work-life during the pandemic has emphasized this. With features such as smart questions that can ask the applicant relevant questions based on data and gaps that the AI-driven functions uncover, Candidate experience can be examined and either augmented with the right questions, or the resume set aside for other purposes, all before a recruiter knows that anything has happened. 

Moreover, automation and AI in recruiting speed up communication with the applicant, thus making for a more engaging process. Increasing the velocity of the technical recruitment process is something that both Hr Research Institute and Steve Rawlings point to as important components of current trends in recruiting.

Targeting high-tech talent is also getting high-tech, so renewing your use of technology in 2021 will help you stand out.  Employa is an AI-driven research assistant that helps recruiters by automatically posting vacancies to the best IT jobs websites, but it also uses AI to select only the best applicants. If you are considering an update to your recruiting technology stack, we should talk!

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