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8 hot IT hiring trends — and 8 going cold

Paul Heltzel | Sept. 19, 2017
Recruiting and retaining tech talent remains IT’s biggest challenge today. Here’s how companies are coping — and what’s cooling off when it comes to IT staffing.


Hot: Soft skills

While candidates’ tech chops are assumed in IT, soft skills are even more in demand, according executives, analysts and recruiters.

Soft skills are “the most significant trend in recruiting,” says SenecaGlobal’s Szofer. “Computer science grads and those with certifications — these types of skills are indeed required. However, you must be able to communicate clearly, listen carefully, and be a strong team player — that’s what astute companies are now recruiting for.”

John Pollak, VP of people and talent at Keeper Security, has some advice for hiring managers: “Screen for character and skill,” he says. “It’s especially true at startups where every hire has immense impact. We help people build skills. Character and attitude are difficult to change.”


Cold: Perks you don’t actually want

Because firms are having trouble recruiting and keeping top talent, some throw gimmicky perks to sweeten their job offerings. But it may not help.

“In hot tech markets like Seattle and the Bay Area, the pain is particularly acute so companies are falling victim to short-term thinking,” says Manny Medina, CEO of Seattle-based Outreach, and a former Amazon and Microsoft executive. “They compete by offering crazy packages to attract star players but it’s fraught with peril in the long term. You run into all kinds of issues around leveling and over time it leads to discontent on the team.”

What employees want, noted a number of experts interviewed for this article, is a sense of meaning at work — rather than institutionalized “fun.”

“HR needs to focus on communicating purpose, not just offering perks,” says Keeper Security’s Pollak. “Eighty percent of employees are not in their dream job. So that means, the last 5-10 years of throwing ping pong tables and dry cleaning at employees hasn’t worked.”


Hot: Security jobs

Despite headline-grabbing security attacks, many companies are still woefully unprepared. Still, there are far more openings than security experts.

“We’re definitely seeing more full-time in-house security folks and many as members of the executive team,” says Medina. “Security is a top concern for all companies. Unfortunately, there’s a real scarcity of security folks, so finding one is a challenge.”

TEKsystems’ JasonHayman says this year he’s seeing increased demand for developers who know Python, Ruby and Java — coupled with credentials in information security.

“Testing new applications in real time and being able to integrate security testing into the process speeds up time to market,” Haymansays, “helping organizations who are seeing faster growth react and scale with demand.”


Cold: Actual job security

According to Payscale’s survey of tech industry salaries, some of the best-known tech companies have some of the shortest tenure, including Facebook, Uber and Amazon — all less than 2 years.


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