The year 2023 was certainly a revolutionary one for the tech segment! Some might argue that the revolution in itself was the McKinsey report, stating that between now and 2030, generative AI could enable the automation of up to 70% business activities – IT-related ones included – obviously with an added value of trillions of dollars to the global economy.
So is 2024 the beginning of quicksands-in-the-work-place for programmers and developers? It’s true, the current tech hiring landscape is dominated by uncertainty and recruitment processes are lengthier and tougher, in the wake of yet again beginning of the year lay-offs… but is it all that doom and gloom?
VON Tech, an IT partner for companies from the US and Central Eastern Europe, with more than 10 years of experience, ventures a reasoning about how the IT market will evolve this year and what the selection processes in line, relevant to both employers and employees, might look like.
Demand vs. supply, an intriguing report
Job losses were very numerous in 2023, when 1,186 technology companies laid off approximately 262,682 employees. By comparison, that’s 97,713 more than in 2022, according to data compiled by Layoffs.fyi.
And yet, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of software developers will grow by 26% in the US by 2032, in order to meet the extremely intense global demand. The information is even more surprising considering that the average growth rate for all occupations is only 3%.
When it comes to employees from the tech field, there is obvious reluctance and opportunities are taken with a pinch of salt, especially since 2024 is another year that starts off with lay-offs.
According to a survey applied to 9,338 software engineers by Blind in December 2023, almost 9 out of 10 respondents believe that it is harder to find a job now than before the pandemic. Of these, 66% say it is “much harder”. More than that, only 6% of those surveyed were “extremely confident” they could find another job with the same total compensation if they became unemployed today, while 32 percent were “not at all confident”.
How is the tech hiring landscape shaping up?
According to the State of IT 2024 report, 66% of companies are preparing to increase their IT budgets for 2024, compared to only 4% who plan to decrease the amounts allocated.
What does this mean? That employment opportunities will increase this year. Put differently, experienced developers will be able to advance to more complicated tasks, focused on the trends of the moment, highlighting a need for juniors in the field, who will be able to process repetitive tasks with a low level of difficulty.
The list of the most sought-after jobs will potentially include: systems security manager (requires deep knowledge of security technologies, but also of IT infrastructure, to prevent any threat and repair any damage), applications architect (focused on the ability to design scalable application architectures, resilient and secure) and of course cloud architect, as Internet of Things – IoT is booming (technical cloud expertise, automation and scripting skills are important).
The big picture isn’t that gray, but we can’t ignore the fact that 90% of tech hiring managers report challenges finding qualified talent (according to a Robert Half survey at the end of 2023), with the situation getting worse as the time to hire has reached an all-time high, now averaging 44 days (according to Josh Bersin Academy global research).
Advice for candidates
Job interviews this year will be for certain quite broad, which means that they won’t only assess the theoretical information held by the candidates. One thing that every job applicant should know is that… digital skills are not enough.
In order to be more successful in the hiring process, it is necessary to develop your “soft skills” very well, such as communication and availability for teamwork. Be open to feedback and don’t internalize it as criticism. Moreover, don’t consider the waiting period as “dead time”. Stay connected to changes in the field and take new courses.
All the while, good organization will be crucial. It is desirable to make a schedule with each upcoming activity, in order to thoroughly prepare and not be taken by surprise. And don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter questions all throughout the selection process!
Recommendations for companies
Finding the right employees for job vacancies, that perfectly blend technical knowledge with social interaction, is more complicated than it seems, especially in such a dynamic hiring environment. The good part is that there are specialized companies that take the effort off your shoulders and materialize it in an exemplary way.