Tech Hiring Outlook Improves for 2013
By Samuel Greengard
The last few years have presented enormous challenges for organizations across a wide swath of industries. An ailing economy, tight budgets and radically changing IT requirements have left more than a few businesses scrambling to address changing hiring and staffing needs.
Technology and engineering career site Dice (www.dice.com) reports in its "December 2012 Hiring Survey" that a modest recovery is under way, and the trend should continue throughout the coming year. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of hiring managers and recruiters say their companies or clients will likely hire technology professionals during the first six months of the year.
"Tempered optimism" is how Dice Managing Director Alice Hill describes the climate. "For every pair of companies likely to staff up in 2013, there's a company saying they're not looking to grow their technology workforce in the immediate future," she says.
Dice predicts steady and ongoing employment growth rather than an abrupt uptick in hiring. For instance, 21 percent of organizations will engage in "substantially more hiring" over the next six months, compared to 18 percent in late spring of 2012.
But adding positions is only half the story. It's also becoming increasingly difficult to identify and hire candidates in a timely manner. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said that filling open positions takes longer, and 16 percent labeled the challenge "substantial.
Here's the heart of the problem: 47 percent of hiring managers cited an inability to find qualified applicants, while 33 percent mentioned a desire to wait for "the perfect match."
At the same time, candidates are asking for more money. Slightly more than half (53 percent) of hiring managers and recruiters said candidates for IT positions are requesting higher pay than those polled six months ago. In addition, 39 percent of technology hiring professionals said they see an uptick in counteroffers over the same time period.
These factors are affecting recruiting. Twenty-eight percent of hiring professionals indicated that they've experienced an increase in technology professionals rejecting job offers in the last six months.
Overall, the top priorities for IT skill sets, Dice reports, are Java/J2EE Developers, mobile developers, .NET developers, data analysts and analytic expertise, and software developers. In fact, more than one in five of the 77,000 jobs posted on Dice contained some mention of the need for Java know-how. Hill says that the demand for Java expertise is creating significant and growing competition for individuals with these skills. Another hot area is big data, where job postings tripled year over year at the Dice site.
Hill says that IT executives should expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future, particularly as mobile adoption grows and BYOD moves into the mainstream of the business world. "With smart phones, iOS, Droid devices and apps on a fast upward trajectory," she says, "mobile development skills should continue to see skyrocketing demand as we move toward mid-decade."