6 hot IT hiring trends — and 5 going cold

A global pandemic, economic contraction, and calls to end racial inequality have altered the IT hiring landscape. Here’s how companies are adjusting when it comes to IT staffing.

8 hot IT hiring trends — and 8 going cold

We’re seeing a number of shifts this year in hiring as technologies mature, new ones emerge and companies work to cut costs by blending full-time IT staff with contract work.

While some see the gig economy as a flexible new way to work, one that appeals to solo entrepreneurs, others see a general consequence of the Great Recession. Either way, the gig economy is experiencing growing pains. And growing it is: 40 percent of the workforce is expected to be part of it by 2020, according to a report by Intuit.  

One thing hasn’t changed this year: Recruiting top talent is still difficult for most firms, and demand greatly outstrips supply. That’s influencing many of the areas we looked at, including compensation and retention.

Whether you’re looking to expand your team or job searching yourself, read on to see which IT hiring practices are trending and which ones are falling out of favor.

Hot: Workplace flexibility

Even for companies that want their staff based at HQ full time, workplace flexibility is on the rise, according to a number of experts and studies that weigh in on what job candidates want.

“Being able to work from home — from a coffee shop, or carving out a day or two as part of a longer vacation — is increasing,” says Jeb Ory, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Phone2Action. “Technology mobility is here to stay, and companies need a combination of in-office workplaces and flexible remote work options.”

In the tech industry, remote work is essentially an expectation in 2017, says Lynette Estrada, director of global talent acquisition at Nutanix.

“We’ve seen workplace flexibility become a major trend for the tech industry, both in IT and across all job functions,” Estrada says. At her own company, “employees are encouraged to talk to their managers about flexible time, including working at home during the week or leaving early on occasion for external commitments,” Estrada says. The aim is to achieve greater work-life balance, she says — which can help with retention and stems burnout.

Cold: Full-time remote work

While workplace flexibility — including working at satellite offices — are on the rise, fully remote work situations aren’t nearly as common. IBM, Yahoo, Reddit and HP are some of the notable examples of companies that pulled workers back to the office — unless certain workers had a specific need to work remotely full time.

“When it comes to IT hiring, we’re seeing a trend toward building teams of 100 percent on-site, full-time employees,” says Ory. “Software companies are focusing on building out teams to address the varied technical and product needs they have — and a key element to a high-performing team is building trust, which comes most easily from working together, in close proximity, day in, day out.”

Obviously office-based work isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Some companies report increased productivity using a fully distributed staff. And turnover, one-off projects, and some specialized, short-term needs will continue to require contractors — some on site but often working remotely — to quickly adopt the best available talent.

“There needs to be a balance,” says Colin Doherty, CEO of Fuze, which makes audio and video cloud-based communication collaboration tools. “In the traditional office environment, leaders had physical evidence of who was engaged and disengaged based on who showed up when, observing what was on people’s screens, and other visual cues,” he says. “The real challenge for companies is less about whether or not employees need to be in the office and more about how you can foster engagement regardless of where they get work done.”

Hot: Blended workforces/flexible staffing

Blended IT groups offer a standard baseline of full-time staff, with the option to add — or dial back — contractors as needed.

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