It's not you. Hiring for today's in-demand roles is harder than ever, for a variety of reasons including a lack of qualified applicants for in-demand, specialized roles. As the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Mondo, a leading staffing agency, I understand the struggle to reach talent in today's candidate-driven market. Of over 800 recruiters surveyed in a 2018 report, 74 percent projected hiring becoming more competitive throughout 2019.
While offering a competitive salary and health insurance package is no longer optional in the hiring process, especially for those hiring for high-end IT or tech roles, it's still not enough to attract and retain experts who are receiving identical offers from your competitors. How can you stand out? It all comes down to knowing what the talent you need values most after money and health benefits. Round out your benefits package to include the following three benefits, and you'll be surprised to see the impact it has on acceptance rates to your job offers.
1. Incentivize upskilling
It couldn't be clearer that the future of employment will be heavily STEM-driven as more and more careers become tied to a variety of STEM-based skills. As the U.S. continues to face tech talent shortages stateside, employers are beginning to incentivize upskilling their workers to solve future talent gaps. Amazon is the most recent example and it announced an investment to upskill 100,000 of its workers by 2025 for more technical, in-demand skills like machine learning, data science, and software engineering.
While incentivizing upskilling among your workforce will help solve future talent gaps, the more valuable takeaway is that today's tech talent seek out employers who value their current skills and will invest in furthering those skills. Establish a set budget for teams to spend exclusively on certification courses, continued education opportunities, and additional training. Help develop a culture of learning at your company by encouraging employees to take advantage of these resources, hosting hack-a-thons, and allocating time during the workday for skills development each quarter. Be vocal about these investments and opportunities in the hiring process, so talent knows you're providing them with more than just a job but the ability to achieve their dreams and further refine their valuable skills.
2. Be transparent about career growth
Tied directly into creating a culture of learning and incentivizing upskilling is the importance of transparency around career growth within your organization. A lack of career growth opportunities was cited by IT security talent as the most common reason experts left past roles, according to Mondo's IT Security Guide. Which shows it's never too early to be transparent with talent about the career growth opportunities you envision for them.
One option is to include a reference to career growth opportunities in your job descriptions. Then, speak directly to this in the interview process by outlining a potential career path for the individual at your company or highlighting roles you expect to add in coming years. Applicants debating a job offer from your business will consider the realistic career growth possibilities available to them by making either lateral moves through skills development or following a clear trajectory for promotions and title changes.
Another option in the interview process is to highlight a fellow tech employee who rose within your company and outline what that career path looked like. Doing so shows the value you place on top talent and your desire to have them grow with your business. It could make the difference between an applicant that accepts your offer or goes with a competitor who was more transparent about career growth options.
3. Prioritize work-life balance in all its forms
The importance of prioritizing work-life balance when it comes to attracting top tech talent for full-time roles can't be overstated. Employees in IT ranked as the highest talent group across any industry interested in leaving full-time positions for contract or freelance roles in the next five years, according to Metlife's 2019 Employment Benefits Trends Survey. The top two reasons tech talent consider joining the gig economy were flexible scheduling, followed closely by the ability to work where they want.
Be proactive about retaining your current full-time tech talent, while also better attracting both contract and full-time based applicants by expanding the benefits they value most tied to work-life balance. Incorporate remote work opportunities for teams that don't need to be on-site 24/7 or reward employees with weekly or monthly remote or work-from-home days. Implement a PTO policy that encourages your workforce to take time off and train management on how to create an environment where employees feel comfortable requesting PTO. Include references to these benefits as early as the job description or highlight them in initial interviews to convey the value you place on your employees' mental and physical well-being through work-life balance.
While a competitive salary and expansive health coverage are fundamental elements of how to attract high-end IT and tech experts, these alone are no longer enough to attract qualified talent in today's candidate-driven market. Forget trendy, eye-catching perks and instead invest in benefits like upskilling, career growth, and work-life balance to hire and retain the talent you need.