The tech jobs market has been candidate-driven for as long as we can remember. For candidates, this is an extraordinary situation; it gives them all the bargaining power and allows them to take their pick of available jobs. However, it makes it difficult for employers to attract and retain tech talent. It’s no wonder, then, that the number one question on our client’s lips is, ‘Do you think we will see an employer-driven tech jobs market any time soon?’.
Unfortunately, the short answer is probably not but bear with us. Several factors could tip the balance more in an employer’s favour. Keep reading to learn more about an employer-driven tech jobs market and why it would benefit tech companies. We also explore what it would take for the recruitment landscape to shift from a candidate-driven one to an employer-driven one.
What is an Employer Driven Market?
At any time, the jobs market is either employer-driven or candidate driven. A candidate-driven market is where there are more job openings than there are qualified candidates to fill them. Conversely, there are more job seekers than available jobs in an employer-driven market.
How the Tech Sector Jobs Market Became Candidate-Driven
The tech sector has been candidate-driven for a long time for several reasons:
To become a professional tech worker, a Software Engineer, for example, takes a long time and dedication to study, possibly even a computer science degree. As the demands of employers are so high, the available talent pool with the skills required is limited.
There are new technological advances every day, and with each new discovery, things like artificial intelligence become must-have requirements for more businesses. What’s more, employers want top talent to fill their tech roles, people who can hit the ground running. No organisation wants to waste its money hiring and training a team of Software Developers only for them to accept a better job offer elsewhere and leave.
Thus the skills gaps in the tech sector widen, and as employers compete for the available talent, average salaries increase.
All of the above meant that skills gaps were a huge problem even before the pandemic. So when covid-19 came along, and companies realised the urgency for going digital, the demand for highly skilled remote working tech professionals increased exorbitantly.
How Might an Employer-Driven Market Help Employers?
If there were more IT workers than there were jobs, working life would be much easier for all concerned. Below are just a few of the ways that an employer-driven market might benefit employers.
Hiring would become easier.
Very few job adverts currently receive any clicks from relevant, qualified tech professionals. Employers advertise jobs anyway in the hope that it might generate a little interest. However, we have to source most IT professionals these days by trawling LinkedIn and reaching out to those who seem a good match. This is an extremely time-consuming process and one for which most hiring managers don’t have time.
In an employer-driven market, where there is a surplus of tech job seekers, hiring managers would simply post a job advert and take their pick of the CVs that come flooding in.
Managers could get on with their jobs.
Picture the above scenario. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Imagine how much time we would all have to do our jobs, train people properly, go on teambuilding experience days and enjoy a fulfilling work-life balance.
Recruiting would become cheaper.
With a surplus of qualified tech workers and not enough jobs to go around, recruitment agencies would no longer be necessary for employers. Companies wouldn’t need to employ internal recruitment teams to manage their open vacancies because there wouldn’t be enough of them to justify it. As a result, organisations would see a massive reduction in recruitment costs.
Tech jobs would be much less stressful.
It must be hard to be a tech professional at present. Imagine working in a world where workers must complete every task ‘yesterday’, and there are not enough people to finish the job. Not only that, but due to skills shortages, there is often nobody above you with enough knowledge or experience to ask for help.
In an employer-driven market, tech teams would be brimming with knowledge, and getting the necessary training would be no problem where skills gaps occur. Furthermore, we would all finish on time and enjoy relaxing with our families and friends a lot more. In short, we wouldn’t all be so burnt out.
What Would it Take for The Market to Become Employer Driven?
For us to see a shift in the balance of power from candidates to employers, there would have to be a massive influx of tech skills onto the market in the next couple of years.
The technology industry currently employs 47 million people in the UK, and advertised over two million tech vacancies last year. By stark comparison, during the great recession of 2008 – 09, one in seven UK workers lost their jobs.
Assuming we will see the same unemployment rate across all sectors this time as in 2008/9, we might expect over 6 million tech professionals to lose their jobs. That would be enough to plug the skills gaps we have, right? And if it did, wouldn’t that find us in an employer-driven tech jobs market?
Well, no, not exactly. Even if we see the same unemployment rate as we saw during the great recession, the distribution of job losses won’t be equal across all sectors. The hardest hit sectors will likely be retail, hospitality and travel because, unfortunately, these jobs are always the first to go when people’s disposable income dries up.
While the IT sector isn’t 100% recession-proof, for as long as there are skills gaps, employers are unlikely to make mass layoffs. According to Insider, most CEOs say they plan to reduce hiring next year, but at the same time, over half will increase their hiring budgets. So while we may see fewer job adverts hitting the job boards, many companies are still short of critical tech skills and so will continue to hire.
Meta and Twitter are just a couple of large employers that have already made many redundancies. However, these are companies whose business model relies heavily on social media advertising revenue. We’re unlikely to see the same ratios of redundancies across the entire tech jobs market.
A Few Final Thoughts on Whether There will be an Employer-Driven Tech Jobs Market in 2023
At the moment, we are right at the start of what could be a pretty horrendous economic period. Then again, it might not be that bad. We don’t have a crystal ball, so all we can do is speculate based on what we know and what happened in the past.
Every recession is different, and the reasons for us heading into this one are very different to why the last one occurred. And because it came about for different reasons, it will likely play by different rules.
One thing is for certain, we won’t know how bad things will get until it’s over, and we can look back and assess the damage. But whatever happens, new technologies will still be in demand, and the tech sector will still need tech professionals to keep up with that demand. Therefore, the likelihood of us seeing an employer-driven tech jobs market any time soon is extremely unlikely.
If your company is still suffering from the skills drought and you need essential skills to keep moving forward, our team can help you achieve your business goals.