What Tech Talent Wants From an Employer — Q&A with Samantha Conacher, Manager, Technology

As many of you know (or likely experienced!) tech talent was in high demand before the pandemic. Now that employees have largely shifted to remote and hybrid work, and the company/customer relationship is more virtual, the demand for tech talent is higher than ever.

This has led to a candidate-driven market. For talent in IT, this means that you are in the driver’s seat, with multiple offers and higher-than-average salary expectations if your skill set is one that is high in demand. To stand out in this crowded market as an employer, you have to be tuned into the current wants and needs of your candidates.

In fact, according to research from CodinGame, about two-thirds of HR professionals reported that finding qualified developers would be their greatest recruiting challenge of this year.

So to help you out, we asked Samantha Conacher, our technology team lead here at ML6. Samantha has specialized in IT recruiting at ML6 since 2018 and manages the technology division in all aspects of new business development, client partnerships, and recruitment sourcing strategies.

She shared her insights on what she’s seen change in hiring for technical professionals and tips for how to attract today’s tech talent Here’s what she had to say:

1. What’s unique about tech talent compared to other talent segments?

Technology is an ever-changing and evolving field, so when it comes to hiring tech talent you need to constantly be up-to-date and relevant with what is happening in the market. So as an employer, you should be familiar with the latest technology and trends in business IT Transformations.

2. How have you seen the tech talent market change over the past year?

The tech talent market has changed drastically over the past year. Organizations shaken by the pandemic were faced with a sudden need to transform their IT focus and transform quickly to function in a virtual world. Many organizations relied on their tech teams for this resiliency. There was an increased need for expertise in cloud technology, automation, and full stack development!

With this immediate need for more qualified tech talent, there was a demand and supply issue which led to increased salary rates in order to attract that top talent and stay competitive.

And when it comes to the hiring process, we’ve seen a lot change when it comes to interviews. Today, the interview processes changed from in-person interviews to virtual meet-and-greets over Teams or Zoom. Similarly, whiteboarding exercises switched to take-home challenges to assess technical fit.

a man looking at a computer screen

3. It’s a competitive market today, especially for tech experts. In your work, what have you found makes employers stand out?

In a highly competitive and candidate-driven market such as it is today in tech, employers can stand out by having a good look at their EVP (employee value proposition) and understanding how it compares to other organizations in their market. For instance, you might consider any of the following areas:

  • Do the salary expectations align with the market rate?
  • Unlimited sick days in the face of a global pandemic (you never know when you may need to pick a child up from daycare with a runny nose and get a covid test to be safe)
  • Benefits that are effective from day one
  • Lifestyle spending accounts (a lot of organizations are adding lifestyle spend accounts that cover things such as home gym equipment, Uber Eats, and being able to expense an extra computer monitor for your home office)
  • Remote work (will new hires be working 100% remotely and is there a plan around onboarding virtually so they feel included?)

Another way to differentiate yourself is by working closely with your talent acquisition team or recruiters to give them a clear picture of the project you are hiring for and your plans for the future. This way, they can communicate this information to potential candidates and get them excited about the opportunity and what they will have a part in building. Any exciting growth opportunities for the company as a whole are also great talking points to share, especially with candidates who are trying to make a decision between multiple opportunities.

4. What top tips would you give to employers looking to hire tech talent today?

I would give the following tips:

  • Re-evaluate your current offering to employees (salary, bonus, lifestyle spending, sick days, remote work, etc.)
  • Pair down and consolidate your interview process
  • Provide candidate feedback
  • Making decisions quickly to secure talented professionals before they move on to other opportunities

And finally, work with companies like ML6 Search + Talent Advisory who take the time to understand your business and hiring needs and have first-hand knowledge on what is happening in the market currently.

For more help understanding the wants and needs of today’s candidates, be sure to read this article on what candidates want from employers. And if you’re looking for a helping hand, get in touch with Samantha and our expert team of hiring professionals today!

About ML6

ML6 is a recruitment and talent advisory firm located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We provide customized solutions to support our clients throughout the employee lifecycle. We help our clients attract and retain talent by advising on people programs, processes, and best practices.