What Tech Candidates Want Most

IT Salary and Job Perks Straight Talk

What does it take to engage, hire, and retain tech experts today? Is it ludicrous money? Work from anywhere? Training? Employers today know the competition for tech talent is tough, but that’s nothing new. Since the 1990s, minus a short blip or two, the fight tech talent has been escalating around the globe. Few would have thought it could grow even more fraught, but the pandemic did just that.

Tech skills are some of the most precious commodities in the marketplace today and for the foreseeable future. For employers, the question is, “How precious?” What pay, perks, and promises are tech job seekers seeking out and saying yes to? Here are the top three:

1: Top Dollar! (It’s Expected)
Early in lockdowns as tech workers migrated away from urban IT strongholds like Silicon Valley and New York City, there were signs that tech salaries could drop. Facebook announced that those who left their home bases for permanent remote work would have their salaries adjusted to their new local market.

Rather than seeing compensation fall in traditional tech hubs, the majority of regions across the U.S. (and beyond) saw salaries and hourly pay rates rise as tech giants began to recruit for remote tech talent in new and smaller markets. Their bigger compensation capabilities and brand recognition of tech powerhouses fueled substantial talent poaching and raised salaries in regions across the U.S. The Dice Salary Survey revealed that overall tech salaries rose by 3.6% across the U.S., while markets like Orlando and Charlotte saw pay go up by more than 13%.

Money Matters Everywhere
Beyond U.S. borders tech compensation is also up. The Tech Salary Survey from HR Tech Group found that in Canada, new hires saw a medium increase of 4.8% in pay and incumbents (existing tech employees) got an even bigger median salary increase of 5.4%. Go across the world to India—the world’s most abundant wellspring of tech skills ingenuity—and salaries have skyrocketed in 2021. Indeed India reports that demand for IT talent is up 400%. Salaries for full stack engineers are up 70-100% while application developer salaries have risen by 150-300%.

At Mojo Trek, where our focus is providing tech recruitment and consulting solutions with the focus on quality of execution, we have seen wages rise across the board. Over the last six months a good deal of the tech companies and IT departments Mojo Trek supports have raised salaries and pay rates by 10% or more to compete for talent. What’s different about these recent bumps in compensation is that there is always a room for reasonable negotiation between talent and the perspective employer. Today, employers are seeing and feeling this talent shortage and are more likely to extend offers that are designed to secure the right talent from the get-go.

2: Remote Is the Only Way to Hire Tech Fast

Based on the current market and tech talent mindset, one of the fastest ways to hire tech talent right now is to offer 100% remote work. A recent Glassdoor analysis of job search data found that the search for remote work positions was up 360% from June 2019 to June 2021. The same report found that information technology positions made up one quarter (24.8%) of all remote job applications in June of 2021. At Mojo Trek, our tech talent recruitment outcomes mirror this increase pursuit of remote work across the tech sector:

  • 68% of all tech jobs Mojo Trek filled to date in 2021 are fully remote with no expectations to return to the office
  • 27% of tech jobs filled to date are a hybrid of remote and onsite work
  • Less than 5% of tech jobs filled to date require full-time onsite work

The number one way to ensure more interest and response from tech candidates right now is remote work. Mojo Trek is able to fill remote positions in just 48-72 hours. It takes much longer to identify candidates for hybrid and onsite jobs.  In addition, many organizations are seeing an important diversity change with remote offers as well. Remote opportunities don’t just bring in more candidates, they bring in more diverse applicants and more women. The candidate pool grows in diversity and size.

3: Learning and Career Growth is Key to Retention
One critical technology employment fact is that it is easier to retain an employee than to find a new one in tech today. What benefits are most essential in retaining tech talent apart from salary and health insurance: learning and career growth. According to an August 2021 survey from TalentLMS and Workable, a massive 72% of tech workers are considering quitting or exploring other opportunities in the year ahead. Nine out of ten of those workers report wanting “more learning and development opportunities from their company.” After salary and benefits, the number one reason they give for considering leaving their employer is “limited career progression.”

The tech professionals we talk to at Mojo Trek also speak to the importance of finding work where training and career growth are a cornerstone of the culture. They want to keep their skills relevant and be positioned to work in great projects that challenge and interest them. Employers that cater to this growth mindset have a recruiting edge.

Give a Little Ground
As tech workforce solutions providers, Mojo Trek is always navigating the line between what job seekers want and what employers need and we understand the challenge. Very few employers can offer packages that meet today’s elevated expectations for compensation, remote work and career growth and learning. Our advice? As you look for the middle ground, understand that it tilts toward candidates. Be ready to accommodate where you can when you need to hire fast, or embrace a longer hiring game. 

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