IT hiring trends to look out for in 2020
Recruiting and retaining tech talent remains ITs biggest challenge today. Here we explore some of the major hiring trends to impact the IT industry this year and what companies should be planning for in their hiring strategies for 2020 and beyond.
February 7, 2020
Darwin’s theory on the Origin of Species points out that it is not the most intellectual or strongest of the species that survives, it’s the species best able to adapt and adjust to its changing environment. Fast forward 150 years, and the same can be said for the IT industry today. With rapid advancements in technology, companies must evolve to succeed. This year, we can expect more technology disruption, increased demand for softer skills and a rise in requests for the multi-skilled worker.
The question facing many employers and HR professionals is: are you prepared for what is coming? And can you keep up with the pace?
Disruption continues with quicker, better, faster everything
First coined in the mid-1990s, the term ‘technology disruption’ refers to how companies innovate and create a new market and value network that eventually disturbs and displaces existing firms, their products and their services. While this isn’t a new trend, disruptive technologies have picked up pace in recent years as companies continue to find new ways to respond to customer demand. Their focus is firmly on how to increase speed, quality and efficiency while generating ROI, and this pace of change is not looking set to slow down in 2020.
Some of the main disruptive tech trends to look out for are:
- Advancements in Data Science: Data is often described as the new oil, a currency with which successful business must trade. The more of it you have, the cleaner it is and the quicker it can be accessed, the more informed and valuable your business decisions become.
- Robotics Process Automation (RPA): Companies have already started to experience major wins from delegating the work of repetitive business processes and tasks to the capability of robotics. According to Gartner, RPA is outpacing all other segments of the enterprise software market worldwide, with an expected revenue of $1.3 billion this year—and this is only set to grow.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Like RPA, AI and ML provide an alternative approach to automation that enables businesses to process, at scale, some of the most monotonous tasks typically carried by humans, but integral to business success. AI and ML is being used more frequently in areas such as Cyber Security due to its ability to quickly mass assess and measure risk.
- 5G: According to TEKsystems' Market Research expert Jason Hayman, while it might be a few years before a nationwide rollout of this super-fast wireless network, organisations are advancing their 5G strategies now, before widespread network availability. If you haven’t started to consider how to leverage 5G to benefit your business, it’s time to start planning.
IT needs ‘people-people’
According to Oxbridge Academy, soft skills are becoming more important than ever in contemporary workplaces. Skills such as listening, collaborating with others, presenting ideas and communicating with team members are all highly valued in the modern workplace. These soft skills ensure a productive, collaborative and healthy working environment and are vital attributes for organisations to stay ahead. According to the CEO of SenecaGlobal, Ed Szofer, soft skills are the most significant trend in recruiting. He says that “computer science graduates and those with certifications are indeed required, however, you must be able to communicate clearly, listen carefully, and be a strong team player to succeed in the IT industry today.”
Working in a silo is a thing of the past
In a traditional IT business, the pace was typically slower. Projects were managed across multiple departments of an organisation and each team worked in silos with limited collaboration or even visibility of their peers’ work. It took time to plan, coordinate and advance business decisions, but silos led to specialisms and often employees developed niche skills they maximised throughout their career. Nowadays, agility and collaboration serve customers better and outputs are reached quicker when teams work seamlessly across verticals. According to Callum Wilde, a Senior Consultant in TEKsystems’ Core Development team, customers are seeing the benefit of true collaboration, often reflected in their tech demands for multiskilled workers. The emergence of full stack developers is one relevant example where organisations are increasingly looking to replace front end, back end and UX with multiskilled ‘generalists’ who can easily adapt to Agile’s demands. While there is still a place for experts, we expect to see more multiskilling and upskilling this year.
Blended workforce/flexible staffing
As customers continue to move away from traditional hiring methods, we can see a clear shift emerging towards the blended workforce. For certain types of IT projects, companies are looking towards flexible solutions that allow teams of temporary workers or consultants to augment their permanent workforce for the duration or part of a project. This unique blend can be cost efficient for businesses and enable better problem solving through access to specialist skills.
In the recent past, recruiting data engineering, AI or RPA experts may have been an ad-hoc task necessary for business growth. However, organisations are now looking at how these skills can become integrated into their flexible workforces of the future.
What are the most in-demand skills?
The net impact of these trends is that to truly stay ahead in their field, firms must continue to evolve not only how they hire, but also what skills they hire.
We anticipate that IT demand will not slow down this year, and the need for multiskilled or full-stack software engineers, cloud engineers and data scientists will top the leader board for the most in-demand IT skills of 2020. If you work in the IT industry, it’s time to start thinking about how to get ahead and remain relevant this year. If you are a business, pay close attention to the hiring strategies you must deploy to win the war for this talent.
The demand for diversity-based hiring practices will also take centre stage this year with an increasing awareness emerging that the male-dominated engineering teams of old are vulnerable through lack of diversity. The culture of ‘brogramming’ is severely limiting progress in the modern IT world, and actively addressing this diversity gap is essential.
As the IT market continues to develop with new disruptive technologies emerging year-on-year, it has never been more important to have a finger on the pulse if you work in IT. Customers are looking for quicker, better, faster approaches to solving their problems, and in the absence of robots and AI, they still very much require the soft skills of a talented, multi-skilled human workforce.