With an unemployment rate of 3.7% in the US in July 2019, filling much needed positions gets extremely difficult. Even tougher is the situation in the IT industry. The IT hiring market is highly competitive and finding the right talent gets more and more difficult, especially with an industry unemployment rate of 1.3% – which is even half of the US wide unemployment rate.  Recruiting qualified talent requires more creative ways of hiring in order to withstand the pressure of finding employees.

Since we are now more than halfway through 2019, let’s take a moment to reflect on the current status and emerging trends within IT hiring. What skills are most critical for employers to fill right now? What challenges do they expect to face this year?

Nearly one in three organizations plans to add to their IT staff this year, based on research from the IT industry marketplace, Spiceworks. According to the report, the top 5 IT skills organizations are seeking in 2019 are:

  • IT security/cybersecurity
  • Infrastructure hardware
  • End-user hardware
  • Networking solutions
  • Software deployment

And the top three IT challenges anticipated by organizations for this year are:

  • Keeping infrastructure up to date
  • Upgrading outdated software
  • Balancing IT tasks and improvement projects

IT departments are becoming more integrated and collaborative with other business areas. Companies aim to create new products and services in addition to improving the customer experience and boosting their revenue. The target is to align their technology purchases and strategies with these goals.

Hiring competition is fierce, and technology leaders turn to specialized recruiters for candidate leads when facing challenges. Recommendations and best practices for hiring candidates with in-demand skills include:

  • Expand your talent pipeline

Think outside of the box. Despite the IT workforce gap, there are still many smart, skilled, and motivated job seekers who are overlooked by traditional hiring practices. Companies can look for transferrable skills and an aptitude for learning quickly. Enlarging your pool of candidates by partnering with a work-and-learn program, like York Solutions’ Barriers to Entry program, which trains diverse talent for IT roles is one option for companies to search for talent outside of the typical hiring pool.

  • Use a flexible staffing strategy

Organizations can reduce costs and get immediate access to the expertise they need by engaging project-based consultants and other temporary hires. This allows IT leaders to find the skilled professionals to focus on key projects, without having to invest in a full-time employee.

  • Search for candidates with well-rounded skills

IT professionals who can combine technical expertise with soft skills are assets to an organization. These versatile qualifications help them liaison with other departments, such as marketing or operations. Business skills, such as critical thinking and analytical capabilities, are also desirable.

  • Be efficient and decisive

Candidates may be fielding several job offers, so companies need to make strong offers and move quickly. An overly long or complicated hiring process can deter top talent.

  • Look for aptitude, not perfection

Companies are learning that they may be missing out on great candidates by trying to find someone who meets every single qualification on their wish list. Instead, savvy organizations are looking for potential hires who have the essential skills needed for a role and an aptitude and willingness to be trained quickly.

Learn how the Barriers to Entry (B2E) provides organizations with a pipeline of new IT talent.