The 2020 pandemic has forced hiring teams across industries to ramp up their acquisition models in order to meet the ever-evolving challenges thrown up by the new norm of remote work.

The role of technology and communication tools has become vital in this new way of working.

COVID-19 has shaped the demand for specific disciplines and skills across the IT job market. As a result, the industry is witnessing a significant change in hiring practices across the globe.

Hiring policies in a post-COVID-19 world will depend on how swiftly different sectors scale-up and transition from traditional practices to digital, while focusing on ways to enhance team collaboration and productivity.

Companies that undergo digital transformation must stay afloat and on top of the game, which is only possible by hiring qualified IT employees. Given how quickly the digital realities took over the way businesses work, most (if not all) industries will see a huge demand for employees with skills in tech.

A recent survey of IT leaders by the Consumer Technology Association found that technical skills are going to be a candidate’s secret weapon in a job market that’s getting only more competitive. In fact, finance and industrial companies are hiring more developers than software companies!

As the demand for technical talent gains momentum, it’s important to understand the key trends that will shape the hiring processes in tech so you’re better equipped both as a recruiter and a candidate.

Here’s a quick look at the top hiring trends that will dominate the tech industry in 2021.

Top 5 Hiring Challenges Unique to Tech Industry

A compilation of the best jobs of 2017 reveals that tech roles score highest when it comes to postings, salary and growth opportunity. But recruiters say that skilled tech talents are hard to find and slippery to catch.

According to CNBC, there were 700,000 unfilled tech roles in the US as of June 2019. Competition is fierce, and every other recruiter or company is after them.

Of course, there are many challenges individual to a company’s experience. Here are the top 5 challenges faced by a tech recruiter, according to a survey by CodinGame.

  • Finding the right candidate
    Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 1.4 million computer science-related jobs will be open in 2020, with only 400,000 candidates with computer science degrees available to fill these positions.

    The IT industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the skillsets required to keep up are also evolving very quickly. There aren’t enough candidates trained in the tech field to keep up with the changing demands of the profession. The main reasons for this are - lack of opportunities to upskill, gaps in formal education, barriers to entry and ineffective hiring methods
  • Aligning with a company’s culture/ways of working
    More than 50% of executives say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates.
hiring trends unique to tech industry
Source: Robert Half International‌‌

This stands true for tech roles as well. Along with having to worry about the right skill sets, there’s also the angle of alignment of values, company culture, etc. While hiring managers and recruiters might not always be on the same page, both generally agree that the skill sets along with the right cultural fit are of utmost importance for a tech team to be productive.

These hindrances can also arise from within the company. For example, it’s important for tech recruiters to close positions quickly, to keep up with hiring targets. While hiring managers can be more interested in looking out for the right fit, making the hiring process longer.

When filling tech roles, the recruiters need to come together and collaborate effectively so that the hiring time is shortened, and you keep the right talent from going away somewhere else!

  • Recruiting within tight time frames
    Heard of the saying “The early bird gets the worm’? Well, it stands true for tech hiring too!

    In other words, the companies that act quickly, hire the best talent. Research says, about 50% of job seekers are impatient and agree to join the first job confirmation they get.

    All in all, it’s important to make sure that the tech hiring process is structured, and moves faster.

  • Identifying potential beyond degrees
    A survey found that almost 25% of developers entered computer programming from other fields—10% from completely unrelated fields, and almost 14% from other science fields such as math, chemistry, etc.

    This means that one-fourth of today’s professional developers’ paperwork would not reflect formal education credentials. As the job market moves towards valuing skills over degree, the tech industry sets a good precedent in hiring based on skills over degrees as an overall trend.

    That means even if candidates don’t have the perfect matching skillset on paper, their past experience speaks for the kind of worth they bring to the company.

    But there’s also a flip side to it. Candidates without traditional degrees but with many years of experience might not have kept up with the changing trends. In such cases, it is prudent to hire based on an intelligent assessment system.
  • Attracting the right candidates and retaining them.
    You're probably familiar with the "war for talent" concept. It means that because of the shortage of skills businesses are currently facing and employees' expectations, it becomes more challenging for businesses to retain top talent.

    According to available statistics, there are currently more tech jobs available than job seekers. In a situation like that, companies find themselves having to compete for the top candidates.

    Today, more than a third of workers are searching actively or casually for a job. As a result, US employers spend $2.9M per day looking for replacement workers. That's $1.1B per year.

    This creates an exception to what we discussed earlier. Because of the gap between this demand and supply of tech roles, an applicant does not have to take the first available job. They have the luxury to choose the job that fits their requirements best.

Top 10 Hiring Trends in Technology that will Dominate 2021

1. Expect a Surge in Hiring

According to a survey conducted by Fortune, 59% of CEOs implemented hiring freezes during the coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that the early months of 2021 will witness a hiring surge in almost 60-70% of organizations opening a lot of avenues for candidates to explore.

The surge in fact has already begun. To give an example, in the gaming industry, HackerEarth saw a 250% YoY increase in remote assessments and a 4,000% YoY increase in remote interviews conducted on FaceCode.

Recruiting teams need to be prepared for higher volumes, and will have to spend more time sourcing, screening, and interviewing talent moving forward.

Related: How To Use AI Assistants To Transform Your Business?

2. Remote Hiring is Here to Stay

Traditionally, recruitment in tech has stayed close to the headquarters. For example, Groupon has avoided hiring tech candidates outside of Chicago.
In fact, according to ChicagoInno it was one of the “bastions of tech hiring in Chicago” in its early years. But even they have seen a rise in remote hiring this year.

Tech talent has proven to be exceptionally well-suited for work-from-home, and because of a persistent skill gap, hiring that goes beyond geographical proximity is like a dream come true for many organizations.

According to a survey of hiring managers, 1/5th of the global workforce could be completely remote after the pandemic, largely enabled by remote hiring. Attracting tech talent becomes easy when you can hire literally from around the world.

Assessing them remotely has probably never been easier. Remote interviews will now remain the primary means of recruiting for the next few months, and most organizations won’t turn back.

3. AI for recruiting

Over 80% of companies today already use artificial intelligence (AI) in HR in one form or another. And so this year and beyond, more companies are expected to leverage AI in various HR processes.

AI for hiring means the application of artificial intelligence to make the hiring process more efficient. The technology can help companies streamline their recruiting workflow and high-volume tasks. Here are a couple of examples:

  • AI helps to improve Online Applications. One of the simplest ways in which AI can help your hiring process is with Applicant Tracking Systems. AI can sort and analyze a lot of information from recruiter databases with ease.
  • AI-Powered Recruiter Chatbots. AI-powered chatbots improve the candidate experience significantly. 67% of job seekers build a positive impression of a company if they get regular updates throughout the application process.

    Recruiters’ chatbots are quickly becoming the new way of first base communication. It helps by replying promptly to people applying for a job, thus keeping them engaged. The main aim of this process is to provide real-time interactions with the candidates by asking specific questions.

4. Hiring Assessments Are Moving Towards L&D and Continuous Learning

A recent study into career priorities found that workers rate learning new skills over the desire for a pay rise.  Learning and Development (L&D) exploded during COVID-19 and will continue to be an integral part of employee retention strategies.

Organizations are constantly looking for new digital tools to keep their workforce engaged. With the burst of productivity apps all over, companies are discovering new ways of keeping their workforce engaged.

This applies to the tech world too, where new languages, technologies and skill sets constantly evolve with the changing markets. For example, during mid 2019, Coursera had about 43 million users. Today, that number has shot up to over 73 million. The numbers give an interesting insight into the potential that L&D holds for Tech.

5. Skill requirement will take over traditional requirements

Companies like Apple, Google and Netflix give us a good cue about changing hiring practices- not every company is looking for a four-year college degree anymore.

Elon Musk, has reiterated many times that one doesn’t need a college degree for a job in his company.

Moreover, the White House recently signed an executive order that requires the federal government to prioritize hiring for skills over a college degree.

Since recruiting is becoming even more specialized, recruiters are moving away from degree-based hiring. Both candidates and recruiters should realize the importance of the skillsets a candidate holds during the entire hiring funnel. It can help hiring managers catch blips of potential in unconventional markers of skills.

Recruiters are using gamification in the hiring process to mark technical and analytical talent that suits the company’s requirements. A lot of companies are moving in this direction, allowing them to find candidates for specific positions.

6. Augmented Reality

Six years ago when Google launched its VR cardboard, people were still debating about its application. Fast forward to today, and Augmented Reality is the next big thing as it firmly sets foot in the IT industry.

AR for tech hiring trends
In 2020, 83.1 million consumers in the US were extimated to use AR monthly

As of now, AR technology is used to create experiences in areas like gaming, interior designing, the automobile sector, education, etc. As more industries adopt this experiential application in businesses, demand for employees with AR-specific skill sets will increase over the years.

7. Candidate Experience Now a Key Recruitment Factor

Candidate experience is a new word among HR resources. It is not only limited to the hiring process but also extends to the experience of people working in the organization.

According to a recent survey, a lengthy application process can cause 60% of your candidates to drop out of your recruitment cycle.

Candidate experience goes beyond just the hiring process. A study by Hay Group concludes that 70% of the candidates get turned off if someone else has had a bad experience with the organization and leaves a negative feedback.

8. Mobile Recruitment will Grow

Because of platforms like AngelList or Linkedin, there is a tectonic behavioral shift in the way people look for jobs. When it comes to the job seekers of today, a job search could be happening as they eat lunch or take a cab to the office while scrolling through job postings on their mobile screens.

Mobile recruiting as a hiring trend in technology 2021
Mobile recruiting is thriving, as job searches from mobile devices now exceed 1 billion per month.

Here are a few more stats on mobile recruitment :

  • 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile device
  • 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job-hunting process

Aligning with this shift, recruiters need to create job listings that have a mobile-friendly interface. Posting job vacancies on job search platforms is also a great way to gain visibility.

9. More Companies will Hire for Soft Skills

Deloitte in their 2021 global marketing Trends Report say something foundational about the way global market trends are changing:

“Organizations should be more human, and balance the business needs of efficiency and speed to market with human values to be able to respond quickly to the needs of their people.”

According to a study, the current skill deficit will grow around 29 million by 2030. With the much talked about skill gap taking shape in the tech recruitment industry, a candidate with all the right skills is indispensable.

It also mentions that at least two-thirds of jobs heavily rely on soft skills like communication and empathy. With a much-needed cocktail of skill sets needed to be a top tech candidate, soft skills are considered as necessary as technical or hard skills. According to LinkedIn, the following are the most in-demand skills in 2020-21:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional intelligence


The New York Times reports that according to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014.

As remote work becomes the new normal, identities, personal information, and devices of remote workers shape the new security perimeters. Since cybersecurity is evolving, hiring in this industry is growing three times faster than other IT domains. In fact, by 2026, the global cybersecurity market will likely be worth $270Bn as per reports.

Thus, it's safe to predict that cybersecurity will be a priority with many IT organizations, thus creating more demand for in-house cybersecurity experts.

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