2020 has taught the whole world that we should make predictions cautiously. The ability to quickly adapt to a new reality opens opportunities for development that were hidden during quiet times.
A year of COVID-19 boosted the IT market. Businesses of all areas, both globally and in Ukraine, faced shortages of IT solutions, e.g. for remote customer and online services of all directions (health care, banking, retail, etc.). Therefore, the demand for IT specialists has skyrocketed among large businesses and start-ups.
Anna Stetsenko, the founder of INDIGO Tech Recruiters, spoke about the upcoming trends in the hiring market.
1. Remote work is a new standard
Even conservative businesses that used to refuse this idea (for example, because of the fear of a productivity decrease) were forced to try out remote work. They realised that, with the proper organization, the possibilities are even bigger: particularly when it comes to savings and flexibility. It also opened up new opportunities to attract professionals: it turned out that it is possible to employ specialists literally beyond borders. In the IT industry, global recruitment has been developing more actively. Businesses are adapting all HR processes for remote work: recruiting, onboarding, training, etc.
Specialists are getting more interested in working remotely. People are often looking for possibilities to work from home out of concern for their health or because they just want to be more flexible: the number of digital nomads will increase. And even candidates who miss personal communication with a team still prefer a flexible format when they can work in the office and from home.
In large companies, a new position has emerged—a remote office manager (for example, in Facebook and GitLab), and remote project coordinators are more in demand.
The gig economy and other means of flexible employment have been developing actively. The number of temporary employees and freelancers in teams is growing. Business is forced to react to market changes and the needs for specialists are changing quickly too. Therefore, specialists are more often employed to participate in short-term projects or complete a particular task. Platform solutions for remote work with freelance specialists are being developed. More and more companies are concluding that they do not want to miss out on experts just because they refuse to work in the office.
2. Big Bang of IT job opportunities
The demand for IT specialists is increasing rapidly. For example, according to grc.ua, in January 2021, the number of CVs was 30% higher than the number of vacancies. On the anonymous job search website for IT specialists Djinni, in December 2020, the number of candidates and vacancies was the same—about 15,000. In March 2021, there were twice as many vacancies as candidates: about 20,000+ and 10,000+, respectively.
It also stimulates salary growth (according to recruiters, by 20–30%; for comparison, in the years before the coronavirus crisis, the annual growth was 10–20%).
The hottest IT careers:
- Data Science
Big data engineering
IoT (Internet of Things)
AI & ML (Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning)
- Digital marketing
There is also growth in such areas as game development, gambling/betting, health technologies, digital marketing, cloud services, e-commerce, entertainment, and education online services. Non-IT companies (e.g. banks, mobile, and retail companies) are also looking for technical specialists more actively because they are developing digital directions.
The fight for specialists is getting more intense. It has become harder to hunt for experienced specialists because employers are more likely to propose counteroffers to outbid new offers. It lengthens the hiring process if budgets are tight and inflexible. In businesses, the focus is shifting: not being able to quickly hire specialists available in the market, they pay more attention to the retention, development, and growth of their teams, implement more job rotations, and start internship programmes. The success of team retention is also influenced by how businesses behaved during challenging times: whether they found an opportunity to retain bonuses and helped employees to adapt to remote work.
As a result, the demand for technical recruiters is growing. By our estimates, their number has grown 5.5 times over a four-year period. At the same time, the level of professionalism does not keep up with the number of specialists. For example, the satisfaction of hiring managers with the performance of internal recruiters is only 4.7 out of 10 (the data obtained from recruiting audits of INDIGO Tech Recruiters clients). Therefore, platforms, where experienced recruiters share their skills with rookies, are developing. For example, INDIGO Tech Recruiters opened a recruiting school in response to a direct request from the market. More than 100 students have already graduated from the school.
3. The number of IT specialists is growing (but not enough)
In Ukraine, the number of IT specialists increases by 20–25% annually. In 2020, there were 180,000 developers in the labour market. Considering the annual growth, by the end of 2021, the number will be about 225,000. However, this increase is not enough either: the demand of companies exceeds the number of available offers. Cautious optimism inspires a growing interest in the industry. For example, according to GlobalLogic research, the number of IT applicants has increased by 20% since 2018.
In general, the number of those willing to enter the IT industry has significantly increased around the world. For many people, it is an opportunity to find a job that will not disappear during the next lockdown. On the contrary, the world is going digital, and the demand for such professions will only grow. The interest is heightened by the opportunity to sharpen skills through self-learning and the variety of online courses and schools.
4. Training and retraining are in focus
Lifelong learning became a new norm many years ago, but now a real reskilling revolution is coming. During the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, the following data was announced: by 2030, a billion people will need retraining.
According to the Future of Jobs report, 94% of CEOs believe that their teams need to acquire new skills. On average, by 2025, employers are planning to offer retraining and further training programmes to more than 70% of their employees. This trend is also relevant for the IT industry.
5. Adaptation of compensatory packages
In addition to increasing financial rewards, companies are changing and complementing the compensation structure. Now, there are options relevant to remote work: for example, compensation for a workplace rent in coworking spaces and equipment for home offices, lunch delivery to home, and benefits for employees who have children (organization of online leisure activities for children).
Unlike many other industries, for which the COVID-19 crisis has been quite a blow, the IT industry will continue growing. This means that the competition will intensify. It will require even more effort from the employers to hire and retain their teams.