Kevin Walker, Director of Employer Insights at Indeed, talked about the challenges of attracting talent—specifically, skilled technology talent.
At the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2016 Human Capital Leadership Forum held on March 2 in San Francisco, Walker pointed out that the greatest economic inflection points of the last 200 years were driven by technology that either made the world better or changed the way people work together.
In 2016, the Internet of Things is this inflection point. This dramatic change in technology has created some significant changes in the labor market. “We’ve identified a handful of trends impacting how people find jobs around the world. The first trend we identified is that in the US and other industrialized nations, every company is becoming a tech company,” said Walker. According to a 2015 study by Stack Overflow, most software developers don’t work in software firms. Only 25% work in jobs in which they develop software products. The rest work across a variety of industries and occupation areas, indicating that companies of all kinds need this kind of tech talent to operate and innovate. In the U.S., this trend is even more apparent. In an analysis of 1.5 million software developers and programmers, Praxis found that only 7% work for software firms.
“In the U.S. and other industrialized nations, every company is becoming a tech company. Only 25% of software developers work in jobs in which they develop software products. The rest work across a variety of industries and occupation areas, indicating that companies of all kinds need this kind of tech talent to operate and innovate.”
In the U.S., the hardest positions to fill include Support Associate and other high-demand technology-related positions. “The skills shortage in technology is here, it’s real, and it’s not going away. To fill this gap, we can either educate people in the U.S. or bring people in from overseas,” said Walker. “There’s a real challenge facing us in terms of our education and immigration policies when it comes to building this natural resource of skilled technical labor.”
One of the main trends in this area that Indeed has identified is that full-time jobs are being replaced by more flexible alternatives. “We recently conducted a survey in the U.S. to understand what matters to the modern job seeker, and we found that after pay and location, 51% said flexibility is the most important requirement,” stated Walker. “Even candidates in highly specialized roles are increasingly working remote; 29% of software developers surveyed work remotely, at least part-time, which is up 21% from 2015.” This flexibility is also key to filling roles with people working outside the country.
Related to flexibility is the mobility trend. Often, the most mobile job seekers are the country’s most highly skilled workers. In 2015, Indeed did a survey of job search behavior and discovered that 8.1% of workers around the world were actively looking for jobs abroad, and 6.6% of people in the U.S. were looking for work abroad. Internationals are much more likely to look for tech jobs in the U.S. than are Americans, said Walker. One way to meet this challenge is to think about how U.S. companies can migrate with talent to attract them.
Often, the most mobile job seekers are the country’s most highly skilled workers. In 2015, Indeed did a survey of job search behavior and discovered that 8.1% of workers around the world were actively looking for jobs abroad, and 6.6% of people in the U.S. were looking for work abroad.
Throughout history, the location of natural resources has determined the location of jobs. “This has changed. Now, where the people go, the best and smartest companies go,” said Walker. “This is a complete reversal of history. It used to be that people moved to work for a particular company. Now companies open offices where the tech talent is. One quarter of the world’s educated population resides in just 100 cities that represent only 11% of the world population,” said Walker. Companies are in a constant state of pursuit to follow where the talent moves next.
ABOUT KEVIN WALKER:
As Director of Employer Insights at Indeed.com, Kevin Walker works directly with employers to deliver actionable insights through recruitment data analysis, best practice sharing and industry trend exploration.
Prior to joining Indeed, Kevin spent time in the hospitality and technology industries. He holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Washington and a Masters of Business Administration from Booth School of Business at The University of Chicago.