The keyword phrase in our title is “right now.” Because while technology hiring has been strong, there’s some worry in the air. We’ve recently seen consistently high inflation, fluctuations in private equity funding, and rising interest rates. But does that mean we’ll experience a recession? And if so, how significant will it be?
A quick look at today’s headlines doesn’t really answer those questions. There’s “2023 US recession now expected to start later than predicted” and “A recession might be coming. Here’s what it could look like,” among many others about the delayed start or possibility of a recession. No one—even the brightest economists—seems sure of anything.
In technology, we’ve seen “Big Tech” layoff 200,000 workers over the past few months, blamed mostly on economic uncertainty and overhiring from the past few years, but how many of those are actual technology professionals? Most estimates fall in the 25% to 50% range. Not quite as alarming, but still noteworthy.
In response to the question, “Do all of the layoffs in Big Tech mean the talent crunch is over,” Mbula Schoen, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, responded with, “The tech talent crunch is far from over.”
In fact, according to a recent Gartner poll:
- 86% of CIOs reported more competition for qualified candidates.
- 73% worried about IT talent attrition.
Tech job postings are also trending up again, and when focusing on the long-term future, the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to project employment in computer and information technology to grow 15% from 2021-2031, which is “much faster than the average for all occupations.”
“Here at Medix Technology, particularly in healthcare and insurance, we’ve seen a fairly consistent overall demand for technology talent,” said Jeb Corley, Vice President of Information Technology. “Many of our clients have discovered a need for talent flexibility as they take on technology projects designed to produce ROI now, amid some degree of economic uncertainty. That’s been one of the biggest shifts in our clients’ needs.”
For more on the current technology labor market as it relates specifically to healthcare, check out our infographic: “Technology Labor Market Update: A Shift in Demand is an Opportunity for Healthcare”.
Despite the muddled economic outlook, there’s still a relatively strong demand for high-end technology talent, particularly in cloud architecture, data engineering, ERP development, and microservices. While candidates might not have the leverage they enjoyed over the past couple of years, and many companies are hiring with more caution and intent, there’s an even-ish push-pull in the marketplace. In this scenario, employers must continue to be in tune with what candidates want from work.
What Technology Professionals Want from Work
- Opportunity to Move to New Industries: Recently, after Big Tech’s layoff run, 83% of technology professionals said they would be open to moving to the healthcare industry, which is repeatedly mentioned as the most stable, recession-proof industry. It remains ripe for digital transformation with electronic health record and ERP software initiatives, health informatics, data security, and technological efforts to reduce clinician burnout, piquing the interest of technology professionals.
- This newfound level of openness in candidates applies to other industries, too, at least to a degree, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. As more companies invest in technological transformation, they will need internal staff to maintain, secure, and scale technology systems and offer ongoing support to end users.
- A (Partial) Return to the Office: Roughly 60% of technology workers have little to no desire to return to an office full-time, yet over 90% of all workers do not want to return. As if the 30% difference isn’t enough, the numbers also debunk the myth that technology workers are the most introverted and least likely to visit the office. According to this data, that is simply not the case. This illustrates why it’s important to listen to candidates and look at credible data instead of making assumptions.
- It’s worth noting that if you’re recruiting exclusively for on site, hybrid, or remote positions, you’re limiting your candidate pool and may want to be more open. For example, we have clients who were able to hire the talent they needed—difficult-to-find “Analyst Three” positions to manage a transition from legacy applications to new applications—by looking beyond their local markets. Instead of solely offering traditional hybrid roles, which might mean a 50-50 split between being on site and at home, these clients hired remote workers who fly in once a month for team-building efforts and to build in-person relationships.
- Work-Life Balance > Pay: Over the past several years, the entire professional workforce has trended this way. In many surveys, work-life balance is the most important factor in a job, and pay is second. Here at Medix, we’ve noticed this trend is stronger than ever. While rising pay remains paramount in job candidates’ decisions, especially when there’s a 20%+ gap between two options, work-life balance has been a frequent conversation topic. Perhaps it’s because technology workers have traditionally been paid well. There’s a prevailing thought from many: “I’m going to be paid well no matter what; I need the pay and the flexibility to live my life outside of work.”
- Project-Based Work + Independent Consulting Work: When analyzing our talent pool, the interest in project-based work and independent consulting work is ramping up. We’re hearing it straight from the candidates; they enjoy the flexibility and generally higher pay that comes with it. Some of these individuals have full-time jobs but want to supplement their income and grow their skills through part-time consulting work.
- Oftentimes, our candidates who have worked full-time, permanent jobs for a decade plus are burning out and looking to short-term projects. In most cases, these candidates also possess strong soft skills—particularly adaptability, communication, and confidence—which are fitting for technology projects that require quick integration with existing teams.
It’s easy to imagine that the combination of economic uncertainty and Big Tech’s layoffs would flip the switch, making the supply of technology talent greater than the demand for it, but that’s not the case. Demand remains relatively high, particularly for experienced, flexible candidates who are ready to shift from the traditional technology space to industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. It remains important to not only know what they want from work, but also to deliver it.
To learn how Medix Technology can support your team, get in touch with us today.