Amid Tech Talent War, Innovation A Casualty

Job search firm Indeed finds that, in the hypercompetitive world of tech talent, the winners are … the talent. Amid the casualties? Innovation, VP of Product Terence Chiu tells PYMNTS, and perhaps, further down the line, firms’ top and bottom lines.

Headlines dissecting the U.S. labor market remain focused on full employment, where all who wish to work are pretty much gainfully employed. But within one subsector — that is, tech — there’s a different trend afoot. The war for talent is escalating — so much so that the casualties may include the tech firms themselves.

In announcing the recent findings of a survey spanning more than 1,000 tech human resources and recruiting professionals, Indeed, the job site, noted that almost nine of 10 respondents said that it remains an ongoing challenge to find, and hire, the right tech professionals. And against that backdrop, another significant percentage, 75 percent, said that the length of time that it takes to fill the roles that have been open has elongated throughout the past three years.

The firm noted that almost all respondents within the $50 million–$100 million turnover range stated that they would indeed (no pun intended) be more innovative as enterprises if they could find the right, technically experienced personnel to fill the positions. Thus, innovation suffers.

In an interview with PYMNTS, VP of Product Terence Chiu said that the survey touched upon “a wide variety of companies” and noted that the smaller firms may lose out in the tech talent wars because they “may suffer from lack of brand” in comparison to their larger brethren (and marquee names such as, say, Google), and they may not have the scale and revenues in place to pay for top candidates.

Without the ability to attract the right tech staff, such as engineers, said Chiu, product development suffers, and a firm may be able to work, hypothetically speaking, on only two products, where more initiatives might eventually spur new revenues. Enterprises, said Chiu, may have people in place to fill open roles, but they may not be the right ones — in effect, they may be the “wrong type of talent.” And here, a slight majority of respondents have said that they hired tech workers who did not necessarily meet the requirements of the job description.

Chiu noted that the “challenge might not come just across tech companies” but instead could impact many companies in different verticals, such as retail, across the next several years. Simply put, staffing tech positions with less-than-ideal candidates might stymie efforts to develop technologies that automate processes and, by extension, improve cash flow.

As for efforts to get the right candidates into the jobs, the executive told PYMNTS that code challenges can help evaluate the appropriateness of an applicant, with 92 percent of respondents stating that such challenges can be helpful as hiring tools.