Challenges human resource professionals at IT firms face in recruiting engineers and developers

The labor market’s dynamics today have evolved to a new level and nowadays, a degree of a labor shortage is present not just in Canada, but in other parts of the world too. Labor shortages in certain industries are acute. Employers have now shifted their focus from recruiting new employees to training and developing existing employees.

Paid apprenticeships are also being considered..

As per the statistics of the United States Department of Labor, there has been a rise of 70 percent in paid apprenticeships within the last decade, with almost 30,000 active programs in place offering various training programs, especially on-the-job training and learning.

These kinds of shortages also underline the need for adaptability and learning agility on part of employees. This indicates a willingness to learn new things and new skills.

Is the software, technology and information technology sector facing such shortages?

The tech sectors have been facing their own mounting labor shortcomings. Such shortages have further been raised by the quicker digitization of processes and businesses, as well as technology’s penetration in commerce and retail. What is surprising is that the latter industries were never driven by technology at any point in time.

While expressing their frustration over finding the right talent (especially when they wish to hire app developer), business leaders working at various technology companies in specific terms classify strategic projects (like digital marketing, app & software development) requiring the development of new code and updating existing programming code to add new features. 

Other factors contributing to talent shortages are the transferability and adaptability of skills to other companies and industries. These kinds of dynamics have led employers to run after the same kind of tech employees across different business sectors and industries.

Soft Where?! A cynical term used in such kind of a situation

There exists a term that cynically describes a situation. Here, it describes the situation when human resource professionals find it hard to recruit software engineers and developers. That term is ‘Soft Where.’

Numerous findings from human resource professionals from a mobile app development company based in Oakville are concerning. They reveal that almost 60% of human resource professionals consider challenges in hiring software developers and engineers to be a potential threat their companies face.

Last year, the United States of America had an estimated 1.4 million job vacancies for software developers and engineers. The number of graduates available in computer science and engineering was 400,000.

What are tech executives most worried about?

Numerous executives have expressed their concerns that the difficulties they are facing in hiring developers are a challenge greater in magnitude, as compared to accessing financial capital needed for growth. Moreover, with the market being difficult, it exhibits the type of challenges recruiters and talent acquisition professionals face.

According to numerous companies and their management executives, among the factors exacerbating this challenge is a concern for their current software developers’ efficiency and the potential impact it can have on the development of new products.

A lot of business leaders cite software code’s quality, as well as time spent on fixing legacy codes as a threat to launching new products successfully.

Shortage of talent is directly proportional to shortage of skills

Research conducted among tech executives reveals that 77% of senior executives in the USA plan to hire new recruits in tech sectors. Also, 51% expressed difficulty finding employees with correct skills. 16% say a rise in competition makes recruiting developers a challenging task.

It also explains the way digital transformation and technologies will earn a considerable amount of capital investment. This thus raises the need for having flawless software developers in the labor force.

In comparison to other roles, it takes recruiters more time to hire tech workers. Why? because their skill sets and portfolio need evaluation. Meaning, it takes approximately eight weeks longer than usual to find the right candidate, especially software engineers. 

CIOs across various tech firms are worried. They explain that this kind of talent shortage has a negative impact on innovation. It also hurts organizations from effectively competing in the market.

There is another aspect to this scarcity that is not related to talent recruitment. It is related to the scarcity of skills that are in demand. Newer technological developments are hence prompting the creation of new skills in software development, fueling the scarcity of much needed and in-demand skills.

Transformational technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and cybersecurity are newer technologies. These technologies need advanced skills which only a handful of professionals have. This leads to the creation of roles that are numerous and hard to fill at times.

Some companies are lucky enough to find the needed applicants in the right amount for their software job openings. However, there are times when companies are unable to see applicants with the specific skill sets they are looking for.

Why does this happen?

Why does the latter phenomenon happen? It is because certain software products require unique skills for the new nature of their technologies.

In such situations, human resource teams across various tech companies prefer the development of skill mapping tools. This can be used for screening candidates when they are tested and interviewed. When job applicants are being screened, it should be understood that Job Titles simply do not explain what the job is about.

Can job titles be problematic?

For instance, let’s consider a front-end engineer. There are many different frameworks a front-end engineer might work with and among them are Angular, React, VueJs, Vanilla JS, and the like. But, all of this is mired and buried only in the job title.

When these skills are used as building blocks for careers and as bargaining chips by recruiters, they are thus able to find people with the needed skills. This hence ensures that the candidates interviewed by companies are thus suitable fits for the job.

The problem with job titles is that they are usually not enough to help inform candidates about what is needed from them for the job. Each firm has its own kind of job description for the same job title. Why? Because they require different things to be done as per their market and business objectives. At times, there are often some key skills that have huge variations from job titles.

What have talent acquisition teams expressed to curb this shortage?

Recruiters have expressed index in making the Skills similarity index. It will help them examine which coding methods are meeting their requirements. The index is helpful during the implementation of newer technologies. The skills of new applicants are closely evaluated too.

Keeping up with client expectations

As technology evolves, so does the need of customers and their tastes, including client expectations and behavior. Hence, businesses should adopt new technologies and adjust to the evolving needs of their clients.

This impacts existing technology products along with their functionality. This often results in products needing re-configuration. Changes to product configurations in the technology sector can result in changes to the core system.

A new pattern in modus operandi of Human Resources

The skill sets required for job openings at numerous technology companies can be organized. They can be compiled in a file known as a skill set index. What it does is that it helps match the skill sets of job applicants against those needed by companies for their vacancies. This helps them find the right employee for the right job.

This hence clarifies that filling out job application forms and bombarding resumes in each company is no longer effective today. 

Why is it so? It is because this method does not display an applicant’s skills and knowledge properly.


In a labor market facing tightening due to economic and technological pressures, there is a scarcity of talent. To overcome this, the adoption of technologies that can automate skill matching to job descriptions and applicant profiles will be key to finding, hiring, and retaining the best talent.

Osama Ahmed
Osama Ahmed


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