In the most dynamic sector of the global economy, the demand for talent is unrelenting. IT & communications (ITC) companies are creating new and unique types of roles everyday even as they continue on a hiring frenzy, driven by digitalization, the Internet of Things (IoT) and acceleration in the development of AI and robotics. This is putting tremendous pressure on nearly all kinds of organizations as they compete for developer, engineering and other STEM skills in support of their business.

What does this mean for your company? You’ve probably experienced the skills gap that’s plaguing the ITC field, even if this isn’t your core business. However, with most industries marching towards greater digitalization, just about every company is affected by the scarcity, whether the resources you need are professionals supporting infrastructure or creating customer apps. And in 2018, the skills shortage may worsen as spending globally in the tech sector is estimated to rise 5% to 7%, according to CompTIA.

Several key trends are leading to rising demand for high-skill workers. One of them being that tech companies all look at new opportunities to transform and move into the next big industry for them. This is putting pressure on the available talent pool, especially for newer skills in the areas of analytics, machine learning and AI.


what do workers want?

This competition has given workers more power not only in the compensation they seek but also the softer benefits of employment. According to the 2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research, a global survey of more than 175,000 working-age men and women in 30 countries, work-life balance and job security are the second and third most important considerations for choosing an employer, after the No. 1 criteria of good salaries and benefits. 

Work-life balance has been a hotly debated topic in the tech sector for some time, with publications such as Wired claiming that all the talk hasn’t really reformed the industry. However, among workers aged 25 to 44 (including Millennials), it is a highly cherished attribute of a good employer. That means to attract this group of workers — now the largest group among the four generations in the workforce — you have to create an employee value proposition that offers a balance work-life culture. And this idea should be lived and practiced by hiring managers, who are most responsible for ensuring a good balance for their employees.

Not only is this an attribute that affects talent attraction, but work-life balance plays an important role in retention, especially among women workers. In an industry that’s already struggling to achieve gender diversity in its workforce, the IT companies must take greater care to keep its female workers from suffering burnout as a result of a demanding schedule. According to our research, 49% of women in the sector say work-life balance is the No. 1 factor in deciding whether they want to stay with their current employer, a higher percentage than those who rank salary and benefits as the top reason to stay.   

While the perception of demanding work schedules may be a detractor, overall the ITC business is the most attractive among all sectors we surveyed. With 53% of respondents willing to work in this field, it leads automotive and fast-moving consumer goods (both at 50%). No doubt that one reason for its popularity is the perceived rewards of working for high-flying tech giants and startups. More than that, technology continues to become ingrained in our everyday lives, generating excitement for us as consumers and professionals at work.

However, our research also shows workers are somewhat intimidated by the sector. While it is ranked No. 1 in attractiveness, it is fourth among sectors in which workers feel they have the skills to participate. Just 38% say they have the abilities to work in ITC, regardless of the role. This perception may hurt the sector’s ability to attract good talent to fill non-technical positions.

Employers in the sector should keep this in mind and develop an employer brand strategy that speaks to as many types of workers as possible. Understanding what motivates each segment will help create messaging that’s inclusive and reflective of differing desires by job function, age, geographic location and gender. You can learn more by downloading the 2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research ITC Sector report here: