Tech hiring in 2021: Predicting the important trends of the new decade
To borrow from the great Edison, just because something doesn’t do what we planned it to do, it doesn’t become useless. 2020 was one such year - a year for the history books which didn’t play by any rules. Yet, it will have an everlasting impact on the world that comes after.
For us in the tech hiring world, the year has been full of learnings. These changes are here to stay and we’ll see them rule our new ‘normal’ in subtle, but powerful, ways. To understand these trends better, we ran a global survey of tech recruiters and hiring managers, and asked them what they thought would be important factors while building the tech teams of the future. Below are the insights we gathered from our ‘State of Developer Hiring 2020’ survey report:
Skill-based selection will dominate tech hiring
According to a Fortune survey, 59% of CEOs enacted hiring freezes during the pandemic. Now as economies open up again, there will be a surge in hiring; with 60-70% of organizations predicted to be at pre-COVID-19 hiring levels by the beginning of 2021. With WFH still being the norm, tech recruitment in particular is expected to lean more towards geography-unspecific hiring, ensuring that skills - and not resumes - become the most important criteria while selecting a candidate. We saw this trend reflected in our survey as well, where 21.5% of the respondents said that they preferred skills over pedigree during hiring. To facilitate this skill-based evaluation, recruiters have also taken to adopting technology tools which can aid an objective, bias-free hiring process.
Developer assessment tools will become the go-to for tech recruiters
Our survey showed that about 47% of Indian recruiters who were not using a virtual assessment tool before COVID, have started to use one after the pandemic. This is a big step towards creating a seamless tech hiring model which celebrates true merit, which we see reflected in our user adoption as well. In Q3 2020, for instance, we saw a massive adoption of our developer assessments platform which assists in skill-based hiring. The use of our technical interview solution FaceCode, with its blind hiring feature, also increased dramatically. Overall, we have experienced a 250% YoY increase in remote assessments, and a 4,000% YoY increase in remote interviews conducted via FaceCode (Q3 2019 vs. Q3 2020).
Recruiters will place more emphasis on improving candidate experience and employee value propositions (EVP)
Following from the above, it also stands to reason that recruiters and hiring managers are more cognizant of candidate experience during remote interviews than before. An encouraging trend we see from our survey is the uptick in managers who prefer coding interview tools over other methods. Pair-programming tools - where the interviewer and interviewee can work on a piece of code together - have edged out the infamous whiteboard interviews for good.
Recruiters are also more aware of developer interests and have made efforts to incorporate these into their revamped EVPs and communication strategies. Flexi-work and health insurance have been added to the list of company benefits, along with increased opportunities for learning and development. We know from our users that platforms that help create guided training and upskilling initiatives on an ongoing basis will be in demand in 2021.
Diversity hiring will stay in the spotlight
Tech hiring is famously riddled with biases. In India, while the percentage of women studying to become engineers has gone up to 40%, the statistics are still dismal when it comes to critical roles. More women are employed as software testers than in core coding jobs for instance, due to an inherent bias relegating women to low complexity jobs.
Thankfully, there is a heartening shift among tech recruiters to challenge these biases. About 16.75% of respondents on our survey called out eliminating unconscious bias as a key issue during sourcing, which shows that they are aware of the problem and are actively working towards tackling it.
Key Takeaways for Tech Recruiters in 2021
Organizations will be in a completely different hiring environment in 2021 than they were a year ago. As they face a surge in hiring to make up for lost time, they will have to do so while keeping candidate experience and value propositions at the forefront of their remote hiring process. There will be an added emphasis on geography-unspecific hiring, with a focus on an objective, skill-based selection criteria powered by virtual assessment tools. Finally, organizations will also need to look at creating a more robust and comprehensive upskilling and continuous learning program to keep remote employees engaged, and to keep their tech teams ready to tackle future challenges.