Sourcing and Social

Doing More with Less in a Challenging Tech Hiring Market

At our relaunched Sourcing and Social event in May, we brought together TA professionals from across Yorkshire to discuss the challenges and strategies involved in hiring tech professionals in the current market. 

It was a fantastic event, and for those of you who weren't able to join us in the room I wanted to share the key takeaways. We had some fantastic discussions; shedding light on the post-pandemic market, challenges faced, salary concerns, maintaining partnerships, promoting diversity, adopting new tools, creating a recruitment culture, and weathering market fluctuations.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about future Sourcing and Social events, or you'd like to access the recording of the event, please drop us a line.

Navigating the Post-Pandemic Market

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the talent market resulted in a surge in demand for tech professionals after the initial halt in hiring we saw in early 2020. This year, we are seeing organisations returning to a sense of normalcy, there is still a pressing need to fill roles quickly, but the manic energy of 2021/22 seems to have abated. 

As a result of this, Talent Acquisition professionals are no longer happy to be viewed as just service providers; they are keen to add value to the business and form partnerships with key stakeholders.

Insights from Industry Leaders

Our panellists, from Jet2, MoneySupermarket Group and ASDA, shared their experiences and challenges in talent acquisition. 

Jet2, a budget flights and package holiday company, highlighted their growth trajectory after a period of right-sizing in 2022, with much of their focus now falling on data and continually evolving technology. 

MoneySupermarket Group, a financial services provider, are focused on maintaining a period of stability; they are retaining employees due to a reluctance to leave roles in the current climate. 

ASDA, one of the UK's top retailers, discussed their transformative project of separating from Walmart and the hiring difficulties faced during this process due to the sheer volume of contract resource needed to deliver the world’s largest retail change project.

Key Challenges in Leading a Talent Acquisition Function

You won’t be surprised to hear that one of the key challenges faced by TA leaders was salary demands for specialised technology roles – how to benchmark them and how to make sure you’re maintaining equity and fairness in existing teams. Something I know a lot of people are struggling with! 

The other challenges discussed included the need to hire quickly while securing the right talent, shifting from being order takers to strategic partners, re-educating hiring managers, establishing clear role allocation between internal recruitment and agencies, and building a hiring community to address power dynamics between TA and Hiring Managers.

Wage Inflation

The rapidly increasing salary demands in the market have made it difficult for Talent Acquisition professionals to hire at the desired levels.

To address this, many companies are utilising benchmarking tools to determine appropriate salary levels. However, there are limitations to the effectiveness of benchmarking when the market is moving so quickly – data can quickly become out of date and different organisations can have wildly different salary bandings, making it hard to get a clear picture.

To combat some of these challenges, Moneysupermarket Group have stopped asking candidates about their current salaries, allowing them to better maintain consistency and avoid undervaluing candidates. They want hiring managers to make a decision based on what the candidate is worth to the business, rather than based on another company's approach to pay scales.

The importance of not lowballing candidates at the offer stage was also emphasised to prevent future salary challenges.

Maintaining Focus on DEI in a Challenging Market

It was great to hear that the whole panel are still focusing on DEI, even in the current challenging hiring market. For example, Moneysupermarket Group continues to maintain their commitment to inclusive hiring and sourcing talent from multicultural backgrounds, using techniques such as diverse sourcing through workshops and utilising unconventional platforms like niche interest groups. 

Additionally, providing accommodations and a transparent interview process were highlighted as key to successfully bringing in more non-traditional candidates and creating a smooth onboarding experience.

Streamlining and Efficient Tools

Our panel explored the adoption of new tools and technologies to streamline the Talent Acquisition function. The clear message I took from the discussion was that no-one has this nailed yet and there is no one-size-fits-all bit of tech that all TA functions should be rushing out to invest in!

I particularly liked the idea of tech-inspired ways of working like utilising squads and using Kanban boards as effective methods to improve efficiency and collaboration. Speaking the language of the community you’re hiring in to seems to be a winning formula.

The tools we discussed were:

  • Textio – find hidden social bias in job ads 

  • Hackajob – “Tinder” for tech jobs! 

  • Loxo – ATS/CRM/Sourcing etc 

  • Horsefly – labour market analytics 

  • SparkToro – audience research 

Creating a Recruitment Culture

Establishing a recruitment culture across the organisation is crucial to encourage employees to become advocates for the company. Talent Acquisition professionals at ASDA take the initiative to participate in talks and networking events, building relationships to tap into a wider network of potential candidates. They are also encouraged to physically sit with their hiring community on one of the days they are in the office, in order to foster greater cohesion between TA and tech.

Jet2 maintains regular stand-ups with the hiring community and comprehensive training for new hiring managers to align expectations and foster a strong recruitment culture.

Weathering Market Fluctuations

Drawing from their experience in the tech market, our panellists offered two key tips for aspiring professionals:

  • First, they recommended attending industry events and networking to stay updated and connected within the field. 
  • Second, building strong relationships with colleagues in similar roles can provide invaluable support and knowledge-sharing during challenging times.

If you need help with your tech hiring please get in touch or find out more about how we support our clients to hire top tech talent.

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