Do you remember this? Between May and June 2015, Uber carried out a coup, poaching a startling 40 robotics scientists and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. Alphabet’s Google is also a beneficiary of CMU computer scientists, though it gets its share of talent far more discreetly than Uber did.
But despite actions like these, more than 400,000 software engineering graduates entered the job market in the USA in 2020 alone. So is there really a shortage of software engineers in the US? Or are research firms that double as IT talent acquisition companies for software development jobs driving compensation packages and skewing the numbers?
Let’s take a closer look.
Confirmed: There is A Shortage of Software Engineers in the USA(And What It Means for Your Business)
Is there really a shortage of software engineers in the US?
In 2019, before the pandemic hit, CompTIA reported that the US had a shortage of roughly 918,000 software engineers in the talent pools. In light of this, it’s not surprising that some companies have acquired entire tech companies just to access their IT staff.
Research by McKinsey & Company also showed that data analytics and IT roles were two of the areas where businesses face a genuine threat in terms of skills gaps:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that software engineering job openings will grow 22% through 2029, compared to 4% on average for all other sectors, potentially translating to stiff competition for software developers and other IT talent.
Why is there a shortage of software engineers in the US?
Technology advancements over the last couple of years have driven an unprecedented demand for software engineers. Niches such as blockchain engineering, serverless computing, machine learning, and software application modernization that didn’t exist a few short years ago are now devouring software developers by the thousands each month.
It doesn’t help that the US barely teaches computer science in the way it should, as hardly any high school courses teach the subject or consider it rigorous enough to contribute to a student’s graduating credits. This perpetuates the skill set and developer shortage.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help either. To the contrary, it increased demand for cloud engineers, data analytics experts, and change management professionals with experience in the IT sector.
The US also grapples with high-tech talent turnover
Before the pandemic, there was another little-mentioned issue, though. A LinkedIn report showed that the US tech sector was already suffering one of the highest turnover rates of any industry at 13.2%.
One reason survey participants gave was that, as software engineering companies struggled to find more qualified talent, they heaped more responsibilities on existing IT staff. Unsurprisingly, burnout happened, and some professionals chose to exit the industry altogether, creating more vacant roles to fill for companies interested in hiring developers.
Why a Software Engineers Shortage is Bad for Business
Put simply, fewer engineers to fill critical roles means stiffer competition among businesses for competent IT talent. As a result, poaching might become an even bigger problem in the future, if the talent shortage persists. This could make it especially challenging for companies with fewer resources and less prestige than the likes of Google and Uber to retain talent.
The shortage of software developers and development teams can also mean delays in productivity, company growth, and recruitment processes. For example, it took companies ten more days in 2019 to recruit a qualified IT professional than three years prior, when it took 55 days to begin with.
Further, it took 69 days to fill a tech role in 2020, compared to 41 days of non-tech functions, according to an iCMIS report that surveyed 4,000 people (icims):
In response, many companies are lowering qualifying standards, even as they’re shelling out higher compensation packages to get and keep software development graduates or trainees. These high talent acquisition costs may not be workable for many companies, especially smaller companies that are the most sensitive to cost influxes.
What can you do now to win the war for tech talent?
Do any of the following IT talent shortage issues sound familiar?
- Candidates demand outrageous compensation packages you can’t afford
- Your software engineer shortlist candidates don’t bring enough experience to the table
- The candidates you’re able to recruit don’t have the formal education you’re looking for
- Candidates, new recruits, and existing IT talent don’t have all of the problem-solving or technical skills needed for your job
- You can’t seem to find a good mix of soft skills, decision-making abilities, interest, and technical expertise
- You’re interviewing people who have skills that were relevant 5-10 years ago, who aren’t necessarily able to keep up with the latest best practices in technologies such as serverless computing, web portal development, and interactive web design and development trends
If you’ve experienced these or other issues, you aren’t alone. These days, it’s tough to find software engineers with the right combinations of skills, and it’s almost impossible to fill an entire team with that kind of talent without burning through your IT budget prematurely.
So what do you do? One option is to hire a reputable software development company like Simpat Tech to boost your production capacity. Outsourcing software engineering lets you work with specialists, while also freeing up your core staff’s time to work on higher priority issues. Not only does outsourcing take the pressure off your recruitment efforts, it can be more cost-effective than hiring FTEs for your IT department.
Unfortunately, with computer science and related jobs set to increase significantly over the next decade, demand for competent software engineers will only continue to rise. Large companies and Silicon Valley recruiters have the prestige and deep pockets required to attract top talent that you may not be able to compete with.
Reach out to Simpat Tech for more on how to access a rich pool of IT talent for your specific needs, whether that’s anything from developing custom software to integrating SaaS products — no recruitment hassles required.
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