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The State of Tech Hiring in the U.S.

Learn about what tech hiring looks like in the United States today, with a focus on digital job capacity, the overall impact of COVID-19, and how tech candidates are viewing remote work both now in and in the future. 

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Presenter: Chris Kessler (VP of Commercial Account Sales, Dice)

Dice is the top recruitment engine for tech talent today. For professionals in technology—from software engineers to project managers—Dice facilitates opportunities in career advancement. Their vision is to create an indispensable career marketplace to match the highest quality candidates with the right career opportunities.

As a leader in tech recruitment, Dice has issued the Dice Tech Job Report, which tracks hiring trends in the time of COVID-19. This report has followed the tech industry throughout COVID-19. Now that almost nine months have passed since the pandemic’s beginning, Dice has an authoritative repository of data on tech hiring in the USA today. 

An Overview of Tech Hiring in 2020

No one could have predicted what 2020 held in store. In Q1, it was mostly business-as-usual, with tech hiring at a steady incline (see figure 1). It was only around the end of Q1 (mid-march) that the USA announced its own lockdowns, which sent hiring on the decline.

Responding to the pandemic and global shut down, Q2 and Q3 both showed undeniable declines in hiring. However, this decline stabilized much more quickly than experts expected (see figure 2). Likely this stabilization resulted from the rapid transition to a work-from-home model, which required IT professionals to facilitate the change. 

During Q2 specifically, unemployment for all occupations spiked in the US. April and May were particularly difficult months, with unemployment rates of ~15% and ~13% respectively (see figure 3). But again, while unemployment in tech also rose, it did so to a much lesser extent. In fact, tech hiring in April and May was almost 10% lower than general unemployment, with rates of ~4.2% and 3.9~ respectively (see figure 4). 

The conclusion? It seems that the tech industry promises significantly more stability in hiring and talent demand than other sectors. Therefore recruiters should be confident negotiating higher pay rates with clients, even in times of high unemployment. 

Tech Professionals & the COVID-19 Mindset

As a demographic, tech professionals have had a particular response to COVID-19. Unlike much of the workforce, which has dealt with unemployment, tech professionals have generally seen an increase in work since the pandemic’s beginning (see figure 5). 

According to Dice’s data, this increase in workload has led to shifting priorities for tech professionals. Post-pandemic, over 70% of tech professionals said that “remote work” is the most important factor when considering a job. A close second was “job security/stability” (~70%), with “company leadership” and “work-life balance” as runner-ups (see figure 6). 

This emphasis on remote work is key to attracting tech candidates in the future. Technologists cite “saving on the commute,” “easier commute,” “more comfortable attire,” and “control on the environment” as key personal benefits to working from home. Professional benefits include “easier to work,” “more relaxed approach,” and—interestingly— ”increased productivity” (see figure 7). 

Recruiting Tech Professionals Post-COVID-19

Professionals around the world have been talking about “the new normal” for months now. But no one has any clear idea of what the world will look like once the pandemic ends. For recruiters focused on tech candidates, however, Dice’s data lends two key pointers: <

  • Tech professionals will almost certainly be in consistent demand
  • Remote work is an increasing must for tech professionals 

In fact, Dice’s data reveals that less than 20% of technologists would want to work in an office 100% of the time (see figure 8). Therefore if clients want to attract top tech talent, they need to implement strategies that enable remote work permanently. 

To learn more about how Dice connects tech talent with recruiters and hiring managers, click here.

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