The pandemic has turned IT recruitment from a pressure point to breaking point, writes Tom Moxon, head of Resourcing Services at IT Alliance.

The IT recruitment sector in Ireland and the UK has always been a buoyant and highly competitive market. Predominantly an employees’ market, companies are usually screaming out for highly skilled IT candidates and, at any given time, these candidates could be juggling multiple job offers.

That’s not to mention low unemployment levels, growth in the sector and ever-increasing competition largely from big multinationals. However, there was always movement within the workforce which helped to balance the playing field. Then Covid-19 hit and the market dynamics shifted dramatically.

“Like society as a whole, the recruitment market is changing. Timelines are extending and the pool of available talent is shrinking, making the landscape much more challenging”

Almost overnight, a lot of the headaches associated with recruiting IT roles eased. People stayed put or delayed moves, waiting for the dust to settle before changing jobs. And while some businesses in some sectors made cuts, for the most part companies just battened down the hatches and IT resourcing became less of an immediate priority.

Retention also became less of an issue and recruiters were dealing with a smaller pool of jobseekers, but that wasn’t much of a problem because there was such a significant reduction in terms of the amount of new hiring that companies were undertaking.

The good news is that the vaccination strategy in Ireland and the UK is starting to yield its intended benefits. The world can start to open up and return to whatever will become the new normal. Of course, this is brilliant and a great relief for everyone. There are green shoots of recovery and increased activity in the market.

As well as growing confidence in the market, investment and expansion strategies are back on the table, along with a significant number of IT projects which were previously on hold but have now been, or are about to be, greenlit. Again, this is an incredibly positive sign.

Demand outweighs availability

The challenge? While the market is gaining confidence and IT projects are making their way back onto the list of strategic priorities for businesses, the early indicators suggest that IT professionals themselves don’t currently share the same level of confidence.

“With leaders trying to get their operations back to what they were before the pandemic and laying the foundations of their future, time is also an issue – and as the old saying goes, time is money”

Their willingness to move or put themselves on the job market is still very uncertain. This means that the demand for IT professionals way outstrips the availability of these same professionals. In turn, this drives up the competition, which has a direct impact on the availability of skilled IT professionals.

This pending crisis will, without question, put IT recruitment at the top of every action list of CIOs and IT directors throughout the country – the reality being that the time to act is now.

So if you’re planning to or think you’ll be in the market for IT professionals in the next six months, you really need to be planning your demand management and resourcing strategy today.

Like society as a whole, the recruitment market is changing. Timelines are extending and the pool of available talent is shrinking, making the landscape much more challenging. Not only does this put pressure on organisations in terms of the resources they need to support the business, it impacts their ability to start IT projects which are key to digital transformation programmes and growth strategies.

With leaders trying to get their operations back to what they were before the pandemic and laying the foundations of their future, time is also an issue – and as the old saying goes, time is money.

Seeking professional advice can really help when it comes to recruitment, as it does in any aspect of business or life. By leveraging broader market experience and expert insights, it can help in terms of staying ahead of the competition and, perhaps even more importantly, enables organisations to find the right person for their specific requirements.

Of course, internal recruitment and talent teams have a crucial role to play, but the reality of this new and ever-changing landscape requires expertise.

The challenge of sourcing IT talent in Ireland has always been present but the pandemic has undoubtedly magnified the problem and the potential impact on businesses now of not being able to support digital transformation and innovation programmes has become so much more costly.

Man in blue suit with arms folded.

Tom Moxon, Resourcing Services Manager, I.T. Alliance Resourcing Services

Tom Moxon is the Head of Resourcing Services at IT Alliance Resourcing Services. As an experienced professional in the IT services sector in both Ireland and the UK, he has expertise in delivering IT contracting services, project solutions and talent-driven outsourcing for global brands.