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Tech Recruitment: Challenges & Changes 2021


We can't get away from the fact we’ve had the guts of a year yoyoing in and out of various stages of lockdown with most businesses working fully remote for this period. Like other sectors, the permanent tech recruitment market was given a severe shock last March with most companies quickly putting hiring on hold.

For the second half of the year, from July to Dec, we saw the technology market slowly come back to life with businesses getting the confidence to resume the hiring they have put on hold.

Perm Tech Recruitment Trends 2021

Companies are now looking forward to planning their future recruitment (even if on a remote basis), which took some firms a few months to figure out, and with many still working on longer-term remote working policies and plans.

Remaining challenges include onboarding staff remotely and how to keep staff engagement and communication at the required level to drive key transformation, digital or product development projects alongside attracting passive talent.

Within our Technology recruitment team, all our verticals have seen an increase in activity since January. PMO has seen a big bounce back, while our Dev, Data and InfoSec teams have also seen a jump in activity in the first couple of months.

From talking with our clients, they expect to see this trend continue and the negativity and fear which caused the perm hiring activity to slow down seem to be gone with all firms expecting to increase their headcount across their technology teams this year.

What sectors are hiring tech talent?

In terms of sectors hiring tech talent since January, there has been a steady flow of new Tech & IT jobs coming in from existing and new clients. These clients mainly operate in:

  • Financial Services – alongside Cpl Finance we’ve been working with well-established names and new entrants – this has included payments companies and investment managers (front office-based trading firms).

  • Healthcare & Pharma – working alongside our Science & Engineering divisions who work with almost all the large pharma/healthcare companies in Ireland, we have seen these firms really ramp up their Digital Transformation programs with requirements for Solution Architects, Developers with specific skills, UX & UI, QA & Test.

  • Actual Tech firms - both large names and new entrants to the Irish market (through our IDA & our FDI team) are hiring software dev, android dev, dev ops and architect roles at a steady pace.

How to attract tech candidates in 2021 and beyond

Overall, we are seeing salary levels in the Tech sector creep up and the pandemic has not really impacted this. What has changed is the demand for remote working options and policies.

Candidates are looking for more flexibility and those clients who do not offer this are finding it increasingly difficult to attract staff. As always, the best talent is passive and not actively applying to job adverts so to lure this talent away from their current employer there must be compelling reasons which can include:

  • Salary

  • Benefits

  • Interesting technology stack or projects

What's changed & what's challenging?

However, flexibility and remote working is now top of the list of demands from candidates. The recruitment process is also taking longer at the moment and we're seeing many employers add additional stages to their previous selection processes.

This is down to the fact that clients are finding it more challenging to make decisions based on remote interviewing. They want to know they are hiring the right talent making it increasingly important for candidates to really focus on connecting with the interview panel - which can be challenging in a video only interview format.

To counteract this, we’re finding clients are pulling more stakeholders into the interview process to get several opinions and buy-in on the selected hire.

Alongside Libby Kelly (Director – Technology Contract and Temp) I recently discussed these trends and more in a podcast on the technology recruitment market – contract and perm - over the last 12 months and then a look forward to the year ahead. Listen back in full here.

You can also download our 2021 Salary Guide which contains not just salary information but market intel, insights and some wider macro trends and information on the Irish market.

If you are hiring in the technology space or have any questions or thoughts you'd like to share please do get in touch, I'd be happy to advise.