How to Hire and Retain Tech Talent

Technology has changed the way the entire workforce functions. From the introduction of computers to more complicated functions, such as artificial intelligence, entire industries are beginning to adapt to the advances of technology. Soon enough, talented tech workers are going to be required by companies in order to manage these developments and the evolution of companies.

Finding these talented individuals, and subsequently retaining them, will become the number one priority for any company attempting to stay relevant in the future. To that end, it is important to look at a few main points. Specifically, who to identify for sourcing and where to find them at now. From there, the conversation can turn to beginning to understand what it will take to retain this top tech talent. On that note, let’s first examine how to find certain talented individuals.

Experience vs. Education

One of the oldest debates when hiring is whether or not to prioritize experience over education. On the one hand, industry experience can be invaluable in certain situations and jobs, whereas raw education is sometimes better in other positions. As Spark Hire covers, there are a number of factors you should look for when identifying potential talent. Some of the most important traits you should look for, especially for tech workers, is adaptability and an ability to learn.

To that end, you need to look at what positions you are trying to hire for. There are certain tech jobs that are quite extensive and industry experience would be a better reliance than pure education. For example, full stack developers are responsible for building websites and maintaining the front end and back end functions of those sites. Fresh graduates aren’t likely to have the skills needed to excel in this job, whereas an industry professional does. 

In an ideal world, the perfect tech employee will have an equal balance of education and experience, but people with this trait are difficult to locate. The choice is really yours when it comes to which factor is prioritized. Successfully hiring talented tech employees, however, will require examining the career you are hiring for and an understanding of the job functions encompassed within that career. Regardless of if experience or education is your ideal factor, there are sources for both that can lead you to talented potential employees. 

Trade Schools vs. Traditional Institutions

Let’s start by assuming you have chosen experience as your ideal requirement when looking for talented tech employees. Trade schools are a form of education that has been overlooked by employers for years but is a great way to identify talented individuals. Unlike a college or university, trade school educations can often be completed in under two years, even one year in some cases, and offer specialized courses that prepare students for one career. 

What makes trade schools such an appealing option for recruiters looking to find experienced individuals is that the trade school demographic is usually made up of older employees who already have industry experience. In a survey, it was found that younger students do not view trade schools as a lucrative path even though 27 percent of trade schools graduates earn more money than their university counterparts. More mature workers looking to launch a new career in technology typically attend trade schools, which makes them a unique and strategic choice if the experience is what you desire when hiring talented tech employees.

As far as education goes, however, it is difficult to beat a traditional university or college. Trade schools offer a crash course in career paths but are only able to do so because their students are often familiar with the basics of those industries. Colleges and universities offer a longer, but often more extensive education. To that end, if you have training programs in place for new employees in tech positions, hiring directly from traditional institutions may be a better choice for sourcing tech talent. 

Factors Needed to Retain Tech Talent

Assume for a minute that you have now found the perfect tech team, regardless of where you sourced them from. There would be nothing worse than expending all that time and all those resources just to have your employees leave for a competitor who offers better jobs. After acquiring talented tech workers, your priority should shift to retaining those workers at all costs. To that end, the name of the game is competitive benefits.

For the most part, even older tech employees are still young when compared to the rest of the workforce. Put simply, they are usually a Millennial or Gen Z, which means they have different perceived needs than older members of the workforce. First and foremost, competitive salaries are a must for retaining tech employees. As discussed earlier, full stack developers have a wide array of job functions, but the salary of a full stack developer matches those extensive tasks. 

Besides high salaries, tech workers typically desire benefits that promote their personal wellbeing. Inc. covered a survey where 30 percent of respondents stated that financial wellness programs were the most important and 32 percent said tuition reimbursement initiatives were the most important. Clearly, young and new tech employees have different needs than older members of the workforce, and the key to retaining these employees will be offering the benefits they desire. If you don’t, someone out there will and you will lose the talent you worked so hard to acquire. 

Conclusion

The fact that highly-skilled tech workers will be valuable to the future of work is an indisputable fact. Identifying talented individuals who can be sourced now is the best way to get ahead of the competition and develop an impactful team that can carry your company into the future. Hiring and retaining this talent starts with specifically determining who you are looking for as an employee. Once that is done, there are numerous sources for grooming talented tech individuals, but the real trick is keeping them around with dynamic and attractive benefits. Hiring and retaining tech talent will be the only way to survive in the future of work and should be the top goal of any company.