With the job market the strongest it’s been in 7 years, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 12.5% growth in IT employment through 2024, the future looks bright for IT professionals! While these projections point to a promising outlook for the IT job market, it’s important that job seekers and working professionals alike understand how these changes can potentially impact their job prospects in 2016.
Lisa Samson, a Director at ES Technology, a division of The Execu|Search Group, routinely provides job seekers with guidance on market trends and what to expect from employers throughout their job search. “One of the biggest changes job seekers can anticipate is having greater flexibility to negotiate with employers on the factors that are most important to them,” says Lisa. “In order to successfully traverse today’s marketplace, educating yourself by staying up-to-date on industry trends is one of the best ways to position yourself for success.” To take advantage of opportunities in the current market, Lisa recommends 3 hiring trends that IT professionals should take notice of in 2016.
- It’s a candidate-driven marketplace
Where employers once held most of the advantage, job seekers now have the opportunity to be more selective about the offers they receive and the organizations they work for. With greater optionality, IT professionals have the power to negotiate for what they are truly worth. For example, instead of assuming your prospective (or current) employer is giving you their best offer, job seekers should educate themselves on how much professionals in their specialty areas are being paid in their geographic location.
“Knowing exactly what you are looking to do, the skills you’d like to acquire, and the type(s) of roles that can help build certain skills, will give you the foundation to negotiate better in the current market,” highlights Lisa. In such a highly-competitive industry, the most successful professionals are the ones who can accurately articulate their skillset and justify their monetary value to an employer. “An inability to quantify or justify your value can have a direct impact on how much an employer is willing to pay for your skills,” warns Lisa. “As a result, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you are paid at market value.”
- Companies are utilizing a variety of hiring solutions
For IT professionals in today’s market, it can be easy to feel content with an employer that meets your needs. However, as candidates have gained more flexibility with the employers they can work with, understanding how the hiring landscape is changing and how to take advantage of these trends is essential. For example, The Execu|Search Group’s 2016 Hiring Outlook, which surveyed employers from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, found that 66% of respondents plan to increase staff headcount and compensation in 2016. More notably, approximately 30% of employers plan to increase their hiring of temporary/freelance staff. “If your employer is not meeting your needs and you have a very specific idea of what you’re looking for in one, start exploring your options,” advises Lisa. In addition, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible working schedules, training and development, amongst other amenities to make the decision easier for prospective hires. Therefore, the more educated you are on what employers are willing to do for top IT talent, the easier it will be for you to make the most informed decisions about your career moves in 2016.
- ‘Working Interviews’ are on the rise
One of the most recent trends taking shape is the concept of ‘working interviews,’ which allow both parties to evaluate long-term fit before making a longer-term hiring commitment. “This style of interview can be a win/win situation for both the employer and the job seeker,” notes Lisa. “While the employer can ensure the candidate would be a valuable member of the team, the candidate can showcase their skills, work on a variety of projects, and gain exposure to different aspects of the company. This can help you determine if the company is the right fit for your needs.”