som3 Ops Director Neil Bryers’ current outlook on the market

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We’re past halfway through 2022 when it only seems like yesterday people were wanting to leave 2020 behind after covid, lockdowns and furlough. 2021 certainly wasn’t the panacea people were hoping for with more lockdowns and restrictions, but the tech sector was pretty resilient shifting focus to remote working and software based workarounds. So how has 2022 been so far in the UK then? We have managed to get back on planes, travel and have holidays although there have been issues at the airports, but with Russia invading Ukraine, Partygate, the cost of living increase and now an election race to replace Boris, it’s all been a bit bonkers!

On perm, salaries have gone through the roof to what most business owners consider an unsustainable level. Companies have put up their prices to cope and even recruitment fees are on the rise. Finding good people in tech has never been so challenging. Counteroffers are rife as companies know that to recruit new talent to cover attrition will cost them significantly more. We had one candidate offered £95k and after a series of counter offers back and to the candidate finally moved to his new job on £165k!

Software Developers remain in peak demand as do DevOps Engineers with some companies refusing to pay their extortionate salaries in the UK and instead making a move back to offshoring which had definitely become less fashionable. Many Developers and DevOps candidates have seen this as an opportunity to go contracting meaning the candidate pools on perm are even smaller. Companies are trying to counter this with comprehensive and attractive benefits packages to lure would-be contractors back to perm with everything from sign-on bonuses to paw-ternity leave – yes that’s paid time off in addition to holiday to welcome your new cat/dog/fur-baby into the family!

From a recruiters perspective, with all these new benefits and with companies’ focus on internal candidates to develop talent, it can feel like all the perm candidates are hiding. Gone are the days when you put an advert out, got peppered with response and sent a short list of 3 ideal cvs. Some ads get zero response and its all about head-hunting and pulling passive candidates out of their comfort zones. It is definitely a candidate driven market at the moment with way more roles on offer than candidates to fill them, which is not a bad thing as this adds value to the recruiter’s proposition. Although some companies are sticking to their guns on budget which protracts time to fill roles and can lead to more of their staff leaving due to sharing the workload of their already departed colleagues.

We’re seeing some companies attempt to move their workforces back to offices which has been met with some resistance. There are some employees craving human interaction again but Developers in the main are standing and firm and wanting to stay remote. We think hybrid works best. Commuting costs are less than they would be full time and companies can rotate teams in the office which helps accommodate more staff and shelve any increased commercial property needs. At som3 we tend to work from home once per week and over the summer we’ll leave early to enjoy the sun, but that means we’ll be in earlier and adopt true agile working practices to ensure our customers see no drop in service.

Despite the scare mongering of recession we’re seeing no dip in requirements across the tech market. There has definitely been a surge in contract roles although they can be flaky, sometimes coming up and then being withdrawn. So what do hiring businesses and recruiters need to do to attract talent in 2022? It is quite topical that Top Gun Maverick came out recently as there is definitely a “Need for speed!” Pack up your red tape, be decisive and scrap any old or broken recruitment processes where everyone including the janitor needs to interview. To be successful you need to know what you need, turnaround cvs within 24-48 hours, interview at least initially on-line with any 2nd interview within a week and make your offer quickly in writing, because if you don’t your competition will and you’ll have to start again.

As I said its all a bit bonkers but at som3 we wouldn’t have it any other way as you need to partner with a recruitment provider that can act fast in today’s market, and that’s what we love!