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If you're looking to hire engineers for your team, here are some ways to beat the competition and find the talent you need.

How hard is hiring right now? If, like me, you’re hiring for tech talent, you’re probably looking at every potential vacancy like it’s a mountain to climb.


According to the Robert Half 2022 Salary Guide, 96% of tech leaders agree that finding strong engineering candidates is a challenge. This is likely due to there being more open roles than unemployed people (despite the onslaught of layoffs we see on LinkedIn). ONS data shows that the number of job vacancies in April to June 2022 rose to 1,294,000, while the unemployment rate has remained below pre-covid levels.

Throw in the waves of discontent that have led to the Great Resignation and you have an environment where we’re losing staff faster than we can replace them. Tech companies know it, candidates know it, and when you’re struggling to deliver because you can’t hire the tech skills you need, clients know it too.

If you’re a tech leader who isn’t laser focused on improving your hiring strategies, you risk being left behind. So, what’s the situation with tech talent today, and what can you do to beat it?

Keeping up with rising salaries

If every tech business is trying to hire during a candidate shortage, who gets the best people? The ones offering the most favourable working conditions, of course.

Candidates are switched on to this with an army of recruiters and companies offering juicy salaries and ‘whatever else you want’ packages. Salaries across cybersecurity have grown 16.3% this year alone, with data scientists and DevOps engineers a close second and third at 12.8% and 12.2% respectively. Naturally, this leads to candidates expecting more and more.

So how do you keep up with rapidly rising salaries and huge bonuses, when you’re already running a tight ship while battling record levels of inflation and interest rates?

Candidates want more than money

As a leader, you already know that your people have vastly different wants and needs. One person wants to finish by 3pm to pick the kids up from school. Another is hungry for equity shares. Someone else will work tirelessly for their next promotion. No two people are alike, so cookie cutter employee benefits are destined to fall short.

Covid rapidly accelerated a shift in how we work, with flexible working options now prioritised by employees. Some organizations, like mine (Thryve), have adopted four-day working models to further support this coveted work/life balance.

As companies become more generous in offering comprehensive packages, we’re increasingly seeing fully-remote working, company shares, guaranteed bonus, workcations, shorter working hours, and so on. But with this ‘moon-on-a-stick’ approach, are tech leaders creating conditions that we can’t possibly sustain? The likes of Klarna, Bolt, and Netflix have already been forced to make cuts.

Savvy leaders are starting to think outside the box by offering benefits that cost the business very little, but can improve the lives of employees significantly. Things like flexi-hours, ESG initiatives, and getting more of a say in the direction of the business are all brilliantly engaging offerings that won’t break the bank.

Flexibility is the order of the day

Tech has enabled remote flexible working, and employees are ready to give that up.

Whilst everyone has different ideas of what constitutes a brilliant benefit, there’s something we all have in common: we want to be paid a decent salary for doing our jobs in a way that balances work with our personal lives.

In a tech role, that might look like flexible start and finish times, altered hours, or shorter weeks.

As a tech leader, you’ll want to remember that flexibility also takes management style into account. A perceived lack of trust stops people working autonomously, stifles creativity, and kills employee engagement. There may always be workplace power struggles for control, but the data doesn’t lie: trusting your team to get on with the job results in better outcomes for all.

Hiring is hard. Here’s the quick guide to doing it better.

1. Hire fast, but don’t rush. We recently surveyed over 100 C-level and hiring managers and heard that poor hiring decisions can cost a business over $86k (€85k), so do your due diligence and avoid hasty decisions.

2. Treat your people like trusted adults in a mutually beneficial working relationship. This makes it easier to hire, inspires innovation, and improves your company culture.

3. Prioritize sustainability. Don’t back yourself into a corner with choices that may come back to bite you as market conditions change.

4. Don’t overlook referrals. This can be the fastest and most cost-effective way to fill your roles, but requires a highly visible process and a working environment worth recommending.

5. Know that it’s simpler than it seems. When your salary and benefits, your working conditions, and your recruitment process are all looking better than the market average, the talent you need will inevitably turn up.

6. Choose a talent partner to help you to implement these strategies. The right one will understand the candidate market in depth and challenge you to improve your processes.

The tech talent shortage may feel relentless, but don’t despair. Follow these tips and hopefully things will feel a little easier.