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Highly skilled tech workers are becoming a rarity, and companies have tough decisions to make

A.Team's annual Tech Work Report highlights the struggles tech companies are facing in hiring, onboarding, and dealing with hybrid-working models.
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Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor on
A white man wearing glasses speaks animatedly while in a remote video conference with four coworkers.
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In the ever-evolving employment landscape, tech companies are changing their typical hiring strategies to compensate for the talent lost to the Great Resignation – and have some tough decisions to make when it comes to ordering teams back to the office.

A.Team and MassChallenge's 2022 Tech Work Report surveyed almost 600 tech founders and executives to provide insight into the future of work in the tech industry.

In the survey, 39% of employers cited product and engineering roles as the most challenging positions to fill. In addition, 62% of respondents said it took them more than four months to find the right talent to fill these vacancies.

The Great Resignation was identified as a major contributor to companies' hiring headaches. Of those surveyed, 44% lost a significant amount of their top-performing employees to the Great Resignation.

To combat the significant loss of talented employees, 80% of surveyed executives said they would hire someone without a college degree to work at their company. 

The notion that tech executives are open to hiring workers without degrees points to a shift in hiring requirements. Three-quarters (67%) of those surveyed felt that the traditional hiring and onboarding process is too long, too pricey, and needs re-imagining.

The onboarding process for remote employees is especially tricky, as companies have to figure out how to make their company culture a memorable experience for remote employees. A days-long process filled with hours-long, information-packed Zoom meetings yields poor job performance, according to a survey by Perceptyx.   

Overall, the survey provided data to explain how tech companies navigate hiring challenges and how they plan to implement new hiring strategies. The survey also pointed to a new working model tech companies are embracing by encouraging collaboration between full-time employees and highly skilled freelancers.

SEE: Coding skills are in demand, companies want more from technology professionals

Companies across all industries are scrambling to solve the issues that slow and disconnected onboarding brings to the table. Employers that need highly skilled workers – and need them fast – might rush the onboarding process, leaving vulnerabilities in their employees' confidence, connection to their coworkers, and mental health, the report said.

Earlier this year, major tech companies including Apple and Meta announced that they would not require college degrees for certain positions, typically positions that are more difficult to fill. These positions include software engineers, technical support, and quality engineers. 

Many companies are turning to upskilling programs to fill their skills requirements: 87% of A.Team's survey respondents agree that career growth and upskilling programs are vital to elevating their employees' professional development. Implementing these programs may be the key to increasing employee retention and avoiding a wave of quiet quitting and resignations.

SEE: Workers around the world are fond of hybrid work. Is it a threat to the property market?

A more recent workplace shift within the tech industry is the tug of war that companies and employees play when it comes to returning to the office. Since the start of the pandemic, tech workers have enjoyed the benefits of flexible work schedules more than any other industry. This has largely benefited employers and employees, with 62% of respondents reporting that the shift to a more flexible work model during the pandemic had increased productivity.

But tech companies plan on challenging those comforts. According to A.Team's survey, 55% of companies intend to require employees to work in the office more often. When Apple announced a plan to bring employees back to the office, the request resulted in major pushback. Worryingly, 53% of respondents to A.Team's survey said an economic downturn would make it easier to require employees to return to the office.

The decision to revoke employees' choice of remote or hybrid work puts tech companies in a sticky situation. Will they continue to honor the forward-thinking foundations they've built their companies on, or will they push traditional corporate values to maintain the status quo?

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