The Windy City is home to the Chicago Bulls, Bears, Fortune 500 companies, satellite tech companies, and startups. In fact, the city has been able to hold its own among innovative verticals from Silicon Valley to New York City.
But there’s one big difference when you’re operating a tech company in the Second City when compared to tech hubs around the country. Although Chicago is on the list of top 15 metro markets, it’s far from the taking the top spot.
While IT talent and new ideas are being nurtured locally, the market really needs to grow a lot more before it can garner greater visibility and credibility. But for the most part, the tech sector still has a long way to go before it can come close to matching the cities at the top of the list.
To realize the dream of being a top city for IT, the sector also has to overcome some challenges.
1. Finding IT Talent Where There is None
Companies in this midwestern city need to find a solution to their growing IT talent shortage. At the moment, companies in the area are all competing for a small pool of talent where demand has been dictating who gets hired.
The primary shortages stem from specific disciplines such as cybersecurity, data analytics, and application development. But with so many leading universities in the region, the hope is that these institutions will start producing the talent needed to fill the skills gap.
The aftermath of the WannaCry ransomware attack also highlighted the need for more experts in cybersecurity. But the shortage isn’t just within this discipline as, although long-standing programming languages continue to drive development projects, practitioners are still hard to find.
If you look at recruitment websites, it becomes obvious that IT vacancies last more than a month or two. As visas restrictions are expected to significantly impact the industry, this problem doesn’t seem to be anywhere near a solution.
2. Negating Job Offer Rejection
When it comes to the hiring process, the candidates hold all the aces at the negotiation table. They already know that companies are desperate for experienced IT professionals, so they can pick and choose where they end up working and what kind of compensation they will be happy with.
As a result, the tables have turned and it’s the recruiters that are faced with loads of rejections. For the most part, rejection stems from compensation and competing opportunities, but if it’s handled properly, both motivations for rejection can be negated.
What recruiters can do is gather salary data from staffing firms and have it ready before making an offer. Then they can follow up with a realistic briefing about competitive compensation. If revisions are made, you will start a bidding war and that’s never going to end well.
When it comes to people looking for better opportunities, the company’s sales pitch can make the difference. If you build personas of your candidates like you build personas for customers, you can start to figure out what would appeal to them to choose you over the competition.
3. Long Time To Hire
When companies get desperate to fill seats, they can end up hiring candidates that are just not a good fit. But practicing a little patience can pay off in the long run and save the business money.
According to Digi117, the average time to hire tech positions in the United States are as follows:
- Senior Applications Developer: 28.3 days
- FinTech Developer: 19.9 days
- Web Application Developer: 23.5 days
- Software Engineer: 35 days
- Hardware Engineer: 27 days
- Product Engineer: 28.1 days
- QA Engineer: 17.9 days
- Data Engineer: 25.8 days
- Data Scientist: 23.2 days
- Implementation Specialist: 27.8 days
- Quality Assurance: 25.9 days
- Database Administrator: 25.5 days
- UX Designer: 19.3 days
To accelerate time to hire, one of the ways for Chicago companies could be to look at their neighbor north of the border and hire IT talent in Canada. The advantages of hiring Canadian resources are obvious:
- Chicago is only 2 hours ahead of Vancouver and 1 hour behind Toronto
- Cost savings as a result of 30% currency rate difference
- Canada has a national policy put in place to encourage skilled migration and Chicago companies can access a new talent pool they've never seen elsewhere before.
Whether it’s tech, healthcare, or retail, the race is on to secure the best talent. The same challenges apply, so the same solution can also work across industries.
Recruitment costs, training costs, and compensation will all impact the bottom line, so approaching recruitment with a plan can help the business achieve its long-term goals.