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How to cope with a shrinking tech talent pool

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: tech hiring is difficult, the data literacy gap, and LinkedIn’s latest report on skills-first hiring.

— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)

How to stop ignoring great job candidates

If you’re still having difficulty hiring great tech talent, you are not alone. The latest findings from Datapeople’s 2022 hiring report showed that in the tech sector, the available labor pool has contracted significantly.

The recruiting analytics company, which helps a range of tech startups find talent, did a deep dive into its tech hiring data to see what insights it could draw about The Great Resignation. While CEO Amit Bhatia knew anecdotally that companies have been having a hard time finding talent, he was surprised by how stark his company’s own numbers were: “In my six years of following this space, I have never seen a dislocation this dramatic,” he said. “To see close to a 25% shrinking in applicants, that’s shocking.”

A brief summary of some of the most important findings:

  • While the available applicant pool shrunk by nearly 25% in 2021, the number of posted jobs nearly doubled over the same period.
  • The percentage of tech jobs based in the Bay Area and Seattle fell by about 25% relative to other metropolitan areas. Austin, Salt Lake City and other smaller tech hubs saw significant increases — Miami had a 45% jump.
  • Jobs are often requiring fewer or no degrees: If a company previously asked for a master’s, now a bachelor’s will likely suffice, and so forth. This does not apply as much to the largest tech companies, however, which haven’t changed their behaviors compared to the rest of the industrty.
  • Applicants were nine times more likely to receive jobs if they had a referral, as opposed to applying through LinkedIn or other postings.

Bhatia had one very basic takeaway for hiring managers: Be patient. “They have got to be a lot more patient, right away,” he stressed repeatedly as he walked me through Datapeople’s latest recruiting analytics findings. He also said the same thing that we hear repeatedly here at Protocol from HR experts: Managers need to be significantly more flexible, too. Degree requirements, location and remote work are still massive differentiators for applicants, because not every company is flexible on all of those issues, which means that those willing to change policy have more success.

Bhatia was also shocked that the percentage of fully remote accessible jobs has remained under 20%, which he sees as quite low. “It’s kind of insane in this world that there hasn't been a bigger shift. Companies are doing the hybrid instead, really toeing the line,” he said.

Aside from the remote work question, companies are frustrating Bhatia when it comes to referrals. He believes that in prioritizing referrals, companies are ignoring candidates who could be more valuable because they bring different experiences to the table on top of their technical skills. “Even in these tight labor markets, companies are still privileging referrals at a rate of 15 times sometimes; not only is that worrying in terms of fairness, you are hamstringing yourself,” he said. “There is a lot of institutionalized bias, especially in tech, that nobody good is ever going to apply online. I think that hurts a lot of underrepresented candidates.”

Mind the data literacy gap

The biggest skills gap for tech workers? Data literacy, according to new reporting from my colleague Amber Burton. Tech companies are drowning in data, but there’s a gap between what employees know about data and what employers think their employees know. Only 40% of employees surveyed by Tableau and Forrester say they’ve been provided the data skills they’re expected to have on the job. Meanwhile, nearly 82% of leaders expect their employees to have basic data literacy skills. It’s one thing to purchase tools, and it’s another to have staff that knows how to use them, according to one of Burton’s sources. Companies need to start focusing on the latter.

Read the full story.


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Today's tips & tools

Otter wants to be more than a transcription app. The company just announced a series of new features that it hopes will make it a go-to collaboration tool for corporate meetings. “As a baseline, Otter can record and capture a lot of conversation and turn it into searchable notes,” said Simon Lau, Otter’s VP of Product. “Now, we see that this is something that allows team members to collaborate and communicate more easily during the meeting.”

Here are the new features, available to Otter users on the Business plan today. They will launch to Pro and Basic users in the coming weeks.

  • You can attach your calendar to Otter and join meetings from the home screen. The calendar view is more prominent in the redesign, and you can more easily turn Otter’s assistant (the transcription AI that joins meetings) on or off.
  • Highlighted notes will now be collected in a “Meeting Gems” sidebar. You’ll be able to centralize your most important notes in one space. Otter’s users can also turn notes into action items and tag co-workers in the Otter plan. Otter’s AI will also produce automatic summaries that recount notable questions or themes.
  • Attach screenshots directly into the transcription notes with a button. Otter now has a screenshot button so you can include a meeting’s important visual content.
— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email| twitter)

We’re living in the age of skills-first hiring

What does that mean? According to a new report out today from LinkedIn, employers who use skills data to fill open roles are more likely to find a successful hire.

  • Skill sets required for jobs have changed by about 25% since 2015. That number is expected to double by 2027.
  • The World Economic Forum estimates that more than one billion people need to be reskilled by 2030,and Crunchbase found that investors spent over $2.1 billion in skilling companies this past year alone.
  • On LinkedIn, members added 286 million skills to their profiles in 2021, up 22% from the year prior. 40% of employers on LinkedIn use skills data when hiring, up 20% from the year before. Those employers are 60% more likely to find a successful match.

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Better connect your teams and customers with phone, meetings and messaging, all in one app. RingCentral makes it easier for you to run and grow your business, from anywhere. Experience simpler communications that are reliable, secure and let people do their best work.

Learn more

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to Have a great day, see you Thursday.

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