Many IT service providers struggle to fill their vacancies in a timely manner. How can IT service providers strengthen their employer brand and become attractive employers for ICT professionals? In this blog post, we have summarized the most important studies and findings on recruiting in the ICT industry.
We at Xelon are very often in conversation with executives from IT service providers. The topic of recruiting in the channel comes up again and again. According to a report by the Swiss ICT and Internet industry association (SWICO), all segments of the ICT industry in Switzerland say they are having difficulty recruiting specialists. Many of our customers also have open positions that they haven't been able to fill for what feels like an eternity. "When you're short staffed, it doesn't just impact future projects. Often tech teams can't deliver on current projects either," says Michael Dudli, CEO of Xelon.
In this blog post, we share our observations and summarize studies around recruiting in the ICT industry and provide tips on how even smaller IT service providers can become attractive employers for tech talent.
Strengthening the employer brand: The benefits of employer branding in the war for talent
Companies can attract qualified applicants with a strong employer brand. Employer branding strengthens employer brands. According to the Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon, employer branding stands for "the development and maintenance of companies as an employer brand" with the aim of positioning themselves as attractive employers to employees and potential applicants. This contributes to employee recruitment and retention.
So when companies invest in employer branding, they can lure more talent, for one thing. And companies that attract more potential candidates can also hire that talent more quickly. One of the main benefits of having a strong employer brand is that you have a bigger and better talent pool. A strong employer brand promotes a good work environment and makes a company more appealing to potential candidates. This, in turn, means that employees are more inclined to recommend the employer to other professionals. Candidates recruited through referrals are the second least expensive way to recruit. More and more job seekers say they use social media to learn about employers and job openings, according to Honeypot, a recruiting firm specializing in software developers. This is also in line with our experience.
How do Swiss IT service providers conduct employer branding?
"At Xelon, we see how systems integrators in Switzerland are marketing and employer branding and we could identify three categories: a) companies that don't do anything as far as marketing is concerned, b) companies that do some blog posts and pictures in between and c) companies that work with videos and engaging content and come across as really very cool," explains Xelon CEO Michael Dudli, who often talks to IT service provider executives about the consequences of the skills shortage in the ICT industry. Employer branding is becoming increasingly important in the highly competitive market for IT professionals. "As a candidate, I go to LinkedIn and the company's website to get information - and of course I then want to see something," says Michael Dudli.
In a whitepaper, we share our insights on recruiting in the ICT industry. Download it now for free!
This is the role of corporate culture in recruiting
According to Werner Raschle, CEO of the Swiss recruiting firm Consult & Pepper, IT service providers need to position themselves as contemporary and attractive employers that promote new ways of working: "Home office and the option of working part-time are simply part of the basic requirements these days. These wishes must be culturally accepted within the company and also recognized by management." This presents employers with the challenge of orchestrating home office, remote work and part-time work in such a way that team spirit and a constructive corporate culture can emerge even when not all employees are physically working in the same place.
According to the Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon, corporate culture is the "population of shared values, norms and attitudes that shape the decisions, actions and behavior of organizational members." The culture of a company thus reflects fundamental norms and values that are evident in the motivation of employees, internal and external communication, social commitment and, last but not least, economic goals. "A common language, certain rituals, for example to celebrate successes or welcome new employees, dress code and style of dress, but also a certain code of conduct - all these facets give rise to a unique corporate culture that defines the essence of the company. In this way, it provides employees with a framework, a common direction and identity, and thus ultimately support and security - precisely factors that are decisive for satisfaction in the company," writes the employer rating platform kununu in a blog post.
"Ideally, the corporate culture is tangible during the job application or getting-to-know-you interview," says Werner Raschle. However, the power of communication is underestimated. The long-standing recruiting expert therefore recommends putting the culture into understandable messages. "You have to be able to show applicants that they can spend five great years with the company."
Attractive employers offer IT talents the opportunity for further development
The 2019 Global Brand Health Report found that nearly half of tech employees would not accept a job offer if they were not interested in the product, and 43 percent would turn down an offer if the company had a bad reputation. Tech professionals care most about company culture and learning opportunities, according to the study. This sentiment is shared by Xelon CEO Michael Dudli: "The good people in particular want opportunities and to see that they can grow."
In this regard, Michael Dudli sees CEOs and team leaders as having a responsibility, "At the end of the day, it's the job of me as the CEO or you as the CEO, the department head or the team leader, to make sure that an IT talent finds a suitable work environment with opportunities for growth. If you do that and invest that time, you really manage to put together a team that performs much better than if you just double up on average system administrators, for example," the Xelon CEO said.
However, the salary factor should not be completely neglected either: "At the end of the day, salary is always important. In the much-cited surveys, however, the people surveyed rarely admit this," explains Werner Raschle of Consult & Pepper. "However, one has to look at this in a more differentiated way. Employers should also be able to show candidates what their market value will be after three or five years with a company."
Want to know how your company can attract and retain IT talent? Download our whitepaper "Recruiting in the ICT industry" now.