Flush with venture capital funding, there has been an incredible boom in new startups. These innovative and fast-growing companies, platforms and apps run the gamut, but have one thing in common: they can’t find enough talent to fill all of their needs. The lack of qualified applicants holds back businesses from blossoming.
Sergiu Matei, founder of Index, who runs a platform helping clients, like Vodafone, find and hire world-class tech teams, gives his take on what is happening from an international recruiter’s perspective. His mission is to help growing companies hire world-class remote software developers and teams.
According to Matei, the internet is undergoing a drastic facelift, thanks to surging interest in Web3 and the metaverse. However, the journey to the internet of the future is so complex that companies are struggling to find people who can do the job. While the pressures of the Great Resignation and attendant labor shortage have wide implications for businesses in just about every industry, it’s even worse for companies looking to hire highly skilled tech workers. Prior to the pandemic, it was tough to fill specialized technology roles. Now, he says, it’s “next to impossible.”
Demand for software engineers is at an all-time high. The job search process for engineers is broken and companies are not incentivized to fix it. For most jobs, candidates apply and never get a response. The majority of software engineers want to work remotely, but 31% are concerned about how it may affect their career prospects, according to the State of Remote Engineering report.
There is some hope. The expanded adoption of remote work during the pandemic has made it a lot easier to attract tech talent. “If you expand your search outside of a set of zip codes, you can find great talent with less competition,” said Matei. Index’s platform assists with this search by including an English language test and skills assessment in its recruiting process. Hiring employees in international locations with lower costs of living than tech hubs, like Silicon Valley and New York City, can also make smaller companies’ compensation packages more appealing.
Matei was born and raised in Moldova. He spent the majority of his career building platforms to help teams find and hire talent from around the world. Matei learned that both Central and Eastern Europe have a lot of untapped talent. They were overlooked because recruiters couldn’t speak the language. Matei said the region is well-known for tech professionals that have math and computer-science degrees. It is home to more than one-million engineers, in places such as Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine.
Matei pointed out that tech companies in the US added 24,300 workers in January, marking the 14th consecutive month of job growth in a hot IT hiring market. Index is solving the problem of finding and hiring remote engineering talent.. He is motivated to reduce inequality by helping build a future where the best local talent won’t be forced to leave their country to get a great job. There is a larger reason too. By connecting different cultures around the world, people can expand their understanding of one another, which will promote friendly relations—something that is much needed now more than ever.
Another challenge faced by companies is the emergence of Web3. The number of Web3 developers dramatically increased in 2021, but they still make up just a tiny fraction of active software developers worldwide. In the US alone, over 1.2 million engineers will be missing from the workforce by 2026—a figure set to cost companies $162 billion in unrealized output.
There is a great amount of churn in this sector, with both large tech companies and scrappy startups fighting for the best and brightest talent. For instance, the augmented reality team at Microsoft saw 100 departures in the past year, as many engineers jumped ship to work on the metaverse at Meta. Apple has had a similar problem and still needs to fill about 10,000 roles.
In the coming year, finding skilled engineers will be challenging—to put it lightly. Recruiters have to fully understand the evolving digital landscape, the expectations that potential employees have and how to upskill current teams.
Having spent more than a decade hiring in the rapidly changing tech world, Matei, shared his insights into finding the people who will create the internet of tomorrow. In addition to recruiters broadening their talent search across borders, they should also consider developers with unconventional backgrounds, such as self-taught and bootcamp alumni. Benefits should go beyond salary and companies should provide constant opportunities for learning, whether through external courses, internal knowledge exchange sessions or exposure to new technologies via project rotation. According to Matei, there needs to be an overhaul of the education system to keep up with the surging demand. Currently, just 13.2% of schools offer computer science courses; however, 77% of jobs in the next decade will require tech skills.