Editor’s note: As of March 2020, Seen by Indeed is part of Indeed Hire, our full-service recruiting solution.

We all know hiring tech talent is hard. Large companies are faced with meeting very aggressive hiring goals — sourcing candidates from a limited talent pool and competing against each other for the top talent. It is even harder for smaller organizations that struggle to match the benefits and perks that large, well-funded organizations can offer.

We recently surveyed over one thousand tech hiring managers and recruiters to better understand how the tech talent shortage is impacting their businesses. Almost 9 in 10 respondents (86%) said they find it challenging to find and hire technical talent, with over a third (36%) saying they find it “very” challenging.

Graph showing that 86% of respondents find it challenging to find and hire technical talent.
According to the data, 86% of respondents feel it is challenging to find and hire technical talent, while 14% feel it is not challenging.

It makes sense that most tech recruiters find filling tech roles challenging. Especially for elite job titles like software architect and product manager, but just how tough is it exactly?

We know there is a demand gap for many jobs in the technology field, with data showing that job seeker interest in software architect job postings meets only 29.4% of the employer demand and dev ops job postings meet only 39.6%. With companies desperate to achieve their hiring goals, they’re often settling for subpar candidates, with results showing over half (53%) of respondents have hired tech talent despite candidates not meeting the job description requirements.

The tech talent war is hurting innovation

Companies throughout the industry are feeling the pressure as the inability to timely hire tech talent affects their bottom line. Beyond keeping the business from moving into new markets and growing revenue, organizations are struggling to maintain their current advantages.

With companies unable to fill open positions, current employees are expected to fill the gaps. In many cases this results in employee turnover. Over a third of respondents we surveyed (36%) said the lack of timely hiring has caused burnout in existing employees and affected their businesses.

Bar graph showing that 83% find the tech talent shortage has negatively impacted their business.
This bar graph shows 83% find the tech talent shortage has affected their business through lost revenue, slower product development, market expansion or increased employee tension and burnout. 16% of respondents say the tech talent shortage has not hurt their business.

Recruit for work experience and skill, not education

Another factor hindering tech recruitment is the narrow definition of “high-quality candidate.” The tech industry has become accustomed to hiring candidates based on where they received their degree. In our survey, we asked “How important is an Ivy League degree when evaluating technical talent?” Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents think an Ivy League degree is very important when evaluating technical talent.

However, qualified candidates from technical schools specializing in coding and software engineering, like Hack Reactor or General Assembly, are also receiving a greater level of attention. Over the past year the number of Indeed Resumes with “coding bootcamp” experience has almost doubled.

Resumes with “coding bootcamp” as an educational experience doubled from 2015 to 2016.
This bar chart shows that since 2010, resumes with “coding bootcamp” as an educational experience have grown exponentially, doubling from 2015 to 2016.

To address the challenges in hiring tech talent, many recruiters are beginning to take a more holistic approach by evaluating factors beyond education such as soft skills — or requirements that are important to a candidate but aren’t always transparent on a resume — including communication ability, temperament and collaboration.

Nearly 3 in 5 employers (58%) said soft skills are important when evaluating technical talent. Additionally, nearly 4 in 5 employers (77%) stated the most important qualification to evaluate technical talent is work experience.

A majority of employers say work experience is the most important qualification to evaluate technical talent.
This bar graph shows the results of a survey conducted by Indeed October 27, 2016 to November 1, 2016. According to the data, 77% of respondents find that work experience is the most important qualification to evaluate technical talent, 58% of respondents say that soft skills are the most important qualification and 56% of respondents say that a computer science degree is the most important qualification.

Equip recruiters with tools to more effectively hire tech talent

When we asked recruiters to rate the most challenging aspect of hiring tech talent, nearly half (42%) said identifying HR staff who are qualified to uncover top tech talent. Many recruiters don’t have the training to simply identify or recruit a qualified tech prospect with over half (53%) of respondents stating they have hired tech talent who did not meet the job description requirements out of immediate need.

Three quarters of respondents noted the time to fill roles has been increasing over the past three years. How can tech recruiters overcome this trend?

Code challenges prove to be one tool that recruiters can use to evaluate non-traditional candidates for technical prowess and skill. 92% of US employers said performance is important on a code challenge when evaluating technical talent. Testing for skill allows recruiters to empirically learn how someone would perform on the job.

We understand the pain associated with recruiting tech talent. The tech talent war is hurting innovation, business and operations. Seen by Indeed is a new tool available to employers. It’s an exclusive platform that pairs companies large and small with the finest technical talent across the country. Updated weekly with change-ready talent, vetted by performance testing and talent acquisition professionals - Seen helps companies hire the best tech talent.


Indeed conducted a national U.S. survey with Censuswide of 1009 employers involved in HR and including hiring managers and tech recruiters. Responses were gathered from October 27 to November 1, 2016.