Today’s IT and cybersecurity workforce continues to evolve rapidly, and at Velocity, we’re all about helping you stay on top of those trends. Saratoga, a workforce analytics and HR benchmarking product from PwC, has just released its “Top 4 Workforce Trends” based on its 2023 benchmarking survey results. As you develop your strategy for the rest of 2023 and beyond, here are four trends you should know about.
Turnover Decreases Overall, But There’s a Catch
The “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reshuffle” has seen enormous numbers of employees quit their jobs in search of new or better opportunities over the last few years. Pair that with the fact that tech has, historically, had high turnover rates and short tenures to begin with, and the situation has certainly been frustrating for IT, cybersecurity, and other tech firms and departments. In 2023, however, turnover seems to be on the downswing again, approaching pre-pandemic levels. This trend suggests a more stable talent marketplace while also indicating that companies are slowly becoming more successful in their efforts to re-engage talent and encourage retention.
First-year turnover rates, however, remain quite high, hitting 28% this year. This, in particular, is a clear sign that some companies still may need to do more work to ensure a good fit and a successful onboarding process. In many cases, first-year turnover signals that there is a significant disconnect between an individual’s priorities and expectations with those of the company. More transparency during the recruiting process is key; that way, every new hire enters their role with a clear understanding of goals, culture, and expectations, rather than being blindsided and choosing to leave as a result.
Slower Movement in Recruiting Top Talent
It will come as no surprise that a slowdown in turnover will also impact other aspects of talent management. The external recruitment rate dropped from 28.5% to 19.6% from 2021 to 2022. Internal mobility has also slowed down: the promotion rate decreased from 12.6% to 10.2%, and the mobility rate (including both lateral and upward movements) dropped from 21.0% to 20.3%. Even the time elapsed between opening a requisition and a candidate accepting an offer has widened, from 41 days in 2021 to 54 days in 2022.
Roles in cybersecurity and IT are already challenging to fill, given the highly specific requirements and hard-to-find qualifications and certifications necessary for many roles. To avoid long, drawn-out timelines – especially in mission-critical roles – companies may want to consider ways to update and streamline recruiting processes and incentivize candidates to make a firm decision.
Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Over the past few years, DEI has taken on a more prominent role and increased significance across industries. According to PwC’s research, however, these efforts have not resulted in equal gains across different groups. For instance, while promotion rates among racial/ethnic minority women have improved, promotion rates for women as a whole, racial/ethnic minorities as a whole, Gen X, and Millennials have not. Similarly, retention efforts have met with wide-ranging results. Organizations that truly are dedicated to DEI work cannot use a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they must consider and address the different needs and strategies to support different groups for improved inclusivity and equity.
Tech fields have long had a reputation for an uneven approach to DEI, and that is reflected in current statistics. PwC reports that the field has made gains in promoting both women and racial/ethnic minorities: an increase from 23.6% to 28.9% of management who are a racial/ethnic minority, and an increase from 27.3% to 29.4% of management who are women. However, those numbers still lag behind many other sectors. Tech also has seen a particularly steep drop in the number of DEI-dedicated professionals. In 2021, 24.8% of full-time equivalents (FTEs) in tech were DEI-related; by 2022, that number plummeted to nearly half the number, down to just 12.5%. Companies looking to continue to attract and retain a diverse workforce will need to have the right people – with adequate support – to build a sustainably inclusive culture.
The Future of Return-to-Office
Tech companies and roles were ahead of the curve in terms of hybrid and remote work, but now the rest of the world has caught up. The result, however, is a bit of pushback from management, leading to a disconnect between what leadership wants and what employees want. 47% of CHROs expect their teams to work in-office four or five days a week, and 46% of leaders say they take on-site presence into account when deciding on promotions and bonuses. On the other hand, 62% of workers prefer to work remotely at least some of the time, compared with just 11% who prefer to be in-person full time.
Figuring out what works best for your team requires considering both employee preferences (and if that’s enough to drive them to look for other work) and the needs of the work itself. For instance, certain IT and cybersecurity jobs may require immediate, in-person access to sensitive equipment, while other roles or tasks may be able to be done remotely. These policies also affect important things like employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Companies looking to attract and retain top talent will need to carefully evaluate where in-person work is necessary (or not), or risk losing in-demand talent to competitors.
By Daniel Midoneck