After the Great Resignation, Tech Firms Getting Desperate

(Interjection – A Cultural Re-alignment?)
Megan Carnegie, Feb 11, 2022 7:00 AM (subscription)
Faced with a shortage of qualified workers and fierce competition, companies are offering
candidates money to interview and plush perks if they stay.

(Interjection by Don Chapin: Partly a result of the dimensional shift realigning workers’ self-
assessment, partly the result of companies having to reschedule employee work for at-home
employment because of the pandemic, people are realizing that working for others with their
goals doesn’t satisfy an inherent need to look out for self first. Companies and employers, in
general, have to begin re-assessing their working force to be more in line with Highest Good.

Then, my brief 3-month personal experiences with Management Recruiters showed me that
that industry is not geared to truly assist… that industry is more interested in profitably closing
contracts – for itself – than in making good, lasting matches.)

Joy Nazzari, the founder of British proptech startup Showhere, is desperately trying to hire 16
people—a combination of senior-level developers, project managers, and designers. But her pool
of candidates is running dry.

“It’s never been harder or more expensive to hire new people,” she says. “Yet you also have to
defend who you already have, because they’re seeing the bright lights—being hit up on LinkedIn
and hearing stories of friends attracted by big salary packages.”

Nazzari is among the employers who have found it difficult to replace the wave of workers who
quit in The Great Resignation, which began last year and hasn’t let up since. In the US, the
number of workers quitting has now exceeded pre-pandemic highs for eight straight months,
according to consumer data company Statista.

It’s a similar story in the UK. Sanjay Raja, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank, published a
report in January that found that people are resigning at the highest rate since 2009. Huge
numbers are leaving the labor market entirely and more than 80 percent do not want a job—the
highest on record since 1993, according to Raja’s analysis. This has left gaping holes in the

The Great Resignation has widened the gap between the supply and demand of tech workers, and
has made employers resort to extreme incentives to recruit as many of them as possible. In IT
alone, 31 percent of workers actively sought out a new job between July and September last year.
This is the highest among all industries, according to analysis from Gartner. Meanwhile, data
from training company Global Knowledge found that 76 percent of global IT decisionmakers are
dealing with critical skills gaps on their teams. Multiply that problem across other tech roles, and
it’s clear that the skills shortage is likely to worsen before it gets better.

The scrap over a shrinking talent pool is intensifying as companies lay on benefit after benefit to
get new recruits through the door. Businesses are experimenting with all kinds of well-being
measures to entice new staff: In January, Pinterest bulked up its fertility benefits and parental
leave; in December, fintech company Finder introduced an extra five days on top of paid annual
and sickness leave entitlements; and On Purpose, a New Delhi–based communications
consultancy, launched seven days paid leave for pet adoption from February onwards. Word is
spreading fast as employees swap notes on company policies under the hashtag
#ShowUsYourLeave on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Candidates are even being offered money just to show up to job interviews. Deutsche
Familienversicherung, an insurtech company based in Frankfurt, says it is offering €500 to
anyone it interviews, another €1,000 to those who make it to a second round, and €5,000 more to
those who complete a six-month probation.

It’s not just large companies doing it either—ethical tech nonprofit Software Freedom
Conservancy, which has six people on staff, pays interview finalists $500 each. Cactus
Communications, a publishing platform for the scientific community, offers 5 percent of a role’s
annual compensation as a welcome bonus, and at Nazzari’s company Showhere, it’s a month’s
salary upon signing an employment contract.

“A golden hello is such a tough call because people already in the business are saying, ‘Hey I
didn’t get one of those’,” says Nazzari. “But everyone internally recognizes it’s an unusual
situation and for us to continue to grow, we need to be extra competitive.” Showhere’s sign-on
bonuses haven’t been effective, because candidates are looking to maximize the opportunity to
get much higher salaries elsewhere, Nazzari says. She’s now adopting a broader range of tactics
instead, such as offering candidates senior roles during their first phone interview and letting
recruits relocate where they want. Before, recruiting staff from abroad and taking them through
the visa process felt like too much friction, but now it’s unavoidable.

Other employers are in a similar situation. “In the past year, we’ve stopped considering location
criteria when recruiting,” explains Ashmita Das, CEO of a freelance platform for scientists called
Kolabtree, which has a full-time team of 25. “We hire when and where we can—it’s a great
opportunity for workers to look for different opportunities, or work in a different domain.”

Permanent remote positions in the US doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent during the last
quarter of 2021, according to online job service Ladders, and could increase to 25 percent by
2022. “Since making the transition to remote-first, we have been able to broaden our hiring
options globally and not be restricted to a talent pool in one area,” explains Maureen Carroll,
senior director of global talent acquisition at US company Vista, a specialist in digital services
for small and medium businesses. The switch has meant a 300 percent increase in job
applications—so she believes it’s making a difference.

In reports released to shareholders in early February, Amazon, PayPal, Intel, and Pinterest
acknowledged that rejecting remote work will cost them dearly in the fight for talent, particularly
as Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify have made it the norm. In Japan, where remote working still
isn’t common, Yahoo has announced employees can work from anywhere in the country and it
will pay for their flights if they ever need to come into the office.

While some tech businesses agonize over remote-first versus hybrid, there has been a universal
boost to salaries in the scrabble for staff. The median salary of US tech positions rose by almost
7 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to a report from tech career marketplace Dice,
averaging at $6,707 per employee per month. The average salary for a knowledge worker in the
industry is now $104,566 per year, with web developers getting the heftiest increase after their
annual salaries jumped 21.3 percent year-on-year, the report found.

Meike Jordan, chief people officer at Berlin-based product-to-consumer platform Productsup,
believes there’s no quick fix for companies hemorrhaging talent. “Attracting candidates with
office perks like a beer keg in the kitchen or flexible work-from-home policies is a thing of the
past,” she says. “People are tired of being overworked and underpaid, and want an employer who
cares about their overall well-being and future success.”

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