2022 was undoubtedly a strange year for tech. As we shifted into the post-pandemic ‘new normal’, the increasingly prevalent role that tech will play in our futures became significantly apparent. However, this was coupled with a volatile economy that saw record lay-offs from big tech companies. We also saw the way we work altered, with many techies reluctant to return to the ‘presenteeism’ of working in an office 5 days a week, with remote and hybrid working options still preferred - with 58% of workers in the UK preferring a hybrid working model. This change in the way we work means the recruitment process for tech roles inevitably has to adapt, with the role of the traditional recruiter becoming increasingly obsolete. We recently surveyed our users to see how they felt about the state of tech in 2023, and the results revealed some interesting insights about what 2023 could hold for the tech community.
One of the foremost issues on most techies' minds is the economy and the subsequent impact on job security. Our recent survey found that 43.9% of our users don’t feel secure in their roles, and only 21.4% say they felt very secure. When you consider that 53.1% of our users think themselves to be at ‘Mid’ level or above, and 32.9% have over 5 years of experience in tech roles, it’s apparent that experience does not necessarily correlate with feeling secure in your role, and that everyone is feeling the pressure. Furthermore, only 35.5% of our users plan to stay in their current role in 2023, with 64.5% either planning to move or would like to, but feel it would be too big of a risk at the moment. This is significantly higher than the workforce as a whole, with 31% of the UK’s workforce considering leaving their roles in 2023. It’s clear we currently have a workforce with one eye on the exit door - but what are the most common reasons people are looking to move?
Unsurprisingly, the economy is the biggest headache, with 46.8% of users citing it as causing them to feel worried about their current role. Tech layoffs are also a source of worry, with 25.4% reporting they are making them feel worried about their own role. This is not surprising given we saw major layoffs in a multitude of massive companies last year. Tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google reduced their workforces by 5 - 20% and it’s inevitable that these cut backs will trickle down to smaller tech companies, as well as increasing competition for the best opportunities, making it harder to land a new role. The extent to which these layoffs continue into 2023 will be directly relatable to the state of the economy, and the tech community are in for further unrest as we wait to see how it pans out over the next 12 months.
It would be unfair to pin all of this insecurity squarely on the economy though, as there is a number of factors in the workplace that also hold a massive influence over how secure people feel in their roles. It’s important to remember that job security is not solely aligned with how likely you feel you are to be let go or made redundant - it can also be linked with how likely you feel you will have to move roles, due to personal or financial circumstances making your role untenable. 28.3% of respondents stated that the behaviour of leaders in their current role made them worried about their job security, which makes it the second highest issue on our list after the state of the economy. Lack of progression or opportunities (22%), the performance of the company (16.2%) and manager/peer feedback (9.2%) are also significant factors. Clearly, we now have a tech workforce that is willing to hold people leader’s accountable for their behaviour, and they will look to move on if they feel a company is not a good culture or personal fit for them, or if the opportunities or progress on offer do not match their ambition. The impetus in 2023 is on company leaders to create an environment and culture that is both comfortable for and accommodating of its employees and their career aspirations if they want to attract and retain the best tech talent.
The way in which we work has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and although we saw more people return to the office in 2022, there is still a significant number of techies that are not keen to return to the old way of working. Our recent survey found that over a quarter of workers do not want to work in an office at all, with people citing work/life balance, flexibility and the time and cost of commuting as the primary reasons they prefer working remotely, with distractions in the office affecting productivity and the need to work prescribed hours, rather than when they’re most effective, given as the main reasons they don’t want to work in an office. The main reasons people do like working in an office are the community aspect of it and having a dedicated space to work, with detachment and mental health cited as reasons people don’t like working remotely. It is evident that in 2023, companies will have to adapt their working practices to best suit their employees, with flexibility being key as it is clear a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t cut it. Techies know how they want to work and are willing to shop around to find the right fit - for some this means collaboration and community with their peers, and for others this means working in a way that suits them in an environment they are comfortable in. Employers will have cast off the ‘old-school’ way of thinking and adapt to the post-pandemic workforce’s wants to get the most out of their employees.
This shift in the way we work, and the expectations techies now hold, is also impacting the recruitment and interview processes. A good example of this is the increasing expectation that a job description must contain all the relevant information before someone will consider applying. Chief among these is the desire to see transparent salary information on job postings, which our users have given as the most important detail they want to see (79.2%), and only 37.6% of users stated they would consider applying for a role without transparent salary information. It’s not all about money, however, as techies also want to know about remote/hybrid practices (76.9%), company culture (59.5%) and personal progression (59%). Interestingly, the sector of the company was only important to 21.4% of respondents, suggesting that environment and flexibility hold a significantly higher importance than particular industries. As tech interviews become increasingly convoluted (we’ll get to that in a second), it is perfectly reasonable for a techie to not want to begin a process before they know all the details. Companies that aren’t willing to provide clear information on job descriptions do so to the detriment of both the quality and quantity of applications they’ll receive.
As mentioned, the interview process is also facing changes in 2023. As you’ll be aware, tech interviews tend to be spread over multiple stages, involving conversations with a number of managers in a company, as well as technical tests to evidence an applicant’s skill set. This process can be lengthy and draining, and many techies are now turning their backs on the traditional interview process by refusing to engage with it. For example, our survey showed that only 53.2% of respondents believe technical tests are an important and relevant part of the interview process, showing that a process that involves too many, or unreasonable, technical tests will put off just under half of the applicants to a given role. We asked our users what their biggest pain points were during an interview process, and the most common answer given by far was the number of stages and tests, with the belief they cause too much stress and can lead to ‘interview burnout’, potentially harming your chances of landing a role you really want. Much like the way in which work has shifted, internal recruitment processes will need to shift to accommodate techies’ expectations in 2023 if they want to attract the best candidates.
It is clear from the above that techies are becoming increasingly aware of their value, and, as such, have higher expectations of companies than they did previously. Companies now need to try and persuade the applicant that a company is a good fit, as much as the applicant is trying to impress the company. For most companies, recruitment processes are about finding the best talent, and it is evident that to continue to do this they will need to be open to change in 2023 - techies are no longer willing to engage with companies or processes that don’t fit with their ideals or are inconsiderate of their time, health or ambition.
Do the results of our survey match up with your experiences? Let us know using the ‘Chat’ tab in the app!