The tides of the tech hiring market shifted significantly over the past 18 months. As we navigate the rough waters of 2023 into 2024, it becomes clear that the path ahead will be filled with complexities and uncertainties. However, new electricity is being emitted into the air, potentially signalling calmer days ahead.
Based on our work with thousands of candidates, and hundreds of clients, coupled with our thorough knowledge of the tech hiring market, here is the State of the Market for 2024:
We've Turned a Corner
Since October, we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of searches for which employers have approvals to hire. While this is good news, we caution anyone from assuming the tough days are behind us as the priority is being given to leadership hires or highly specific, targeted roles. Roles tasked with solving big problems or delivering on big opportunities.
Employer's Market (Sort-of)
While it's still an employer's market in the broadest sense of the term, certain roles and candidates are still highly sought after. During our last four CPO & VP Product searches, all the candidates we presented were also in multiple interview processes, with some engaged in as many as five different interview cycles. In many of these niche product leadership cases, it was and remains a candidate's market.
In most cases, it is still an employer's market; however, successful candidates with a track record of outcomes will always be sought after.
Hurry Up Canada
For over 20 years, our firm has been a recruiting partner to North American tech companies who need to hire across North America. It should be no surprise to our Canadian friends that Canada is lagging in its comeback. Conservative approaches, cautious outlooks, and budget constraints remain challenges when working with most Canadian startups. We say most, but there are several outliers we admire for their ambitions and the bold moves they've made.
It is wise and best practice for any hiring stakeholder to assume the candidate they are interested in also has a list of other employers pursuing them. It is always best to assume that it’ll take longer and be more challenging than you thought to fill.
Even in this market, it is rare that the right persona of candidates finds and applies to your website or LinkedIn job posting. Your team may also be ill-equipped to find, identify, and catch a possible hire's attention.
It is truly the Wild West of hiring right now. Many candidates are out in the market, but based on the specifics of the role, 1,000 or even 0 could be the right fit. It is essential to refrain from making any assumptions and stay focused on achieving your desired outcome, a hire. And remember, that it could come from meeting one person or 20.
Still a Mess
If you have been involved in the hiring process this year, these are most likely your experiences:
- Too many unqualified online applicants.
- Capacity and time constraints limiting the ability to review and vet all applicants properly.
- The person you need to hire gets overlooked during your quick resume scan because they look more like the person you should not hire. Why? Because they are not professional resume writers.
- ATS systems are broken and burdensome processes.
The list goes on, but many out there feel frustrated and want to throw up their hands at the mess and chaos. All of this potentially wasted time, effort, and energy can be avoided by engaging a partner - like us - to quickly get the right hire in the seat.
Location, Location, Location
When we ended 2022, many companies were pulling out all the stops to lure people back into an in-office model, some going to the extent of renovating. Work remote vs. hybrid vs. return to office mandates became a hot topic everywhere.
Today, most tech companies are still operating in a fully remote model or some combination of hybrid to attract the people they need to hire or retain their talent. Even though some organizations with power have decreed mandates in-office, this is an exception in the tech community.
On an interesting note, our Recruiters cite a larger number of candidates in key markets expressing interest in changing jobs for the opportunity to abandon 100% remote in favour of a flexible hybrid opportunity. NYC and surrounding boroughs are prime examples of this; small apartments, no AC in summer, and shared accommodations have become motivating factors for people wanting to get out of their apartments and back into an office.
Can we ever do a State of the Market and not talk about money? Here is the State of the Market concerning money; most employers feel they should pay less to attract a hire, while most candidates feel they should earn more when they change jobs.
But the bigger story is equity. We've come full circle - when the dotcom bomb and nuclear winter occurred in the early 2000s, eyes quickly opened to the risk of earning comp plans with stock options. The running joke at the time was, "I could wallpaper my bathroom with worthless stock options!"
Now, a new generation of employees is learning the same lesson. This new generation of employees who were offered the opportunity to determine the mix of their comp plan now face market realities that significantly impact personal earnings. Money and compensation will always be a hot topic, and we look forward to following up with 2024 salary trends throughout the year.
As we reflect on the present and peer into the future of the tech hiring market, it's evident that the journey ahead will be multifaceted. From the shifting dynamics of remote work to the intricate dance between employers and candidates on compensation matters, this will be a year to brace ourselves for the twists and turns ahead.