How to Combat the Talent Shortage in Software Engineering

10 mins

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the talent shortage in software engineerin...

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the talent shortage in software engineering could reach over 85 million worldwide by 2030. It’s forecasted that there will be vacancies for roughly 189,000 software engineer jobs, developer roles, and other similar positions in the tech space over the decade. With an increased need for software engineers accompanied by a supply and demand issue for candidates in the industry, handling the talent gap has never been more challenging.

Thankfully, this guide is here to help. From upskilling and reskilling your existing team, sourcing professionals through outsourcing and rethinking your recruitment strategy, here are the things you can do to combat the talent shortage in software engineering.

In this guide, we’ll look into the following ways you can combat the talent gap:

  • Upskill and Reskill Your Exiting Software Engineering Team
  • Source Software Engineers Through Outsourcing/Contract Work
  • Rethink Your Software Engineering Recruitment Strategy

Upskill and Reskill Your Exiting Software Engineering Team

One way you can effectively combat the talent shortage in software engineering is to consider upskilling and reskilling your existing workforce. Don't just worry solely about the engineers you don't have. Instead, take a closer look at the ones you have and your current employees who could transition into software engineer jobs. Taking the time to upskill and reskill your IT engineering team could give your business the skills it needs to navigate the talent gap.  

Identify Your Potential Talent 

Your first move in upskilling and reskilling your software engineering team to help combat the talent gap is to determine the specific talent gaps and skills shortages you need to address. At this stage, consider which upskilling and reskilling initiatives can close these particular gaps. 

Next, think about the people within your business who require upskilling or have the potential to transition into your software engineer jobs. Consider your existing software engineers and determine whether they could use new or refreshed skills to keep your operations running smoothly. You should also look across your organisation for tech-savvy staff who could be successful in engineering while helping to future-proof your brand across the competitive tech space.

One way to decide which employees should be upskilled or reskilled is to conduct skills assessments. These assessments should reveal the people within your business who have the motivation and technical know-how to benefit from upskilling and reskilling. 

Another thing to do here is to communicate with your software engineers and the staff you want to upskill so they understand the benefits of these programmes and are willing to progress with them. Doing so can ensure you're making the right investment in your upskilling and reskilling schemes to close the talent shortage.

Implement Upskilling and Reskilling Programmes

Let's start with upskilling. These programmes are brilliant for supporting your existing software engineer talent or those with a proficient tech or IT engineering background. Upskilling initiatives can focus on enhancing the software skills if your employees are relevant to the team's and business's growth. These schemes could involve advanced training in industry-leading tools and tech to allow your talent to progress in their careers or transition into your software engineer jobs.

On the other hand, reskilling programmes are ideal for transitioning your existing employees, who are motivated and have the potential to succeed as software engineers. Reskilling can provide training in the fundamentals of IT engineering, such as the top software engineer programming languages, to help bridge the skills and talent gap in your software engineering team. 

You may only focus on one when it comes to upskilling and reskilling programmes. Ultimately, it depends on the size of your business and the potential within your existing workforce. You should determine whether you have the in-house resources to conduct these programmes or whether you need to outsource your initiatives to a third-party training provider.

These upskilling and reskilling schemes can also help support your talent attraction and retention strategies. How? Well, if candidates seeking software engineer jobs see that you offer upskilling and reskilling opportunities, your investment in their career progression could entice them to join your brand. Similarly, when your existing staff see you offering these training programmes, your commitment to their development could make them more inclined to stay loyal to your brand. 

Overall, upskilling and reskilling programmes for your existing software engineering team can go a long way towards unlocking the potential of your existing workforce. They can also help you take a massive step toward closing the talent gap within your business, helping you remain competitive in a busy market.

Source Software Engineers Through Outsourcing/Contract Work

Another way you can respond to the talent shortage is to consider outsourcing. With outsourcing, companies typically turn to software engineer recruitment agencies for support. These specialist consultancies will have an extensive network of IT engineers who can come into a business on a temporary basis to fill gaps in their software engineer jobs. 

The same goes for contract workers. You’ll often find a decent pool of temporary talent ready and waiting to work on short-term projects or to help supplement your existing team's expertise. This allows you to scale your workforce efficiently and access a diverse range of skills without the commitment of a full-time hire.

There are many advantages to outsourcing software engineering talent, which we’ll highlight below:

  • Cost-effective solutions: Outsourcing to a third party to provide temporary software engineers allows businesses to dictate how many professionals they can afford and for how long. For example, suppose you require a software engineer to work on a six-month project. In this scenario, you can budget for their services for that duration without committing to long-term contracts.  With outsourcing, you’re not required to pay for things like insurance and company benefits as you would with permanent hires. These costs are covered by the third party or software engineer contractor. You simply pay the contractor for their services, which could be an hourly or daily rate.

  • Time savings: Outsourcing your software engineers to close the talent shortage and skills gap within your business can save you time. Software engineering recruitment agencies can do all the candidate sourcing for you, from sourcing to placing engineers in your organisation. This benefit of outsourcing saves you time on having to scope the market for niche and hard-to-find talent. Software engineering recruitment agencies and third-party outsourcing firms have access to a wider network of contractors and know how to filter the market to find who you need to close the talent gap. As a result, they can onboard software engineers into your organisation at the drop of a hat—the perfect solution for responding to hiring needs in a timely fashion.

  • Access to specialist software engineers: When you partner with an outsourced provider to help combat the talent shortage in your software engineering team, they will present you with specialist engineers. As contractors are essentially self-employed professionals, they’re typically experienced and highly skilled people who have worked on similar projects to yours and know how to best support your business. Outsourcing also allows you to tap into a more diverse pool of software engineers. By partnering with a third-party provider, you’ll be connected with talent who have the precise skills you need to close your talent shortage. You may also be introduced to contractors with the niche skills you didn’t know you needed to advance your company. 

  • Global software engineer talent pool: While helping you source software engineers with specialist skills, outsourcing can also help diversify your software engineering team. Recruitment firms can introduce you to a broader talent pool, targeting professionals worldwide until they find the right fit for your business that helps you close the talent gap. This benefit is especially valuable if you operate globally or are open to remote and hybrid working. If you’re considering outsourcing your software engineering recruitment needs, research different providers to ensure you get the service and the required talent. Collaborating with third-party providers can be a flexible and scalable solution for navigating industry challenges like the talent shortage.

Rethink Your Software Engineering Recruitment Strategy

The last point we want to make to support you in handling your business's talent shortage is to rethink your software engineering recruitment strategy. Successful companies looking to combat skills and talent gaps should continuously seek ways to improve their employee attraction and retention strategies. Organisations should also find effective approaches to ensure they remain adaptable to the evolving tech market to gain a competitive advantage and secure in-demand software engineers.  

Below are key approaches you can take when rethinking your software engineering recruitment strategy to combat the talent shortage in your business.

Embrace Remote Work and Expand Your Talent Pool 

Many companies adopted the working-from-home trope during the pandemic, some out of necessity rather than choice. Once the lockdowns lifted and people returned to work, some businesses opted for solely remote working, a hybrid approach, or a return to the old-school five-day week in the office. All options have their pros and cons. 

During a talent shortage, where quality professionals are few or far between, being open to the hybrid work approach is a smart option to broaden your talent pool. Here, you’ll widen your reach with the ability to tap into global markets where professionals can complete the tasks you need to support your software engineering team from a remote setting. This approach to your hiring strategy can help your business expand its diversity, flexibility and scalability regarding your talent acquisition. 

Referring back to our upskilling and reskilling point, consider more non-traditional candidates as part of rethinking your software engineering recruitment strategy. Implementing programmes to upskill and reskill talent from other backgrounds with transferable skills can allow you to expand your talent pool with a new wave of professionals with the potential to fill your software engineer jobs. 

Focus on Your Employee Retention Strategy

Retaining software engineers is equally important to attracting professionals to your business. This is especially true during a talent shortage when competition for specialists is high, and you can't afford to lose your best people. Therefore, to ensure you effectively combat the talent shortage in software engineering, you should consider ironing out your employee retention strategy

When thinking about your process for retaining talent in your software engineering team, you could consider implementing the following:

  • Have a clear mission, vision and values
  • Establish a transparent work environment
  • Invest in the latest cutting-edge tech
  • Provide your ambitious IT talent development opportunities
  • Reward stellar work with top-tier company benefits

Check out our guide on how to retain talent with a fierce IT employee retention strategy to learn more about the five bullet points above. In this guide, we also explain employee retention in detail, its importance, and how to calculate employee retention rates.

Partner with software engineer recruitment agencies

When rethinking your software engineering recruitment strategy during a talent shortage, consider specialist support from hiring experts within the industry. Reaching out to recruitment consultancies can take the strain off your hiring team when resources are low. They can handle your complete recruitment process, from sourcing, screening and placing permanent and contract software engineers into your business.

Here’s what you can benefit from when partnering with software engineer recruitment agencies:

  • A software recruitment agency can save you time and money
  • Software recruitment agencies have access to a wider talent pool
  • Software recruiters are industry experts
  • A partner to act as an extension of your brand
  • Software engineering recruitment agencies can help you scale

Check out our guide on how software recruitment agencies can galvanise your brand to discover more about this topic and the points listed above.

Let’s Wrap up Combating the Talent Gap of Software Engineers

Addressing the talent shortage in software engineering involves taking various approaches. As discussed in this guide, you can combat the talent gap by investing in the development of current employees through upskilling and reskilling, tapping into global talent pools through outsourcing, and refining your hiring processes to embrace remote work and partnerships with specialist consultancies. 

Ultimately, these proactive measures can help you respond to your immediate hiring needs and the talent gaps within your software engineering team. 

If you found this guide useful, check out our guide on the 10 top tips on how to attract software engineers to discover more valuable approaches to handling the talent shortage.

Ready to Shake Up Your Software Engineering Recruitment?

Are you looking to overcome the software engineering talent shortage? If so, we can help you. Unlike average software engineer recruitment agencies, which say they can support you but really don’t have a clue, our specialist consultants can deliver genuine value to your hiring strategy. Our experts go against the grain and will work closely with you to find the software engineers and industry go-getters to breathe new life into your brand.

Chat with us today and discover how our software engineering recruitment solutions can support you.