The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on budgets at organizations of all sizes. Spending is down across the board, and that is unfortunately leading to layoffs.
However, there are some encouraging signs that the economy is rebounding, so tech firms could soon be looking to that large talent pool of tech professionals looking for work. They should also look beyond their geographical location as the coronavirus crisis has made us realize that remote work is just as effective as in-person work. This can help expand both your talent pool and your organization’s diversity.
IT departments are not immune, say multiple industry sources like CompTIA, Janco Associates and others.
According to CompTIA, IT occupations in all sectors of the economy declined by an estimated 134,000 jobs in July, and the unemplo0yment rate of IT occupations is 4.4%. Janco Associates estimates that just 25,000 new IT job will be created in 2020, and there are 163,000 fewer tech jobs than just a year ago.
That means the hiring pool should be large for when IT departments and tech firms are ready to fill those roles.
Luca Jacobellis, president and chief operating officer of AV and IT provider OnePath, said the company no longer has to think about its hiring pool being in just the relative vicinity around any of the firm’s U.S. offices.
“We’re really leaning into this whole situation and saying, ‘You know what, the US is our hiring pool,’” Jacobellis says. “It gives us the opportunity to not just look for the best and brightest in our local markets, but really the best and brightest anywhere.”
As organizations like OnePath and many others begin to think differently about where exacvtly their hiring pool is, remote work is also allowing companies what have been looking for more diverse candidates to tackle those issues.
According to Larry Whiteside, Jr., a seasoned cybersecurity expert and co-founder and president of the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals, this gives organizations the chance to look outside of their geographic areas for both diverse and talented IT.
For cybersecurity specifically, those jobs are being moved to remote positions more than ever. Previously, some cybersecurity jobs could have been remote positions, but those organizations felt that other positions that had access to sensitive customer information needed to be on site to man security operations centers (SOCs) with large screens.
“But with the pandemic as it forced people home, (organizations) are realizing they can do the same jobs regardless of where they sit,” Whiteside says. “In this big SOC environment, it’s very easy for one analyst to stand up from their desk, walk over to another analyst to talk about something.”
“Now, in this environment, is that really hindered?” Whiteside says. “Well, not really, now that people are starting to realize that there are tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams that allow for this quick collaboration.”
According to Whiteside, hiring for remote positions – across virtually any tech sector – can help companies hire diverse candidates if they’re in more rural areas or away from major population hubs.
“We hope that companies will utilize this in a meaningful way to say, ‘Now that we’re not bound by this physical thing, we an do better as it relates to hiring and being more prescriptive in going after certain people.”