Jul 11 2022

7 Ways That Small Businesses Can Attract Top IT Talent

It’s a competitive marketplace. Here’s how to convince tech experts to work for your SMB.

With digital transformation accelerating across all business sectors, it’s not surprising that IT specialists are in high demand: 149 million digital jobs will be created by 2025 in fields such as privacy, data analysis, cybersecurity and AI, according to LinkedIn and Microsoft. Yet, the talent supply is failing to match this demand, making the hunt for tech employees competitive — especially for small businesses, which may not be able to match the pay and perks associated with larger companies.

“The demand is far outstripping supply,” says Sean Middleton, chief revenue officer of Toptal, whose company helps match top freelance talent to open jobs. “People are working from home, living on their phones, interacting with apps that produce data, and more.”

The result: Not only have most businesses digitized their customer interface, but the need for tech specialists has also spiked so quickly that much of today’s workforce needs to be trained (or retrained) to adapt to the influx of digital jobs.

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So, how can you lure top tech talent to your SMB? Here are seven ways.

  1. Build relationships with IT experts: If your organization does not already have expertise on staff or on contract, deputize someone to be your company’s recruiter. This person should attend networking events, join an association for IT professionals such as ISACA, and maintain a database of talent so you have a pool to draw from when the time comes. 
  2. Highlight career development: “There is an opportunity for young professionals to learn more skills in a small business, and it is something that small businesses can offer as an incentive,” says Darron Sun, head of IT at the Hong Kong Housing Society and a member of the ISACA Emerging Trends Working Group. Compared with large corporations that can hire an IT staff that focuses on a specific domain, employees of small businesses may need multiple skills, which can be important for long-term career growth.
  3. Offer flexibility: IT talent usually prefers a loose working style and autonomy, says Sun. “Having flexible working hours and an open-office environment are a must for IT staff.”
  4. Focus on well-being: A 2018 survey conducted by the tech job website Dice found that tech job seekers were more interested in great healthcare benefits than impressive titles. “As IT staff increasingly pay attention to their overall well-being, small businesses should consider including wellness programs in their benefits package, including things like healthy snacks, yoga classes and athletic gear reimbursement,” says Sun.
  5. Consider rotations over promotions: In this complex IT environment, IT workers may want to develop their careers horizontally to learn skills outside of tech to better climb the corporate ladder. For example, says Sun, a promotion to a technical consultant or specialist may benefit staff who are aiming to develop their management skills.
  6. Stay connected: “A fair wage is table stakes,” says Middleton. “Regardless of the industry, everybody wants to feel connected to the work they’re doing and that it has an impact. When employees understand and feel invested in the company’s bigger mission, they consistently deliver a higher work product.”
  7. When in doubt, outsource: Bringing in outside help can be a cost-effective way of reducing the burden on existing staff while you hunt for a more permanent solution — or it can be the solution itself. Consider the various managed IT services and staff augmentation options that a trusted partner such as CDW can offer. 

RELATED: Learn how your business can benefit from emerging cloud trends.

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