As tech talent crunch persists, Indeed’s Iain Hamilton on how companies can fill seats faster

With talent in the driver’s seat, finding the right candidates has become a tougher hunt.

Teams can be the engine of a company’s success, and even as some Canadian tech firms have seen theirs shrink, it hasn’t changed the fact that others are struggling to hire the right talent to fuel their growth.

Recent data from Indeed found that as of the end of January, 27 percent of tech jobs in Canada remained open for 60 days or more. 

“Whenever you take an excess of 60 days to fill a job, that is an empty seat in your business.”

Iain Hamilton

To Indeed’s VP of software engineering Iain Hamilton, it’s an intriguing time in the tech industry. Despite a less favourable economy, the thirst for tech talent hasn’t waned. In fact, Hamilton said the economic landscape has resulted in fewer individuals actively seeking new opportunities, leading to a tight talent pool, and challenges for businesses looking to fill roles.

“Whenever you take an excess of 60 days to fill a job, that is an empty seat in your business, that impacts your business’s productivity and ability to serve your customers,” Iain Hamilton, VP of software engineering at Indeed, told BetaKit in a recent interview.

Although the pace of hiring in the Canadian tech sector has slowed, the total tech workforce in this field hasn’t seen a significant reduction, especially when viewed against the backdrop of a decade-long boom in job growth.

Brendon Bernard, Indeed Canada’s senior economist, highlighted that the bulk of recent tech layoffs appear to have predominantly hit large, global tech companies. According to Statistics Canada, payroll employment in tech industries has slipped only 1.5 percent from its peak in early 2023, but is still up 40 percent from four years earlier.

“The overall resilient job numbers in the sector suggest that layoffs have only been felt in certain pockets of the industry, rather than being widespread,” Bernard added.

This doesn’t mean the landscape remains unchanged. As of March 1, software development job postings in Canada are down 34 percent year-over-year. Indeed has noted a marked drop off in software development job postings on its platform since mid-2022, suggesting some companies have pumped the brakes on expanding their teams, even if few are letting workers go. 

But Hamilton said the fact remains that many Canadian tech companies are still actively hiring, and many are struggling to fill roles that demand a high level of skill and experience. “There is still significantly strong demand for the segment. The job seeker supply constraints still exist,” he added.

“The job seeker supply constraints still exist.”

Per Indeed, the hardest-to-fill roles include principal software engineers, machine learning engineers, site reliability engineers, software architects, and programmers. Between 30 and 40 percent of these roles sit open for over 60 days.

One of the key priorities for companies looking to hire, Hamilton said, is to maintain competitiveness with the marketplace. He said while compensation is a good conversation starter, employees are also looking for a sense of belonging and wellbeing from their employer, factoring in terms like location, benefits, and “who” the company is.

“If they’re a new name, if they have an affinity with the values of the job seeker, or if they offer it and a specific segment, job seekers will find that highly desirable,” he added.

But the immediate issue for companies is actually finding the candidates. Hamilton pointed out that in addition to the difficulty of filling tech tech roles due to their high skill level, the current state of the economy means that job seekers that are still employed are not as active in their job search.

“Typically, job seekers find themselves being a little bit more cautious about proactively moving jobs, and we have definitely seen that there are not as many job seekers in these segments, proactively looking,” Hamilton added.

Given these challenges, Hamilton said companies need to focus on optimizing the recruitment process to ensure open roles reach skilled professionals. To Hamilton, this means going beyond standard job boards and meeting candidates where they already are.

Indeed is tackling this issue through its Tech Network, which is now available in Canada. The Tech Network is aimed at capturing the attention of job seekers where they may already be looking, by distributing job ads across over 25 tech-specific websites—including BetaKit—with a cumulative monthly reach of over 4.4 million total monthly visits. 

“We’re attracting job seekers from highly contextually relevant surfaces where technology networks naturally congregate,” Hamilton said, adding that the tool more than tripled tech role applications on average.

The perks that may attract an individual to a role will be up to each company, but by getting opportunities in front of job seekers more effectively, Hamilton said Indeed is looking to close the gap between employers and tech talent, whether that talent is actively job seeking or not.

Indeed logo

Learn more about Indeed’s Tech Network and the state of tech recruiting.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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