Are IT Staffing Firms the Solution to the Tech Talent ShortageWith historical highs in the average time to fill open positions and record jumps in average IT salaries, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling the heat when it comes to finding the people you need on your tech team. The increasing demand on a candidate-driven market inevitably means that hiring managers are getting pretty familiar with the strains of a nationwide tech talent shortage. Yet some experts argue about the reality of this shortage, while many more argue over the right way to resolve it. At MDI, where we have our finger on the pulse of the IT industry, we’re wondering if IT staffing firms are the solution to the tech talent shortage.

The Tech Talent Shortage: Fact or Fiction?

The BLS reports that the US will experience an unfulfilled need for 1 million STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) positions within the next decade. That’s a massive gap in talent, and will be particularly evident in fields such as cybersecurity, where there will be a projected shortfall of 1.5 million workers in the next few years, according to Symantec’s CEO, Michael Brown.

However, some industry thought leaders believe the tech talent shortage is a myth, suggesting that it is a problem of uncompetitive salaries and recruitment strategies that haven’t evolved since the recession. These experts look to studies such as one from, which suggests that what appears to be a national shortage is actually a mismatch between regional demand and supply. Competitive pay, remote work options, relocation packages, and more engaged employer branding would help to solve this disparity, drawing jobseekers to the areas of greater demand.

The Changing Face of the IT Jobseeker

However, no matter which way the data regarding the talent shortage falls, what is clear is that it’s getting harder to find top tech talent in a timely manner. With historically low unemployment rates in the tech industry, it appears that the large majority of people are only seeking jobs passively, with a mere 15% actively responding and applying to job openings.

As such, understanding the typical candidate’s motivations and aspirations is a critical element to a successful recruitment strategy. Despite the 7.7% year-over-year jump in IT salaries, for example, we know that money alone isn’t the sole motivator for top talent. Other factors include benefits, flexibility, company culture, career growth opportunities and more. For IT professionals who are generally content in their current positions but would be open to new career paths, it’s essential to market and deliver an opportunity that’s greater than what they already have.

Are IT Staffing Firms the Solution to the Tech Talent Shortage?

Better employer branding is key, but it’s not the whole picture. Attracting more talent into the STEM field is going to take major initiative, both from industry leaders and educational institutions. City and state governments have also taken action with focused STEM coalitions. It’s clear that a long term perspective is essential.

But we believe there’s another answer. We believe IT staffing firms are the solution to the tech talent shortage. It’s inherently an industry focused on overcoming the challenges of tech employment. Thus, IT staffing firms have an intimate understanding of the candidate market, the generational shift in the tech industry, the impact of evolving enterprise technology, the trends of IT salaries, and, ultimately, what it takes to be competitive. The best IT staffing firms use this knowledge base to work closely with their clients to ensure their hiring initiatives and employer branding are aligned with the market.

Furthermore, IT staffing firms have greater access to the pool of passive candidates than a typical company. Tech pros who are concerned about the confidentiality and time commitment of a dedicated job search are quick to turn to recruiters to search on their behalf. And for every candidate and client a recruiter connects with, their network increases ten-fold, allowing them to build a very powerful, referral-based network.

We’d love the opportunity to share more of our insight. Talk to us today.

Richey BrownfieldRichey Brownfield is the Chief Executive Officer of MDI Group.  If you are interested in learning more about how to justify hiring the best IT talent, contact Richey directly at, or call us 888-416-7949.  MDI Group has offices and specializes in recruiting IT talent in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greenville and Phoenix.