How Can Silicon Valley Startups Overcome the Tech Talent Shortage?

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In the early twentieth century, Silicon Valley has been the home to a vibrant, growing electronic industry as more high-tech companies get established across the Santa Clara Valley; it is an industry that began through experimentation and innovation in the fields of radio, television, telecommunication, military electronics and the likes.

But in spite of Silicon Valley being considered as the centre of technology universe, finding world-class talent is becoming a struggle for many companies in today’s competitive job market. It is even harder when you’re a startup competing with companies like Google and Facebook for software developers, engineers and other tech hires.

Not only that, other cities across the U.S. are already attracting some of the best and brightest tech talents that make recruiting software and engineering talent even harder to find that it has ever been. Especially today, every company is trying to transform itself into a tech company and more roles related to software engineering are spreading into retail, finance, and other industries as employers rely on automation, big data and mobile apps to deliver value to their consumers.

But is there really a shortfall of tech talents or could it be that companies are just exaggerating their concerns about this talent shortage in the US?

This subject has now sent plenty of debates, some might describe it as not so much of a talent shortage as an excessive inflation side effect of the tech industry’s barriers to entry and self-imposed recruiting parameters. Others might refer to the tech skills gap and cite research like the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2016.

The IT resource Harvey Nash and auditing firm KPMG surveyed over 3,000 technology leaders for their annual CIO survey, in which they found that an extremely surprising 65% of CIOs think that a lack of talent will prevent their organization from keeping up with the pace of change. The number marks an increase of about six-point over the year 2015’s survey, where 59% expressed that sentiment. It is clear that the companies are feeling the pressure and the effects of not being able to source the tech talent that they need, wherever you land on the issue.

Why is it that qualified tech talents are becoming more and more hard to find? And why are technical roles are so challenging to fill?

Indeed surveyed over 1000 tech hiring managers and recruiters to understand how the tech talent shortage is impacting their businesses. Almost 90% said that they find it challenging to find and hire technical talent, with 36% find it “very” challenging especially for elite job titles like software architect and product manager.

The data collected also showed job seeker interest in software architect job posting meets only 29.4% of the employer demand while dev ops job postings meet only 39.6%. To achieve their hiring goals, companies often settle for subpar candidates, with results showing over half (53%) of respondents have hired tech talent despite the candidates not meeting the job description requirements.

Here are few more reasons why tech talents might just be getting harder to find in Silicon Valley:

High Cost of Living and Housing.

The cost of housing is out of control. For a young professional that would try and start a family while launching a career, the high cost of living in the Silicon Valley can be close to impossible. Even with the tech contraction, small unemployment rates, and hundreds of jobs creation, for a region with an already severely limited housing supply, the result is high home prices and rentals. Although progress in areas like Mountain View, where units are planned near Google, and in San Francisco along transit corridors, housing are finally being approved.

Raising a family

In relation to the high-cost homes, finding a home suitable for raising children is another challenge. Families more often choose to live outside of the city as proven by a 2012 report that San Francisco had the lowest percentage of children of any major metropolitan area.

Too many competition

One of the biggest reasons why tech talents perhaps leave Silicon Valley for other tech hubs is because of too many competition, it gets difficult to stand out. With so many up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. and across the globe, professionals are realizing that they are not limited to one place to be successful in their careers.

Now, we know that the tech talent war is hurting innovation, business and operations.

To address the challenges in hiring tech talent, many recruiters should take a more holistic approach by evaluating factors beyond education such as soft skills; requirements that are important to a candidate but aren’t always transparent on a resume; including communication ability, temperament and collaboration.

Racial and Gender inequality can also be a factor that holds back more than half of society from the tech sector. These problems are not self-correcting; their resolution requires dedication from leadership. We must be understanding, empathetic and open to other’s viewpoints.

Also, in acknowledging these challenges, partnering with a specialty job site that could provide top talent based on coding skills, education and work experience can help employers hire the best tech professionals.

At the same time, we need to remember that budding engineers are talented and are eager to learn. The duty of cultivating talent lies in the hands of the employers. We should know – Developing tomorrow’s engineers requires investment in promising, smart people and recognizing the talent are being ignored.

The brightest people want to work for the best companies, so the best way to talent is with a culture where they want to stay and grow. Instead of arguing over the limited talent pool, employers must learn to invest resources to develop talented people – even though another company might take them away.

We need to embrace the differences between each and one of us, working with justice and equality. By committing ourselves to this, we should be able to solve this problem. And then, with all of these, we should be able to realize how much talent has been in front of us the whole time.

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