The State of IT Skills Recruitment in The US for 2021

Having followed an upward trajectory for almost two decades, it was impossible to predict that IT salaries in the US would nearly plateau during 2020. The year also ended with fewer IT jobs than there were when it started. 

In spite of these challenges, which were markedly brought by the coronavirus pandemic, demand for IT skills is higher than ever. As we navigate the path of technological revolution, the need for new applications and solutions continues to grow across all sectors. What can we expect in the year ahead?

Thanks to the 2021 IT skills report from tech screening and interviews platform DevSkiller, we can explore a wealth of insights on IT recruitment in the US and beyond. This latest document is the culmination of 304,645 coding tests taken by software developers in 156 countries around the world.

The trends that will form the focus of our discussion are based on three key findings:

●        The US leads the charge in overseas technical hiring

●        There are four larger labor markets than the US

●        Countries are making more international technical hires than in previous years

Let’s dive into the data and determine where the US stands when it comes to IT skills recruitment.

Driving International Recruitment

For the third consecutive year, the US has been observed as the foremost driver of international technical hiring. The country accounted for just above a quarter of overseas applicants who were tested on the DevSkiller platform.

Austria followed close behind, while the UK joined the podium for 2021 in third place. This makes for the least surprising discovery given the extended lockdown regulations that British organisations had to endure and adapt to as 2020 slowly passed. Fourth and fifth place were accredited to Canada and Poland respectively.

Here are the exact numbers according to DevSkiller:

●        USA – 25.28%

●        Austria – 12.13%

●        United Kingdom – 11.05%

●        Canada 7.42%

●        Poland 4.24%

From cloud applications to communication technologies to outsourcing, there are various forces facilitating the rise of international hiring practices. In difficult economic times, companies may also look abroad in search of affordable and flexible technical expertise. Financially stable businesses might prioritise diversity or scalability here.

Bigger Fish

While the US is primarily driving international technical recruitment, its labor market for overseas hires is now only the fifth largest in the world. This continues the downward trend that was observed by DevSkiller last year when the US dropped to fourth position from second just one year prior.

As suggested in the report, the finding in question has less to do with any shortcomings of American developers and is more about emphasizing the quality of programmers in other markets.

Also in the top five are Brazil and Canada, which happen to be the two main countries where the US recruits developers. Their desirability is owed to the same factors as before, namely proximity and time zone relativity. Russia is also present among the top five largest labor markets for cross-country recruitment. 

Touching briefly on another recurring trend, organisations appear to be concentrating on the allocation of IT skills to nations that are focused on outsourcing. It’s a practice that’s expected to proliferate well into the future as third-party service providers become increasingly popular alternatives to in-house teams.

This brings us to the final trend in our summary of the 2021 DevSkiller IT skills report.

A Global Perspective

Now more than ever, recruiters are setting their sights abroad when seeking solutions to their technical hiring needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the hiring patterns in companies of all sizes and industries. This is most evident in the mass shift towards Telecommuting and remote working arrangements. An unprecedented number of employees are clocking in from home or other locations outside the office.

Along the way, software vendors went into overdrive to roll out solutions that support effective collaboration between off-site team members. Programs and services in this category have also become highly accessible, along with the additional technologies required by virtual workers.

As a result, it’s possible to bridge gaps between countries and facilitate remote operations over any distance.

This year, DevSkiller observed growth in the international hiring percentage for Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. The overall percentages reported for each of these countries, as well as the regions with the highest scores worldwide, are listed and visualised below.

●        Austria – 91.14%

●        Bulgaria – 90.00%

●        Japan – 83.74%

●        United Kingdom – 83.43%

●        Switzerland – 83.01%

●        Uruguay – 81.91%

●        Denmark – 81.40%

●        Cyprus – 79.91%

●        Estonia – 66.67%

●        Australia – 40.04%

●        Chile – 38.80%

●        Canada – 37.57%

●        Indonesia – 21.92%


 Bonus Insights

How about some additional trends?

After all, there’s more to the report we’re discussing than the afore-mentioned facts. This is particularly true for 2021, as DevSkiller has added several new sections to their study. One assesses the operating systems and web browsers used by developers, while another details the leading technologies in the DevOps stack.

You’ll also find various technical hiring and skills insights. This includes the average time that candidates wait to take their coding test.

As per the latest figures, the typical period between receiving an invitation to a programming test and taking it is 2 days and 13 hours. The wait has therefore increased by 7 hours over last year, which may be attributed to longer preparation times among today’s applicants.

Fortunately, the report also suggests which day of the week you should submit your coding test to ensure the fastest response time. The answer was curiously unchanged for the second year running and remains Wednesday. The reason why it’s the most responsive day remains just as much a mystery. What do you think it is?

It’s clear that the IT skills recruitment landscape in the United States is moving ever-further out into foreign territories where talent and opportunities abound. As organisations continue to expand, the future of software development grows increasingly bright. Only time will tell what kind of technologies and trends await us around the corner.

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