In the first six months of 2018, Atlanta is set to be the second-most-active market in the U.S. for tech hiring.
“Just read the news,” says David Sheehan, branch manager at Robert Half Technology
in Atlanta, “Stories about corporate hacks and exploits are everywhere, and those are just the ones we hear about. Getting hacked is bad for business, and companies are stocking up on top tech professionals to be as secure as possible.”
The need to beef up cybersecurity and demand for other tech skill sets is causing the Atlanta job market to heat up with IT opportunities. Of 2,600 CIOs polled in the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report, 26 percent plan to hire full-time technology workers in the first half of 2018 — up 12 points from a year ago — and 56 percent expect to hire IT personnel to maintain current staff levels if any employees depart.
This growth is good news for candidates, but it could present a hiring challenge for employers hoping to bring in the best and brightest the area has to offer. Below are tips for hiring managers and job seekers navigating the red-hot Atlanta job market this year.
Find the starting salaries for more than 75 IT jobs:
Hiring challenges and top areas of growth
Atlanta is a tough playing field for employers because of competition over top candidates. More than half (60 percent) of CIOs in Atlanta believe it’s already challenging to find skilled IT professionals. Here are the skills they need most right now:
- Cybersecurity — Protecting information is a huge deal for many companies, and instilling confidence in customers about the security of their data is a top priority.
- Wireless network management and development — With the skyrocketing number of devices connecting to networks, it’s important for companies to make their networks efficient and safe.
- Database management — Companies that not only know how to utilize their data but to optimize and safeguard it have the advantage.
And that’s not all. “Employers within the healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, travel, finance and logistics fields are creating opportunities for database administration and analysis talent, as well as for help desk professionals,” says Sheehan. “Also, business intelligence, security, cloud computing and big data will continue to be important areas of growth in Atlanta for strategic business initiatives.” He says robotics automation is another field that is taking off.
When asked to name their top priorities, the CIOs surveyed listed the following goals:
- Upgrading existing systems to improve business efficiency (29 percent)
- Innovating and investing in new technologies to help grow business and stay ahead of the competition (21 percent)
- Maintaining IT security systems to avoid breaches, safeguard company information and inspire confidence (20 percent)
- Retaining staff to ensure smooth operations (17 percent)
Employers: How to get what you want
Thanks to Georgia Tech and other schools in the area, Atlanta has a strong pool of local IT talent. However, demand is high and the supply isn’t always there. “In a competitive hiring environment,” Sheehan says, “hiring managers should research their market and competitors and take note of what they’re doing.” And since job searches can be long and costly, dedicated IT staffing agencies
can help companies save both time and money by drawing on their specialized resources and insider knowledge of the industry.
Sheehan also emphasizes putting together a compelling compensation package, including competitive salary and bonuses, plus non-monetary perks like a solid benefits package, flexible work schedules and professional development opportunities. The Atlanta job market is currently tipped in the candidate’s favor, so it’s important to make your company as attractive as possible to appeal to applicants. This is particularly true for mid-level and senior positions and jobs that require specialized skills.
Also, look beyond technical abilities. Sheehan stresses that people skills are just as important. “Developers and engineers are being called on more and more to speak to internal and external customers,” he says.
Candidates: How to maximize opportunities
You have a lot of options, but how do you make sure you choose the best one? Sheehan says experience has taught him that salary isn’t the only important variable. “Choose what you’re most passionate about and focus your energy,” he says. “Do not spread yourself too thin or go down a different path from one you feel strongly about.” And in a sector known for changing very quickly, he advises being mindful of which paths have strong potential for growth and longevity.