Finding Top Tech Talent During the Pandemic

By W.B. King


According to a recent report by the IT consulting firm Prolifics Testing, on a monthly average, the top three most searched tech job titles in 2020 have been data analyst (26,000), web developer (16,000) and software engineer (15,000). The survey also found that searches for learning the program language Python had an average of 96,100 queries each month followed by SQL (30,000), Java (27,100) and JavaScript (24,500).


In an effort to better understand what tech jobs are popular in the credit union space, Finopotamus reached out to vice president of executive recruiting for the Woodlands, Texas-based D. Hilton Associates, Inc., Jessica Jarman. The firm provides credit unions with executive recruiting, compensation planning, retention and retirement and board leadership consulting services.


Jarman explained that the Prolifics Testing findings are in line with what she is currently experiencing. And as a result of the pandemic, she noted that the way in which employers seek tech talent and the way talent seeks employment have changed.


D. Hilton Associates' VP Jessica Jarman

“COVID-19 has forced our clients to become very creative when it comes to recruitment, specifically the interview process,” said Jarman. “This is changing how companies onboard new employees.”


The pandemic has created new employment trends, explained Jarman, including a larger percentage of “top executives” choosing to retire early rather than wait for COVID-19 to be over. This, in turn, has caused an increase in the number of available senior leadership positions, such as chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief information officers (CIOs).


“We are seeing a substantial increase in compensation for tech positions including base, incentive and supplemental retirement plans to ensure the organization can retain their talent,” she said.


When asked how long it could take to recruit a senior level position, Jarman said the process can take many months.


“A typical timeline for a senior level tech role, including CIO and CTO, tends to take approximately four to six months total,” she noted. “With these roles being highly sought after currently, organizations need to be prepared to offer a competitive compensation package to entice high performing executives to make a move.”

Virtual Vetting


As a result of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, Jarman said D. Hilton Associates has relied “heavily on virtual methods for client communications,” which include vetting candidates during the interview process.


“Our clients are becoming more comfortable using technology to connect and we anticipate that we will continue to use more video conference technology in the future,” she said. “Additionally, during COVID-19, we implemented monthly webinars to keep our clients abreast of changes taking place within the industry. We are planning to keep these webinars moving forward.”


With the noted increase in high-level technology positions, such as a CIO, CTO or vice president, Jarman said clients are “very open to relocating an individual” and will offer a relocation benefit to help assist that individual with the move. She added, however, that it is uncommon for a credit union to cover all relocation costs.


Jarman explained that credit unions usually prefer to fill niche technology positions from within. This approach, she noted, creates an environment where employees “feel that there are growth and learning opportunities” at the organization. But in some cases, credit unions are forced to look for talent outside of the organization, and sometimes outside of the industry.


“It can be challenging for credit unions to compete from a compensation perspective for specialty/niche positions with larger out-of-industry organizations,” she said. “When recruiting for top IT roles such as CIO or CTO, we have found that credit unions are open to considering talent from all industries.”

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