The competitive environment technology companies operate in on a daily basis can make it a challenge to acquire the additional technical staff that is often needed to deliver a complex project or ship a software product on time. And when it comes to hiring, a wide range of issues can quickly surface as organizations try to attract increasingly scarce technical talent on a temporary or permanent basis, which is why the tech industry needs all of the staffing help it can get.
Technical staffing firms help tech companies tackle dynamic (and oftentimes unpredictable) hiring markets by providing them with the ability to add engineering and creative talent when required, especially when there are technical or design skill gaps in-house, or when the workload becomes too demanding for the internal engineering team to handle on their own.
One of the main benefits that comes with utilizing IT staff augmentation services is that when the workload subsides, technology executives can choose to scale back their teams without having to worry about affecting full-time employees — or their employment contracts — and the chaos big personnel changes can bring to any organization. Let’s explore some of the ways IT staffing agencies offering staff augmentation services can help your company address these staffing challenges.
Staff Augmentation Services’ Top Selling Points
Technical staffing firms offer tech companies plenty of help with talent recruitment in a hypercompetitive hiring market, including (but not limited to):
- The ability to closely monitor new staff in-house, as opposed to handing extra responsibilities off to an external vendor’s project outsourcing team.
- Take on essential staff for set periods of time — like during a particularly challenging release or a specific phase of a big project — without having to incur the costs that come with hiring full-time employees.
- Reduce the time and effort that searching for locally based skilled talent during a tight labor market usually requires.
- Quickly get hires from IT staffing agencies up to speed on your company’s internal processes, as well as swiftly integrating new technical talent into the project or product teams already staffed by your full-time employees.
- Take up slack when valuable employees take provisional leave, or when you need to quickly add a new skillset to your team, but don’t want to deal with the headaches that come from negotiating permanent or temporary job contracts (tech staffing firms handle contracts and paperwork on their end of things), or the issues that come from trying to lure essential talent away from other firms or competitors.
Examining the IT Staffing Market
While IT staff augmentation companies offer tech firms many advantages, it’s also important to take a look at some of the more systemic risks associated with technical recruiting and staffing market these days (and into the foreseeable future), putting this industry into context:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that there are currently more job openings in the U.S. than jobseekers hunting for work, which means a fundamental shortage of qualified talent in job markets across a variety of industries. On top of that, a survey from Emerson predicted a massive shortfall in available candidates with STEM field backgrounds numbering in the millions over the next few years.
And then there’s the fact that, according to LinkedIn Learning, the technology industry boasts the highest turnover rates (13.2%, based on data compiled from “half-a-billion professionals”) of any other industry, likely due to “high-demand and rising compensation” incentivizing skilled technical workers to choose more lucrative job opportunities when they arise, which they inevitably do.
This all points to how tech staffing services will have a very significant role to play in helping technical firms staff up and down — while keeping the engines of innovation chugging along — for a long time to come.
Why Staff Augmentation Makes Sense
The good news here is that tech companies — due to the dynamic, often-changing staffing requirements stemming from the fast-paced nature of the software industry — are in an exceptionally unique position to take advantage of the staff augmentation paradigm, and circumvent many of the problems and contract issues that come with searching for, hiring, and then trying to retain technical talent in an ultracompetitive job market. Here are eight reasons why:
- Combat High Attrition Rates: As we’ve already discussed, software firms have exceptionally high turnover rates. By taking advantage of the staff augmentation paradigm, tech companies can quickly acquire engineering talent when their expertise is needed most — or replace workers who leave, thus preventing project schedule slippage or delays — while also reducing a lot of the pain and worry high employee attrition rates can bring your firm.
- Target Specific Technical Capabilities: Oftentimes, in-house technical or design skill gaps occur when a specific skill is absent from your team’s overall technical knowledge base. Tech staffing services help you fill those gaps by providing qualified candidates with the skillsets you need, when you need them the most.
- Rapid Team Integration: Because talent coming from IT staffing agencies already have the technical skills your team requires, integrating them into existing software development teams generally happens quickly, without a lot of time or effort lost on additional training.
- Team Acceptance: Full-time employees are more likely to work closely with augmented staff, as compared to members of a remote outsourcing team. Augmented hires generally integrate fairly smoothly inside internal development teams without disrupting the workflow, or being perceived as competition for permanent positions inside the company.
- Reduce Employee Benefits Costs: Full-time employees usually have extensive benefits packages, which can add a considerable amount to a company’s overall expenditures. Supplementary staff don't come with these costs, as benefit expenses are managed by staffing agencies, and generally included in the resource billing rate.
- Reduce General Overhead Costs: When adding permanent employees, expenditures can quickly amass for new computers, screens, phones, office space, desks, parking spaces, and other costs associated with a new body in the office. Staff augmentation lets you avoid, or reduce many of the overhead costs associated with permanent hires.
- Meet Hard Deadlines: Sometimes a project deadline approaches faster than your development team might be ready for. Staff augmentation is the perfect solution when your team finds itself in this situation, letting you hires the extra coding or creative talent you need to deliver quality work on time.
- Staff Flexibly: Software companies are often presented with unexpected challenges (which tend to generate extra amounts of work), or a new project opening up, which means staffing requirements are frequently changing. Technical staffing firms help increase staff when needed, as well as adjust the engineering headcount when the workload lightens up, giving small to midsize companies a lot of flexibility when searching for the skills they need on short notice in a competitive IT hiring market.
Locating Technical Talent Around the World
While staff augmentation agencies do most of the work when it comes to vetting and contracting engineering and creative talent, the client still makes the most important decisions when it comes to where these resources are procured, including the preference for working with augmented staff onsite, or utilizing onshore, nearshore, and quite often, offshore staffing.
Onsite augmented staffing is an obvious option to choose when you want to bring on additional technical or creative talent and then integrate it into your project or product team as swiftly as possible, or if the collocated team is the preferred way of software development for your company. New additions work right in your office, under your control, giving you direct supervision over their day-to-day workflow, and allowing for face-to-face collaboration among the team members.
Domestic outsourcing, also known as “onshore outsourcing,” is another great option when the talent you need can’t be found in your immediate vicinity. When working with augmented staff via the domestic outsourcing model, your internal team will be interacting with people living and working in the United States, but in a different city, region or state. Language and cultural barriers aren’t an issue here, and time zone differences are minimized, which should help keep the project moving along at a brisk pace.
Nearshore staffing involves working with distributed team members in a different country. A big difference between “nearshore” and “offshore” staffing is that nearshore IT workers are located in the same time zone as your company, or only a few time zones apart, which enhances communication during normal work hours. A good example of this would be a software firm in California working with a nearshore dedicated team based in Mexico, or a German company employing remote talent coming from the growing pool of IT experts based in Eastern Europe.
Of course, when there’s a special skill your company needs, and you can’t find it locally, recruiting offshore talent is always an option (and often less expensive than nearshore or onsite solutions). Time differences, language and cultural barriers can sometimes be an issue here, although experienced IT staff augmentation companies can help you work through these issues, providing you with qualified offshore candidates with flexible work schedules to help your company achieve its goals.
Why Staff Augmentation Benefits Outweigh the Risks
Different approaches to managing technical resources on projects naturally come with different kinds of risks. With staff augmentation, these risks and drawbacks can come in the form of having to still train supplemental hires to some degree on how your company operates, allocating the additional resources it takes to manage augmented staff, and understating that talent coming from technical staffing firms are not the same as your permanent hires and generally speaking are brought in for a specific reason.
But with tech firms often burning through resources as they tackle tougher and tougher hiring markets, the benefits of staff augmentation become apparent in how they affect a company’s bottom line, saving software firms money and valuable time that would have otherwise been spent searching for the perfect candidate.
Staff augmentation services also give companies the ability to easily add or subtract team members as needed in a job market where software engineers and creative designers are increasingly difficult to come by. IT staffing agencies can help you rapidly fill internal skill gaps on a tight deadline, closely manage your temporary workforce, and remain flexible when it comes to staffing up or down in a demanding industry that needs all of the technical talent it can get.