Listings for tech leadership roles on LinkedIn throws some light on this. In January 2020, 90 candidates applied to each such posting on an average. Today, it stands at over 190 applications per job post. While there are openings, it is getting equally harder to actually land that job offer for a senior role.
Some may be more desperate than others to accept new job offers, given the pressure in their current jobs. And companies are taking advantage of the demand-supply situation.
“In general, today companies are at an advantage since the average pay hike being given has dropped drastically from pre-Covid 19 levels. Many IT professionals who are looking for jobs across levels are accepting even trivial hikes of 15-20% from their previous drawn CTCs since they are aware that increments and bonuses at their current employers may not be very attractive for this financial year. There are also candidates who are joining new employers for the same or even lower CTCs than their previous drawn, especially if they have been benched or laid off from their current companies or are witnessing severe job insecurity,” said HR consultant Souvik Ghosh, who’s the founding Partner at Maxima Group.
The job offers are also related to CIOs’ proficiency in select skills that are in high demand today. And the prize for answering that the biggest in demand is experience in digital transformation. Experience in IT security will only boost your application.
According to Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services, employers are looking for skills and people who can develop a digital strategy.
“Today, there are many technology solution providers having different products for digital transformation, but to streamline and strategize digitalization in any company, a CIO or CTO role is very important. Therefore, companies are looking for people who understand business and can take decisions that will add value to their revenue,” Mishra said.
Apart from digital transformation, the ability to manage and foster data is also a key aspect of an employer’s perspective in the CIO job market. As organizations from SMB to large scale are investing in cloud, hybrid, and remote working technologies. The current momentum is the right time for IT leaders to switch jobs. For the ones who have expertise in managing new technologies and can support business outcomes, have an open job market with a vast pool of opportunities in every industry.
While IT leadership roles continue to be one of the most hired and sought after, other functions such as developers, testing and quality assurance are also witnessing a comeback. Ghosh emphasised that overall, the scale of fresh IT hiring is at 30% of pre-Covid 19 levels and it appears that it will rise.
“Currently employers are looking for IT leaders who have expertise in next generation technologies such as AI, Big Data and more. Apart from this, companies are now migrating to cloud amid Covid-19 which is also a major factor behind shortlisted CIOs on the basis of their exposure for this kind of cloud support and IT projects,” Ghosh added.
Even the IT leaders who are looking at the throne of a CIO can confidently step on the ladder today, Mishra points out. “The current job market has been rewarding such profiles as employers can get a senior IT professional who is passionate to step into the CIO’s shoes and will burn a smaller hole in the pocket in terms of salary negotiations.”
Newer avenues for CIOs
Counterintuitive to the prevalent notion that jobs are being lost, hiring at a tech leadership position is almost at an all-time high. “Therefore, not a lot of companies have the leverage to negotiate on lesser salaries for good tech leaders as there is plenty of demand for good and experienced talent,” Roopa Kumar, Co-Founder & COO, Purple Quarter said.
There’s now a host of tech-based C-suite positions that have an influence on the decision-making process of a business, such as Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer, and there are also long-standing positions to consider, including head of IT, vice president of IT, etc for CIOs looking for change.
“With the pandemic, even small businesses especially retail, education, and so on have gone online which has created a demand for technical employees including CIOs and CTO’s to head the vision. Tech leaders have become an important addition to the company boards as companies and startups alike are going digital for better value creation. Not only the volume of demand for CIOs and CTOs are increasing, but also their importance in the success of a business,” Kumar emphasised.
In the last quarter of this pandemic, many leading CIOs and other IT professionals have switched their jobs and a few have even started their own startups. Ultimately, being at the right place at the time is going to be important but that won’t always compensate for the new skills that are expected out of the CIO role today.