Tech Recruiting Trends: Female Representation, the Gender Gap, a Labor Shortage

Inbound recruiting company Datapeople analyzed U.S. tech jobs data from over 10,000 companies between 2019 and 2021 for a report on post-pandemic recruiting trends in the tech industry. The company has made some surprising discoveries about who’s hiring and where, how companies are reacting to the tech labor shortage, where the industry stands on the employment gender gap, and more.

“We’re in a unique position because we’ve been analyzing real-world job descriptions and hiring outcomes for years,” says Datapeople spokesperson Charlie Smith. “Our analyses are based on this real-world hiring data. And while most market reports use government data based only on job titles and basic company info, we go much deeper. Overall, our unique data set and methodology make the findings in this report unique.”

For research purposes and for use in the company’s job description software, Datapeople annotates job outcomes data by job type, company, applicant, and application sources. The company’s research scientists and linguists also use internal research and language models to deconstruct job posts by language attributes, job type, skills, and qualifications. And they factor in job location and multiple employer attributes, not just company name.

“One of the reasons we created this report is because the post-pandemic hiring landscape looks different than the pre-pandemic landscape,” says Smith. “Companies hiring tech workers are trying to adjust to new trends in recruiting, and they have questions. How are other tech companies handling the small applicants pools? Should the company go remote? What candidate sourcing strategies should the company use? This report offers concrete data on what’s actually happening in tech hiring, to hopefully answer some of those questions.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

1. Open tech jobs received a median of 120 applicants in 2019 but only 77 in 2021, confirming the labor shortage.

2. There were 81% more tech jobs advertised in 2021 than in pre-pandemic 2019, exacerbating the labor shortage.

3. Only about 25% of tech job applicants were female.

4. The employment gender gap grows wider as the seniority of a tech job rises (i.e., the more senior a role is, the smaller the female representation is).

5. 80%+ of all applicants to tech jobs come from organic sources (e.g., company career sites, LinkedIn, and online job boards).

6. Yet applicants from referral programs are 9x to 18x times more likely to get hired than applicants from organic sources (indicating a bias among hiring reams towards referred candidates).

7. Meanwhile, 85% of female applicants to tech jobs apply using organic sources.

8. Remote hiring is exploding (e.g., up 300% at Fortune 500 companies) and changing job requirements (e.g., 221% increase in requirements for remote team management).

9. Smaller companies are driving most of the tech job growth, not Fortune 500 or public companies.

10. Tech job growth is higher in emerging tech hubs like Miami and Salt Lake City than it is in traditional powerhouses like Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

11. 25% more tech jobs do not require a degree today than they did in 2019.

12. But while degree requirements are down, requirements for cloud certifications are up.

13. Companies are turning to title inflation (e.g., adding ‘Senior’ to a mid-level job to make it more attractive to job seekers) during the tech labor shortage.

14. Soft skills and generic job requirements are decreasing, although corporate cliches and jargon are still everywhere.

15. Amazon hires way more than any other tech company, and they do so in their own way (i.e., bucking some current recruiting trends).

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