Contract Jobs on the Rise as Reverse Migration Accelerates

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Mar 17, 2016 8:30:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends

The war for talent has already begun, however, if you thought the technology market was tight, get ready. The tech talent pool is now wrought with challenges due to improvements in developing countries.

The United States is now undergoing a reverse migration of human capital in which many skilled professionals are moving back to their home countries. The need for Information Technology talent in India is now surging and has many successful technology professionals moving back home for better opportunities.

India, the second largest smartphone market globally, is expected to have 651 million smartphones by 2019. It comes as no surprise that the country is considered one of the world's fastest growing Internet markets; creating space for tech businesses to flourish, particularly those in the mobile app market. The combination of rapid and continual growth in venture capital investment activity in Indian startups over the last three years and the rapid growth of smartphone and internet usage in India has created the perfect landscape for entrepreneurs in technology. Skilled people from India are now seriously considering heading home for greener pastures, or at least, more familiar ones.

It is not just affecting Indian IT professionals who reside in the United States. Recent Information Technology graduates allured by new and promising opportunities in India are now considering seeking tech work in their home country as opposed to looking for opportunities abroad as they have done in previous years.

What does this mean for IT contracting and the US economy?

In the United States, the impact on recruiting for technology professionals has yet to be seen.  However, many in this talent pool have provided the additional skills and bandwidth desperately needed in areas such as Applications Development, Web Development, Security, Infrastructure and Database Administration for organizations in the United States. This leads us to believe that there will be a severe shortage in skilled tech talent very soon.

It has been reported that the number of unfilled IT jobs in the US tops 500,000 annually with many of these IT jobs being contracting and consulting roles. It is very often that these roles are filled with talent from countries like India here on Visas or H1Bs. The lion’s share of the H1Bs allotted annually by the US government is comprised of technology contract workers. Technology and Consulting companies are the largest employers of these skilled tech professionals with the most to lose if the trend continues.

If the reverse migration numbers continue to rise, we will see much  stronger demand for contract employees, higher hourly wages due to a shrinking talent pool, increased competition, multiple offers per candidate, and longer project timelines and duration because of the inevitably shallow talent pool that will result.

How should I adjust my hiring and recruiting process in response to the reverse migration?

Companies and recruiters are going to have to get more creative and flexible when it comes to sourcing professional tech talent. This could mean being open to hiring tech professionals with less than four year degree or less experience. On the job training, employer-paid IT certifications, and options to work from home will also be on the rise, as these are major perks when it comes to attracting talent. Rather than continuing to recruit the way we always have, it might be time to become more progressive in our approach. This requires a lot of open-mindedness.

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