Recruiting new talent now biggest challenge for CTOs, says STX Next research


Research from STX Next, the European software development company specialising in the Python programming language, has found that 41% of CTOs report hiring to be their biggest challenge at present.

This comes as unemployment rates fall in the UK, Europe and USA after peaking earlier in the pandemic, meaning fewer candidates to fill roles, despite increasing demand for digital technology. 

The survey also suggests that the majority of tech leaders value soft skills highly when looking to address staffing shortages. 83% of CTOs stressed the importance of feedback from peers on soft skills when evaluating employee performance. In addition, 81% highlighted a good culture fit as an important hiring criterion, second only to proficiency of technical skills (83%).

The findings were taken from STX Next’s 2021 Global CTO Survey, which gathered insights from 500 global CTOs. Other key findings from the research included:

  • When focusing on individual growth of their team members, 53% of CTOs prioritise soft skills – such as attitude, communication and creativity – over hard skills.
  • The leading causes of delivery problems for teams were overcommitment (cited by 23%), bad estimations (19%) and technical debt (13%) – these all relate to gaps in soft skills, such as time management or communication issues.
  • 68% of respondents reported that the increase in remote working hadn’t had a negative effect on relationships with team members – soft skills can still be demonstrated whether working in the office or from home.
  • 77% of CTOs reported a preference for hiring new employees from outside of their organisation.
  • When sourcing new talent, 72% of CTOs said the most efficient way to identify prospective team members is through employee referrals.

Maciej Dziergwa, CEO at STX Next said: “The biggest change in this year’s report compared to last year is that hiring has risen right to the top of the agenda for CTOs. There are lots of vacancies in technical roles but not enough people to take them, meaning individuals searching for employment now have the upper hand in a competitive job market.

“Hard skills are a given for the majority of roles in the tech industry, but this data shows how blending these with soft skills is vital to a team’s success. Put simply, to impress your CTO, you need to code well and communicate well. It’s really encouraging to see this increasing awareness of soft skills, and we expect this emphasis to continue growing throughout 2022.” 

Dziergwa concluded: “Leaders now need to focus both on retaining high-quality talent and attracting fresh blood, while still keeping in mind innovation and making the right tech decisions. The ability to motivate staff, build their skills and look after their emotional wellbeing requires a different set of capabilities entirely. Successfully blending the two elements is the ultimate challenge of any tech leader.”

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