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The Tech Talent War of 2023

User Profile
By Damian Scandiffio

Regional Director of Business Development

With all the tech layoffs at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, you may think the talent shortage has subsided. However, that’s not the case. As technology advances and plays an increasingly important role in various sectors, the demand for tech talent has surged, leaving 86 percent of Chief Information Officers to face more competition for qualified candidates and 73 percent worrying about attrition. This has created intense competition among companies to attract and retain the best and brightest minds to drive innovation, develop new products, and gain a competitive edge.

  • As of July 2023, the tech unemployment rate was 2.3 percent, well below the national unemployment figure of 3.6 percent.
  • Most employees laid off by big-name tech companies—including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce—were non-tech workers, including recruiters, middle managers, and support staff. In fact, less than 25 percent were IT professionals.
  • 79 percent of laid-off tech workers found a new job within three months. Over 40 percent of them joined smaller organizations and startups that offered more flexibility and challenging, engaging, and innovative work. The others went back to big tech.

Top five information technology roles

Here are the top five prominent IT roles in demand in 2023.

  1. Machine learning scientist: A machine learning scientist, also known as a data scientist or applied scientist, plays a crucial role in leveraging machine learning techniques and algorithms to solve complex business problems and extract valuable insights from data. Their primary responsibilities revolve around applying machine learning and statistical modeling techniques to various data sets and creating predictive models to drive business outcomes. Average job growth outlook from 2023-2027: 40 percent
  2.  Artificial intelligence (AI) engineer: An AI engineer specializes in developing and implementing AI systems and technologies within a company and plays a vital role in overseeing and managing their AI projects. Their role revolves around designing, building, and deploying AI solutions to solve complex problems and automate processes. This position requires proficiency in mathematics and coding and up-to-date knowledge of AI-related technologies such as machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. Average job growth outlook from 2023-2027: 40 percent
  3. Data scientist: Data is the foundation for informed decision-making and understanding customer behavior and trends. In the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), where connected devices generate vast amounts of data, the role of data scientists becomes crucial. These experts possess the skills to analyze, interpret, and visualize data, making them highly sought-after in 2023 as businesses strive to gain a competitive advantage through data-driven strategies. Average job growth outlook from 2021-2031: 36 percent
  4. Cloud security architect: With the widespread adoption of cloud computing and the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, the role of a cloud security architect has become vital in ensuring the privacy and security of organizations’ data and systems. A cloud security architect is responsible for designing and implementing security measures tailored to cloud environments. They collaborate with various stakeholders to assess risks, define security requirements, and develop strategies to protect sensitive data and infrastructure from threats. Average job growth outlook from 2021-2031: 35 percent
  5. Enterprise application developers: Enterprise application developers play a crucial role in building and customizing specific software products to meet an organization’s unique needs. Whether it’s Salesforce, SAP, or a medical records system, developers specialize in configuring and extending these platforms to align with a business’ requirements and workflows. Average job growth outlook from 2021-2031: 25 percent

Soft skills to look for

Attracting and retaining top tech talent goes beyond technical skills alone. Soft skills are non-technical skills that allow tech workers to interact and maintain good interpersonal relationships with their clients, co-workers, and managers. Look for these soft skills throughout the hiring process to ensure candidates can perform effectively.

  • Analytical: IT professionals need the skills to collect and analyze information to solve unique challenges facing clients or end-users. Analytical skills include critical thinking, data analysis, and research. Indeed has compiled interview questions to assess the candidate’s critical thinking ability and find solutions.
  • Communication: Tech workers must have strong communication skills to communicate complex technical problems, ideas, and solutions clearly and logically. Here are ways to uncover a candidate’s communications skills in an interview.
  • Drive: In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, finding meaning in one’s assigned tasks is crucial for combating burnout and maintaining overall well-being. When employees can connect with the purpose and significance of their work, it can provide a sense of fulfillment and motivation, resulting in drive.
  • Problem-solving: In their day-to-day role, IT professionals must troubleshoot technical problems. To determine the cause of a problem—and the most effective solution—they must possess strong problem-solving abilities.

What tech candidates are seeking

To attract and retain tech talent in today’s competitive labor market, companies must understand the motivations and needs of candidates. Below are a few examples of what job seekers are looking for in a potential employer.

  • Opportunities for growth and development: IT professionals want career mobility and leaders that support their advancement. Does your organization provide continuous skill development and meaningful growth opportunities?
  • Make work meaningful: Top tech talent needs to feel like they are engaging their minds and staying sharp, so ensuring you make their work meaningful is essential.
  • Corporate values: What makes your organization unique to job candidates? To help tech job applicants determine if they’ll be a good fit, share your corporate values with candidates.
  • Flexible benefits and work environment: Tech workers are looking for an environment that fosters work-life balance, such as hybrid work options and/or a 10 hour/4-day work week.
  • Structure/planning/organization/roadmap: When employers place a heavier workload on someone than initially discussed or agreed upon, it can lead to stress, exhaustion, and disengagement. A lack of structure, planning, organization, and a constantly shifting roadmap can contribute to IT worker burnout and dissatisfaction. A well-thought-out roadmap executed as planned can help create a more positive work environment to retain tech professionals.

Related E-book from Aleron Group partner TalentRise: 10 Best-Practice Tips to Attract, Recruit, and Retain Strong Tech Teams for Your Startup Business


With the demand for skilled IT professionals surpassing the available supply until at least 2026, it’s essential to differentiate your organization. To attract and retain top tech talent in 2023, you must understand what motivates IT professionals and go beyond traditional recruitment methods.

Acara Solutions offers organizations a full suite of workforce solutions, including contingent staffing, direct placement, contract-to-direct, executive search, and master vendor programs. To learn more about how we can help you win the war on IT talent, contact us today.

Related infographic: Growth of the Technology Industry