Philadelphia’s Race to Hire Quality Tech Talent – Tendo Systems

This is a guest blog post from Kelly Makovsky, Vice President of Business Operations at Tendo Systems

As VP of Operations for a rapidly growing tech startup, attracting quality talent to support our product development goals is top priority. Yet, we are in one of the hottest employment markets in recent decades with record-breaking competition for tech talent. Some days the race to hire good people feels like a track and field event, where the win comes down to a razor thin margin of just seconds.

Today’s contest for talent is real. According to a CompTIA analysis of Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights data, 58% of the nation’s largest metro areas posted at least a 20% increase in tech job postings between the first and second quarters of 2021, adding 117,022 new jobs in 148 metro areas in six months! Cities with the strongest job growth include Miami (29%), Phoenix (26%), Austin (25%), Dallas (24%), Denver (20%), Atlanta (20%) and New York (19.6%). Philadelphia is also experiencing a strong 16% growth rate with 18,930 tech job postings in Q2 2021 alone.

“The hiring freeze that crippled most firms’ ability to hire during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly lifted for most companies,” explained Mark Barbadora, managing director and co-founder of Philadelphia-area tech recruiting firm, TripleScreen Search and Staffing. “Now that the restrictions have been removed, competition for talent has exploded. This is true not only here in the Philly region, but in the rest of the country, as well,” he added.

Tech firms, alone, added 80,600 workers in the first half of 2021 yet the demand for tech jobs isn’t limited to these companies. Many non-tech firms are hiring more workers with a variety of tech skills, such as AI and machine learning and digital project management. The intense demand for tech talent has area employers raising wages and offering work-from-home flexibility and other incentives to differentiate themselves from the pack.

“The #1 incentive right now is the flexibility to work from home,” added Barbadora. “Candidates want jobs in higher-paying markets such as Austin, Boston, and Salt Lake City without relocating. Across all demographics, very few employees want to go back to an office full time.” LinkedIN’s Glint unit surveyed more than 300,000 employees around the world, asking what type of work environment they want most and the majority, 56%, voted for a hybrid option. Another 31% wanted a purely remote setting. 

In today’s new post-lockdown world, tech employees not only prioritize the ability to work from home but also other not-so-obvious characteristics. For instance, many candidates seek companies that are mission-driven and value inclusivity. Tendo Systems is taking steps to create a modern working environment that accommodates both current and emerging needs. 

What Tech Workers Want: 5 Key Characteristics

As Tendo supercharges hiring efforts with the goal of tripling its employee base by the end of 2022, we are speaking with many tech jobseekers and learning what they value most from employers. Here are their most sought-after company characteristics:

1) Modern Tech Stacks – Technologists want the opportunity to learn and work with a modern technology stack, emerging technologies, and a cloud-native architecture. Software engineers want the opportunity to be creative and level-up their professional experience working with the newest languages and architectures. At Tendo, we are employing the most agile methodologies, dynamic, market-level data structures, and modern tools to create a consumer-grade health care platform. We are also committed to helping employees build advanced skills on the job.

2)  Mission-Driven  Increasingly, job seekers want to immerse themselves in organizations that are mission-driven with a clear purpose that aligns the entire organization. At Tendo, our mission is to provide a trusted connection between patients, clinicians, and caregivers by creating software that provides seamless, consumer experiences throughout the care journey. We seek to transform the healthcare journey for all, a powerful goal that inspires meaningful work experiences especially as everyone who works at Tendo is a patient or a caregiver themselves. Finding a way to connect the work to the individual is motivating, helping team members to feel more personally invested in creating the best product possible. 

3) Workplace Flexibility – According to the aforementioned LinkedIn survey, only 13% of job seekers prefer to work in an office all the time. While this pendulum may swing towards the middle, many predict the work-from-home trend is here to stay. Employers need to lean into this trend, both in terms of where employees work and at what times during the day, too. The key is flexibility and understanding that the traditional 9 to 5 structure may not work for everyone. Today’s digital workforce expects the freedom to balance personal and professional activities, whether it is watching their child’s soccer game at 3pm, or working at non-traditional times (late evenings, early mornings, etc.).   

4) Open Communication – Job seekers want open communication and a regular cadence of communication opportunities not just with their managers but with the entire organization. Provide frequent opportunities for employees to seek feedback and provide input, and regular ways to come together as a company to share updates across departments. This allows leadership to demonstrate how each group supports the company’s larger goals and ensures everyone is connected through mutual understanding. Dedicating time to this initiative allows each employee to know how their own work impacts the bigger picture. It also sets the employees up to be company ambassadors because they can educate others about the company from a place of authority.

5) Caring and Inclusive Culture – A caring and inclusive culture that encourages everyone to equally take an active role in driving the mission is high on employees’ wish lists, and key for ongoing mentoring and growth. It sets the stage for free-flowing collaboration without fear of reproach for volunteering an unexpected idea or uncommon perspective. It makes clear that all employees are appreciated, and their ideas and efforts are valued. 

The Tendo BREATH program is one way we show employees we care. Each year, Tendo employees receive a cash bonus with the stipulation that they spend it on themselves and share how they spent it via an internal Slack channel. This gift of appreciation encourages staff to focus on their personal wellness and has the added benefit of helping everyone learn more about each other. One employee used his bonus to buy a paint sprayer for DIY home projects, another used her bonus to travel to Peru, and another bought a mountain bike – sharing outside interests makes people feel known as individuals and personally connected to the organization as a whole.

In the technology world, the only constant today is change. Software engineers, product managers, data scientists, technical architects – these and many other roles are highly sought after across many industries, especially healthcare. The best employers will stay closely in tune with the changing needs of the workforce and, not coincidentally, attract top performers.  

To learn more about the many opportunities at Tendo Systems, click here.