2021 Engineering Staffing: Where Do You Go from Here?

2021 is just around the corner, and staffing plans and budgets need to set in an environment where economic predictability is no sure thing. Do you have a strategy for managing your headcount and roadmap in place? 

"As businesses find themselves in new territory during this year's pandemic, looking ahead and trying to gauge next year's hiring landscape can be daunting," Human Resources Today said. "Recruitment budget planning amid uncertainty means you need to invest in solutions that will allow for flexibility and offer efficiency gains that don't break the bank—and these solutions should also be time-tested, not trendy."

Hiring is not going to be simple. Engineer talent is still hard to find. Salaries continue to rise. And candidates are increasingly choosey, taking their time (two months or more) even when great offers are on the table. Hiring full-time employees is inherently risky. A bad hire is costly and disruptive. 

Remote hiring makes it even trickier to ensure you get the right teammates onboard. “With engineers being in particularly high demand, it’s especially important for organizations to get their [remote] hiring processes right when engaging candidates,” said Recruiter.com. “There’s little room for trial and error.”

So what are alternative ”hiring solutions” that "allow for flexibility and offer efficiency gains that don't break the bank," and that is "time-tested, not trendy?" Many businesses are turning to long-term engineering staff augmentation to engage global talent where high-performing engineers are plentiful, but opportunities are scarce. 

Engineering staff augmentation is nothing new, i.e., not trendy, but new models focused on long-term talent fill a significant gap. U.S. businesses need high-performing full-time engineers, not temporary workers, and need the agility to hire fast with predictable costs. 

With long-term staff augmentation, vetted senior engineers from other regions of the world join U.S. teams as full-time members. These developers are typically highly motivated to join leading companies that are solving big problems. With nearly everyone is working remotely, the geographic location of team members is almost irrelevant. The main difference between the augmented engineers and their teammates is who signs their paychecks.

This staff augmentation model speeds up the hiring process, reduces the HR and management burden for engineering leaders, and makes it easier to add the right skill at the right time with FTE-like developers, and the augmentation firm bears the risk of a bad hire. This may be the kind of flexible, efficient, budget-friendly, proven solution that hiring managers are looking for. 

The value of long-term engineering staff augmentation goes beyond the code, said Micah Parker, VP of Engineering at online health insurance marketplace KindHealth. The obvious benefits are that “you get talent faster and at or maybe a little below market rates,” he said. But the “real surprise is “is that you end up with a cultural augmentation as well as a staffing augmentation, and it’s fantastic. You get a diversity of thought, you get a diversity of experience and your team gets to witness this hunger and thirst to contribute.”

The challenges and opportunities facing CTOs as they plan for 2021 will be the topic of an upcoming "screenside chat" webinar, "Wait, it's Q4 Already? Are Your Staffing Plans and Budget Ready for 2021?" on October 27 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT. Dana Lawson, VP of Engineering at GitHub and VJ LeBlanc, CTO of IZEA Worldwide, will be sharing how they are approaching staffing heading into 2021. Register here

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