How to recruit in the middle of the great resignation

A Deep Dive into the People behind the State of Data Survey.

Since the pandemic, people have given their career choices a lot of thought. So much thought that it is causing people to hand in their notice where employers are not providing meaningful employment. They are calling it the great resignation and it is spreading across the globe, with the US being particularly hard hit. With this in mind, we wanted to give clients some insights from our State of Data whitepaper, to help them put measures in place to attract and retain the best talent to their organisation.

The number of job vacancies in the three months to October hit a record high of 1.17 million, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) whilst the percentage of people in unemployment shrank 0.2 points to 4.3%.

There is a paradox, where record numbers of jobs are being advertised to a shrinking number of people looking for jobs. According to Adzuna statistics, the tech industry is advertising a record number of roles in the week ending 5th November.

But what can tech businesses do to attract and retain their staff during this changeable time? To answer this, we need to look at the generations of people that make up the workforce because there is not a one stop shop that suits all age groups.

The tech industry has been particularly hit hard by the so-called great resignation. In the US, for example, a recent survey by TalentLMS estimates that 72% of tech workers are thinking about leaving their current employer in the next year. Clearly a strong talent attraction programme is required alongside an equally robust retention scheme is required to navigate through the next phase that the pandemic has thrown up.

Starting with Gen Z: the youngest and most idealistic generation in the current workforce. When surveyed by LinkedIn, it is this generation that is most likely to love their job and find employers that share their own personal values. However, when they feel disengaged, they do not hesitate to leave. They are mainly looking for higher salaries, faster progression, and better benefits. Latest research shows that 65% of this generation have switched jobs or are looking to do so.

Our own research from our State of Data annual survey shows to attract Gen Z tech talent businesses should focus on 3 key areas. The first area is environment, remote and flexible working ranked high on the motivators when looking for a new role. The Covid pandemic has forever changed how we work and one of the happier outcomes of the last 18 months has been that businesses are allowing their teams to work from home past the mandated government timeframes. Cutting out the commute and all the costs associated with it (time, money, stress) is literally making people happier and hybrid working is something that this generation is attracted to. Gen Z also values being able to work the hours that suit when they feel the most productive. Many of this generation take on 2 or 3 part time roles to give them variety and allow them to work on passion projects rather than being chained to a desk from 9 til 5. Salary is important to this Generation, and this is reflected in our State of Data results, however when faced with a choice between a less interesting but better paid job v’s more interesting work for less pay, candidates were split. This is where the 3rd area comes in: company culture. A culture of inclusivity and corporate responsibility is important to generation z with 83% of younger workers reporting in a recent CBB survey that they wanted to work for organisations that take a stand on important issues such as diversity and inclusion and sustainability and who clearly and authentically demonstrate they are supporting these areas, not just talking about it.

Previous generations want similar things with subtle nuances. Millennials are getting to the dependents stage so there is more of a focus on working from home and flexibility around hours so that they can fit their work around new family demands. They are also more likely to feel the pinch, so salary is important to this group. Women value flexibility more highly than men, who focus more on progression, and this will be a reflection of the unpaid care roles that women more typically take on than men.

Generation X-ers have been in the workplace for 2 or 3 decades and require slightly different attraction methods. This generation tend to value progression along-side work life balance.

If you want to be able to attract multiple generations and keep them it is worth bearing in mind all the different ways to approach this. By treating people as individuals rather than as a whole workforce and tailoring benefits packages or attraction models to each group then you are more likely to be seen as an employer of choice and it will help you get ahead of the competition.

Over the last 12 months we have noticed our clients are desperate to secure the best talent on the market whilst retaining their current team. Apart from the attraction and retention piece, focusing on the recruitment process itself is very important at a time when there is a shortage of talent on the market.


Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the candidate journey is the interview process. On average candidates are off the market much quicker than in previous years from opening themselves to new opportunities, and specifically for Data Engineers this period is around 7 working days. With that in mind, our advice would be


  • Try and stick to 2 stages
  • Avoid technical tests
  • 1st Interview – Telephone or Video (30 minutes)
  • 2nd Interview – Video and Technical (90 minutes)
  • Provide feedback as soon as possible to keep the candidates interested in your brand.

To remain competitive, this is what we recommend.

  • Minimize the interview process ensuring quick turnaround on CV and interview feedback
  • Ensure you’re selling the opportunity, business challenges and culture
  • Adopt a remote first working environment offering flexibility to improve work/life balance
  • Review salary banding (Data Engineering salaries have increased by 17% in 2021 alone)
  • Work with a true Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist Recruitment Consultant


To read more from our State of Data survey please click here.

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