CDI Corporation

3 employment trends for IT and engineering contractors to monitor

There’s no doubt that IT and engineering positions will remain in high demand for the foreseeable future, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 13 percent job growth between 2016 and 2026. This figure outstrips the national average of approximately 6 percent for all U.S. positions.

At the same time, competition for these jobs will be fierce even when taking higher-than-average growth into account. Given the transitory nature of their schedules, it behooves contract employees in this field to take stock of prominent trends that will strongly influence how and who employers hire.

The burgeoning gig economy

As noted by TechTarget, trends like digitization and automation have cut into the number of total jobs and prompted some organizations to employ a greater number of contract employees than ever before. In fact, according to Intuit’s 2020 report, as much as 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will consist of contract employees by that time. This applies across multiple sectors, but is particularly relevant to contractors working in IT (and engineering, to a slightly lesser degree), who will likely have a greater variety of positions available to them than most other temporary workers.

Expanding role of predictive analytics

Predictive analytics have been a force to reckon with in the business world for much of the past decade. Already employed in hiring by major organizations ranging from Google to Wells Fargo, a panel of experts surveyed by Forbes all predicted that this analytical technique would play an increasingly large role in onboarding processes during 2018 and beyond.

Coupled with advances in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics will automate many aspects of recruitment. Hiring managers will make the final decisions, so contractors shouldn’t be tempted to tailor their resumes and applications according to what they believe an AI hiring algorithm might pick up on.

Gamification in hiring

Taking the principle of competing for a job in a more literal direction, gamification isn’t likely to be seen in average applications as yet. However, this technique adoption by globally established businesses, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google and Domino’s Pizza, may bode well for its applicability. In gamification exercises, applicants play online games to gauge their problem-solving and quick thinking skills.

The transience of their employment reduces the likelihood that IT and engineering contractors will be expected to pass gamification tests for their gigs, but it will nonetheless be wise to look out for games as part of applications in the future.

The confluence of workers entering the IT and engineering fields in considerable numbers while demand for their services remains robust should facilitate a wide spectrum of opportunities for contractors within these trades. Yet such contract employees must also continually broaden their skill sets in conjunction with developing trends, or risk being left behind by the fast-paced sector.