When a job at an organization goes unfilled, it can be tempting to diffuse those responsibilities among other employees on staff. However, there are myriad inherent risks associated with having an unfilled technology position at your organization. Glassdoor estimates there are 263,586 unfilled jobs just in the tech industry that add up to $20.1 billion.
The Costs Of An Unfilled Vacancy
A 2015 Deloitte study found that it takes 94 days to recruit for highly skilled roles (scientists or researchers) and 70 days for skilled production workers. Understandably, employers want such roles to be filled as soon as possible, but the cost of marshaling the resources necessary for a successful hire are high. Hiring managers and HR are tasked with assessing job functions, creating an internal audit of talent, identifying human capital need, drafting a formalized job description, marketing job openings and spending work hours interviewing candidates. These added tasks put extra strain on the remaining staff.
Whether you realize it or not, unfilled technology jobs can hurt your business. Below are just some of the pitfalls that could we waiting for you if you’re unable to fill the void.
Inconvenience For Existing Staff Members
When jobs go unmanned, your employees must find a way to help out on top of their existing responsibilities. As more technology companies ask engineers to wear more hats, job demands grow. Indeed, the trend after the 2007-2008 recession was to move toward leaner teams. However, as thinly spread teams pick up the slack of the missing person, excess overtime combined with burnout can lead to loss of motivation. As weeks turn into months without that extra member on the team, the added workload can lead to doubt about the company’s ability to fill the role, resentment for not handling the situation and a feeling of working continuously without a light at the end of the tunnel. In summary, it can negatively affect team morale and disrupt the job security of existing members.
A Rush To Fill The Job ASAP
Executives should be hesitant to move forward with candidates who have not been properly vetted because of the potential consequences. Managers may be motivated in the short term to fill a vacant seat in order to keep up with seasonal demand. Finding someone who’s just good enough (i.e., good enough to get the company through a busy period) is a short-term solution that can fail, especially if candidates are not vetted properly for the cultural fit of the company.
It can be tempting to settle for a warm body, but candidates should be assessed for the right attitude and aptitude (e.g., resiliency in a sales role, extraversion in an account management role, the ability to troubleshoot in a technical role). These aptitudes are qualities seldom captured by a candidate’s resume; therefore, a screening to establish a good fit is recommended to understand the candidate behind the resume and not hire in haste.
Many times, companies see IT as a cost because it is more on the support side. For instance, it is easier to calculate the loss to the bottom line when discussing the revenue production of a salesperson or line worker — less so with support roles. That being said, companies are hiring tech professionals as part of other business units to become more agile and responsive. The debate on whether workers generate income for an organization is explored in this fascinating Clear Impact report.
Tech vacancies can be a burden on staff members, force you into a rush hire and potentially stymie growth, but if you really want to know the specifics of what an unfilled position will cost you, there is a formula for calculating the cost. Using 260 working days per year, calculate: position’s annual salary / 260 working days X average days to hire.
When companies demand more from each employee in today’s market, a little bit of assistance to balance their lives goes a long way. Incentives, training and wellness programs can be used to provide lean teams with added attention when working under a higher-than-normal job load.
Some common symptoms of rushing to fill a job are lack of job scope or job description, lack of an internal talent audit, and a willingness to settle for a candidate who doesn’t mesh well with the company’s culture. To help avoid this, companies can invest in work/life balance programs, leverage consultants’ technical skill sets to determine the cost of an unfilled position, or work with a recruiting/staffing firm to fill the open position.