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What You Need to Know About Hiring for IBM i in 2021

A major shift in the workforce since the pandemic hit in 2020 has greatly impacted just about every industry, including IBM i. With the shift to work from home and many industries negatively affected by cutbacks and closures, numerous professionals are seeking less traditional means of employment. For the IBM i industry, these changes can be the perfect opportunity for attracting and hiring IT professionals.
We’ve compiled five key items companies on the IBM i should keep in mind when developing new job postings and attracting job seekers:

1. People Are Changing Careers

We are seeing a massive shift in the workforce as millions of people switch careers looking for more stability and flexibility. Many industries were greatly impacted by the pandemic—such as hospitality, retail and food—and laid off millions of people. 
This is an excellent opportunity to recruit new employees. Though you may not find someone with IBM i experience, the need for stability and long-term employment has many people open to new career pathways. Hiring someone with roots in your town or who’s hungry for career success is better than someone who checks all your boxes. When selecting new hires from different industries, it’s a good idea to focus on soft skills that translate well to IBM i, such as problem solving, troubleshooting and communication. 
Obtaining individuals with the drive and determination to join your company, learn IBM i and make a career on the platform should be your main goal. Now is the perfect time to make the investment.

2. Seasoned Developers Nearing Retirement Are Staying

The ability to work from home has changed many potential retirees’ perspectives on retirement. You’ll probably see more of your seasoned developers staying longer than expected because working from home provides them with more flexibility and gives them a better work-life balance. This buys you more time to find and train future employees. 

3. Modernization Doesn’t Always Require Hiring New Employees

Though many seasoned employees are staying, it’s still important to continue to modernize. Give your seasoned developers the ability to learn new technologies, such as RDi and modular programming, so you can keep your IBM i applications moving in the right direction. This can be done online and while they’re on the job, meeting both the needs of your employees and your company. 
Another option is to train new developers on IBM i, then give them advanced education in new technologies as part of their professional development plan. This is a great incentive for younger professionals who are looking to build their career.

4. Younger Generations Are Just Different

Young professionals are staying at jobs for shorter periods of time than previous generations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, younger workers (ages 25-34) stay at jobs for 2.8 years compared to workers aged 55-64 with an average of 10.1 years. 
With Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2010) making up a large portion of the current workforce, it’s important that employers understand how to attract and retain this new generation, why they select employment and what keeps them at a company. 
Many younger workers are looking for places where they can make a positive, meaningful impact, learn new skills and build up their work experience. Ensuring your job descriptions include opportunities for improvement, talent pipelines and how their role will positively impact the company, its customers, or even the world is attractive to them. Including a growth pathway for their first 30/60/90 days on the job will also give them insight into working for your company and an actionable timeline for their role. 
Once hired, retain and engage them by meeting their needs. Younger generations are most likely to leave a job with poor pay or lack of advancement opportunities and they prefer flexibility and remote work. Using mentorship programs that offer upskilling opportunities within your company have shown increased retention for younger workers. 

5. It’s All About Education

One major way to invest in your new hires is to provide them with continued education and training opportunities. Whether they know nothing about IBM i or ILE RPG programming or are seasoned IBM i developers who need advanced skillsonline training is the best way to support your employees. 
Using internal candidates to fill IBM i developer positions allows employees to grow and develop within your company adding to retention and overall morale. Additionally, investing in your seasoned developers to provide them education in modern technologies can help you keep employees for longer lengths of time. 
Finding IBM i developers has been a challenge for many companies nationwide, though understanding the new workforce and how the pandemic has impacted workers, can give you insight into recruitment and hiring strategies and decisions. Right now is the perfect time to gain new talent and build your team.