- Top engineering leaders are prioritizing generalists over technologists with more specialized skill sets, according to a Harris Poll survey on behalf of Karat of 789 decision-makers.
- Nearly half of engineering leaders identified as top performers in the study prioritize hiring software generalists, compared to 26% of lower performers. More than one-third of top performers sought out full-stack developers, compared to 20% of lower performers.
- Top performers also take less time to fill open positions. On average, engineering leaders take 26 days to fill an open role, while top performers take just 17 days.
The need for more generalized skills cropped up at the beginning of the year, as the long-term effects of high attrition and a drained talent pool blocked enterprise modernization efforts.
Even when the tech industry was riddled with layoffs for months, departing tech workers were able to quickly find their next roles.
The appetite for technology workers across industries can be attributed to a number of factors, including the increased dependence on technology throughout departments. Software touches workflows in finance, supply chain, back-office and everything in between.
Software engineers are so valuable to an organization that 55% of engineering leaders in 2023 say a strong engineer is worth at least three times their total compensation, according to the report. That statistic is up 10 percentage points since 2020.
“Organizations that are prioritizing being able to move quickly and rapidly deploy resources will look to hire and cross-skill their employees to be able to deliver products and services quickly without relying on other groups,” Forrester Principal Analyst Fiona Mark said via email. “Leading organizations will look therefore to hire and develop T-shaped workers who have a broad range of skills but are able to be specialists in one or more domain, and the ability to acquire new skills.”
As companies continue to experiment with generative AI, having the foundational elements of technology infrastructure and architecture in tip-top shape becomes critical. But hiring for generalized skills isn’t always the solution, Mark said. Organizations need domain specialists with deep expertise to provide a competitive advantage, according to Mark.