NEWS + ADVICE
Leveraging Tech Layoffs to Expand Your Talent Pool
As the government contracting market becomes increasingly competitive, companies must find effective ways to secure top talent. However, with the recent wave of tech layoffs by big name commercial companies, government agencies and contractors now have a unique opportunity to reach a new pool of highly skilled tech workers who are looking for employment opportunities.
While the cleared market can present challenges for recruiting these candidates, employers who are able to effectively win over this new talent pool can gain a significant advantage in the years to come.
To leverage this opportunity, government contractors need to develop better marketing outreach to attract these candidates, invest more in training and professional development opportunities, and streamline their recruitment efforts.
How to Reach This Talent Pool
You’ll need targeted marketing outreach efforts to reach laid-off tech workers who aren’t aware of the opportunities available to them in the cleared community.
One agency that has taken advantage of these tech layoffs is the National Security Agency (NSA). Nextgov reported the agency has hired “approximately 1,000 new employees for tech, cyber, intelligence and business positions” due to their new recruitment efforts1. The NSA has been successful by spreading the word about their positions on social media and also reaching out directly to these individuals on LinkedIn.
Consider creating targeted advertising campaigns, participating in job fairs and networking events, expanding where you post your job openings, and leveraging social media to reach out to potential candidates.
Sell Stability and the Mission
When it comes to attracting a workforce that just underwent layoffs, stability is key. Unlike private sector employers, government contractors typically have more stability and predictability in their funding and workloads, which can be a reassuring factor for workers who are concerned about job security.
The NSA has been marketing itself as a “soft landing place” for tech workers who have been laid off and are looking for job stability. By marketing themselves as a viable alternative for tech workers who may be wary of working for private sector companies that are subject to market fluctuations and layoffs, the NSA has been successful in attracting this talent.
In addition to emphasizing the stability of the work, sell the mission and the opportunity to work on challenging projects with real-world impact. Whether it’s supporting the warfighter, protecting national security, or delivering critical public services, government contractors play a vital role in advancing the public good. This can be a powerful selling point for tech workers who are looking for more than just a job.
Let them know government contracting work will allow them to make a difference and contribute to something meaningful. Highlight the impact of the projects and the critical role they’ll play in supporting national security and other important missions.
Invest in Career Development
Another important factor to consider is career development. Many tech workers are looking for more than just a job. So in addition to selling the mission-driven nature of your work, explain how they can also advance their skills and career over time.
Private sector companies often offer extensive training and professional development opportunities to their employees, which can be a major selling point for job seekers. Government contractors have often struggled to offer these opportunities, but it’s a worthwhile undertaking if you want to attract and retain talent in these competitive times.
Consider investing in career development programs that offer employees the chance to grow their skills. This can include training programs, mentoring opportunities, and job rotation programs that expose workers to different areas of the business.
Streamline the Recruitment Process
One of the biggest challenges that government contractors face when trying to attract new talent is a slow and bureaucratic recruitment process. Compared to private sector employers, government contractors can take much longer to hire new employees, which can be frustrating for job seekers who are used to a faster pace.
Work closely with your hiring managers to streamline the recruitment process wherever possible. And be sure to set reasonable expectations with candidates, and provide regular updates on their status and next steps.
The NSA has worked to streamline its processes for these candidates by using a communications dashboard to improve engagement with applicants. It helps to provide candidates with up-to-date information about the hiring process and keep them informed.
What About Clearance Requirements
While government contractors can certainly benefit from the wave of laid off tech workers, it’s important to acknowledge that not all contractors may be able to take advantage of this opportunity. Some contractors may only have security clearance required roles, which can limit their ability to hire workers who don’t already have clearances.
While there may be challenges recruiting and hiring these candidates, the potential benefits cannot be ignored. If you’re able to clear folks in a timely manner, or bring them on for an uncleared position while you work to process a clearance, you’ll not only strengthen your own workforce, but you’ll also contribute to the overall growth and innovation of the government contracting industry.