Employer branding for IT professionals

The shortage of skilled professionals is currently a concern for almost all employers. In the IT professions, it is at record levels. In 2022, there were 137,000 IT positions to be filled in the overall economy in Germany (bitkom). 67,924 remained unfilled, according to a study by the Institute of the German Economy. Companies need an average of 7.1 months to fill vacancies (Bitkom Research 2022). 70 per cent of employers are pessimistic about the future and expect the IT skills shortage to worsen.

How can you present yourself as an attractive employer for IT talents? Here you can find out which seven points are particularly important in employer branding for this target group.


Professionals in the field of information technology are in hot demand. According to CIO magazine, the most wanted IT jobs in 2023 are: cloud engineer, database developer, DevOps engineer, front-end developer, network administrator, network security engineer, software developer and system security manager. The high shortage of skilled workers in the IT sector can be attributed to two main factors.

In order to further drive digitalisation in all economic sectors, digital infrastructures must be built, further developed and securely managed. This leads to an increased demand for qualified IT specialists. At the same time, interest in studying computer science is declining and the number of first-year students in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology has been falling continuously since 2019 (bitkom).

The situation will be made even worse in the future by the fact that many IT specialists will retire from working life due to demographic change. According to a study by McKinsey, the public sector alone, which currently already lacks 39,000 specialists in computer science and IT professions, will have a personnel gap of around 140,000 IT talents in 2030.

This makes you an attractive employer for IT professionals:
Top 7 employer branding tips

In order to successfully recruit IT professionals and keep them in the company for the long term, employers have to come up with a lot of ideas. Here are our top 7 tips to help you stay ahead of the competition in the war for talent with targeted employer branding measures.

1. be present

It is no longer enough to be listed in the yellow pages. The mismatch between supply and demand means that employers need to actively communicate the benefits of their employer brand to attract the attention of IT talent. There are numerous ways to do this.

A must-have is a well-maintained, constantly updated and animated career website that contains a lot of content with added value. For talents from the information technology sector, it is not only the content that counts in this context, but also the up-to-date technical implementation. A career website gives an authentic insight into the working world of the company. The unique selling points of the employer with the corresponding benefits and the individual corporate culture should be described accurately. Image films can be integrated for this purpose. Insights from employees who present their areas of activity or new developments, for example, are particularly attention-grabbing. This is close and likeable because it reflects the atmosphere in the company. Testimonials and photos of real employees show that the employer values its talents. A blog or magazine section is a good idea, in which news or knowledge articles etc. are published regularly. It should be easy to apply for open positions, but also to make contact on the initiative, online and mobile. A transparent description of the application process minimises frustration due to waiting times and uncertainty in the course of the candidate journey.

In addition to the career website, which acts as a content hub and contains all relevant information about the employer, a presence on selected social media platforms has also become standard. In order to attract the attention of IT professionals, it makes sense to play on niche forums and to score points there with competent contributions. This could be done, for example, by employees in key functions who are established as employee advocates via personal branding. It is also worthwhile to encourage positive reviews from satisfied employees on well-known job portals. This is because most job seekers find out about the potential new employer online before applying.

Lectures and workshops in combination with stands at career fairs or offers at university events etc. increase awareness among graduates and young employees. Image campaigns in combination with out-of-home advertising at target-group-relevant locations are another way to make yourself known as an attractive employer.

2. Recruit the right way

Employers with a positive media presence generally have an easier time recruiting employees than passive companies. This is because awareness creates trust. 80 per cent of tomorrow's workforce are not actively looking for a new job, but would change their job for a better offer. Therefore, it is important to place job offers in the right place. Especially for IT specialists, the aforementioned niche platforms are a hot tip. Ask your colleagues in the sought-after fields which websites, platforms or apps they use or where they exchange information with the community. You can't get better insights than that.

The networks of your employees are also good informal sources for finding new talent. You can reach completely different circles through employee referral programmes than through official recruiters. In addition, interested people can talk to their acquaintances about you as an employer and the vacant position in a much more informal way. As a result, privately recruited professionals are likely to go into the interview with very realistic expectations.

As an official recruiting method, we recommend that you rely on active sourcing. Your recruiters actively search for qualified candidates via profile mining on social media platforms or search engines. Contact should be established through an individual approach. Ideally, it should refer to the current activities of the person you are addressing in order to facilitate the start of the interview. Especially in the field of information technology, it is worthwhile to rely on IT recruiters or to train your talent scouts accordingly. They should have sufficient technical background knowledge of their own to be able to communicate with the recruits at eye level. We recommend keeping the conversation open, getting to the point quickly and creating an authentic expectation. It is not effective to lure with promises that cannot be kept in everyday working life. Otherwise, your freshly recruited specialists will be gone very quickly and your image as a reliable employer will be damaged.

Other ways to find IT professionals are to organise talent competitions or hackathons. These give you a good insight into the skills of potential candidates and address their need to prove themselves.

When advertising a job, make sure you address the target group appropriately and provide all relevant information. Gamification of the advertisement is a good way to attract attention and make the application a fun challenge. An apt example of this is the British civil service GCHQ: Hackers are to be recruited via an online game in which a code has to be cracked.

No matter which recruiting method you choose: Establish a digital application process that works easily with just a few clicks. It is important that applications can also be submitted via smartphone and that the further application process is made transparent.

3. be open to lateral entrants and IT professionals from the East

Perfectly qualified talent is hard to find. That's why 55.2 per cent of companies are currently unable to meet their demand for IT specialists on the open labour market (Statista/neuefische, Feb. 2023). But maybe it doesn't have to be the proverbial "jack of all trades". Employers could openly communicate that they also give lateral entrants a chance - whether internally, externally or from abroad.

Missing hard skills can be acquired later if the applicant's attitude fits the corporate culture and the soft skills are convincing. Certificates and degrees play an increasingly minor role. What matters is what skills the employees have in their everyday work.

38.6 per cent of the companies surveyed by the continuing education portal neuefische see the greatest potential for addressing the shortage of IT specialists in the short term in retraining employees, 30.2 per cent in recruiting IT specialists from abroad and 28.5 per cent in recruiting specialists from related disciplines.

Bitkom published a press release in November 2022 talking about a great potential for IT professionals from the East. According to this, 37 percent of the companies surveyed would also hire talent from Russia or Belarus for vacant IT positions, provided they had first passed an "official security check". According to bitkom, there is a total potential of 59,000 positions that could be filled with IT professionals from Russia and Belarus.

The association appeals to politicians to reduce bureaucratic hurdles in the immigration of IT professionals and to adapt the legal framework for remote work from abroad in order to make working for IT professionals in Germany more attractive overall.

4. make the working day attractive

Some days you spend more time on your work than on your family. Therefore, employers need to make the working day as attractive as possible for specialists. A basic precondition for this is a good working atmosphere. For IT talents, modern technical equipment is especially important. We therefore recommend that they have a voice in the choice of hardware and software. They know best with which terminals and programmes they can work most effectively. Dissatisfaction with the equipment is a reason to leave that should not be underestimated and makes the employer look bureaucratic and inflexible.

A pleasant spatial working environment with creatively designed rest rooms, a lounge with cosy workplaces or even break rooms with garden access or a view of the countryside can also enhance the working day. Also consider good acoustics and a suitable lighting concept for meeting rooms as well as barrier-free interfaces to screens, beamers, sound systems, etc.

For the new generation of workers, the meaningfulness of their work is important. Therefore, it is crucial that professionals are clear about the relevance of their work and the appreciation they receive. This is because the inner attitude contributes immensely to the judging of the day-to-day work. Managers should pay attention to whether the current tasks of their specialists still challenge them or whether they are already bored. Do the responsibilities still fit or does it make more sense to assign them to other projects? Overall, the leadership culture in the IT sector is an important and relatively sensitive issue. If the supervisors have no idea about the field of activity, they are often not accepted. However, if they have precise knowledge, many IT employees fear that they will not be allowed to work on their own responsibility, but will have to reckon with interference. This is a circumstance to which employees in the IT sector react very allergic. A positive error culture is essential. Because the best innovations can only come from trial and error.

5. Attractive benefits for IT professionals

Every employer offers benefits. The question is how attractive they are actually considered to be. The one-fits-all or rather one-fits-most principle can provide the basis for a solid basic offer of benefits. However, it is unlikely to really knock anyone's socks off. In contrast, benefits that are tailored to the current life situation of the skilled workers and make their everyday life easier will have a lasting effect. If employees start a family, benefits such as flexible working hours and home office or support with childcare and family offices become more important. If professionals are active and travel enthusiasts, sabbaticals, confidential leave or a flexibly accrued holiday account enable them to travel extensively or take on extreme sporting challenges. In any case, it is worthwhile for the HR department to have flexible benefit components up its sleeve, to pay close attention to the framework conditions of the talents during job interviews and to give them some thought. This shows that the employer is genuinely interested.

Health and social benefits or company pension schemes have established themselves as solid benefits. A JobCycle or subsidies for the use of public transport are also well received and demonstrate a sense of ecological responsibility. A flexible working environment - working independently of time and place if necessary - is now expected. How do you handle it when talents want to relocate - maybe even to another country? Do you have concepts for remote work? These questions are very relevant for IT professionals.

Employee events and activities are sometimes perceived as benefits. In any case, successful events help to strengthen the emotional bond with the employer.

No matter what benefits you offer, they can only be effective in combination with a competitive salary. You should also be careful not to overemphasise pseudo-benefits. These are perceived as hygiene factors, are expected anyway and tend to be unpleasant if they are not a matter of course: free coffee and water, fruit basket, etc.

6. Boredom makes you sick

Always doing the same routine tasks is boring in the long run. In addition to burnout, which is now accepted as an illness, there is also the lesser-known boreout syndrome. Just as permanent overwork can have a negative effect on the motivation of employees, constant underwork does not help to retain talent in the company. Those who feel permanently underchallenged doubt the value and meaningfulness of their work and ultimately also their performance.
IT professionals in particular want to be challenged and encouraged. Cracking the proverbial " tough nut" is not only fun, but also provides affirmation. 

Our tips: Support the creativity of your IT talents with internal or external programming competitions. Here your specialists can prove themselves, exchange ideas with others and gather new ideas. You can also promote the acquisition of additional qualifications, independent work or further training of your IT junior staff with IT scholarships.

By the way, this benefits you as an employer twice over: your employees have the right qualifications and deliver the right results, and you also increase their loyalty to the company. According to Employer Brand Research by Randstad 2022, 67 per cent of respondents consider retraining/upskilling as an incentive to remain loyal to their employer. This is especially true for employees with higher levels of education (70%).

7. offer career perspectives

Personal career development is important to 54 percent of German employees (Employer Brand Research 2023, Randstad). But one in six who want to advance their personal career do not get enough opportunities from their employer to do so (Employer Brand Research 2023, Randstad). This circumstance is the fourth most common reason for quitting (23%), along with too little compensation (41%), work-life balance that needs improvement (32%) and lucrative outside offers (25%).

We therefore recommend that you show your IT talents the career opportunities in your company individually within the scope of staff appraisals in order to offer them a professional perspective. Are there internal support groups or a mentoring system for the way up?

In the IT industry, reputation building is extremely important for career development. Support your talents in giving lectures on their specialist topics and appearing as speakers. This will help your talent's sense of mission and show your appreciation. Many employers have a tendency to "hide" their professionals so that other companies cannot easily poach them. Of course, this is always a danger. However, if your employees feel that you do not value them or hinder their professional development, they will leave you anyway.

As a full-service employer branding agency, we are happy to support you in all matters relating to employer branding - regardless of the industry. Just get in touch with us!

Your contact:

Katrin Jetter
Senior Consultant
0711/ 925388-10
[email protected]



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