Science

French engineers struggle to hire their IT staff Computerworld

In its annual national review of the socio-professional integration of engineers, the Society of Engineers and Scientists of France (IESF) notes a recovery in hiring in occupations related to software and IT services. However, a shortage of certain expert profiles makes hiring difficult, as do high salary expectations for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence professionals.

The Society of Engineers and Scientists of France (IESF) this week released the results of its 33rd national study of the professional status of graduate engineers in France. It was held in February and March 2022 with 46,407 participants. According to the collected data, the level of hiring of engineers, including in the field of IT, returned to the level of 2019. In 2021, the proportion of engineers employed by IT service companies and software publishers was 26,703, up from 22,500 the previous year. Despite this positive trend, tech companies are struggling to fill some of the vacancies. The lack of a desirable profile is one of the main reasons cited by employers in this sector. Depending on the skills sought, the nature of the difficulties varies: excessive demands on the salary of specialists in the field of artificial intelligence or cybersecurity, or a shortage in the market of certain technical profiles of experts.

In 2021, consulting and software companies have increased their hiring of engineers. (IESF/Image credit: IESF)

IT profiles are getting harder to find

At the same time, the IESF report notes the emergence of new recruitment challenges in the IT profession. So while design engineers remain a rarity overall, recruiting project managers and digital experts in 2021 has been more difficult than in previous years. Added to this are additional geographic restrictions for process engineer candidates that make it difficult to hire in this field. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate salary terms for certain resources, in particular those required by cyber and AI experts, although average salaries have changed little.

The IESF notes the difficulty in finding design engineers, information technology experts, and IT project managers. (IESF/Image credit: IESF)

Historically low unemployment

On the positive side, the IESF survey notes that the number of engineers (estimated at 1,191,000 at the end of 2021, all functions combined) seems less fearful of losing their jobs at historically low levels. In IT service companies, the unemployment rate of 2.9% in 2021 is well below the national rate of about 8%. This is due to the resumption of professional integration in pre-Covid conditions. The report also notes that the proportion of young graduates looking for work has also returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Disparity in IT salaries between Paris and the regions

Among its other findings, the organization is concerned about the status quo of women in the engineering profession, with the share of female graduates stagnating at around 28% for a decade. She is especially concerned about the low proportion (13%) of women who have completed digital skills training (STIC). As for the average salary, it is stable (60,000 euros) in engineering professions, even growing due to the lack of talent. While stagnant in the industry, they have clearly grown in software and IT services, i.e. 52,000 euros in 2021 for engineers under 65, compared to 50,400 euros in 2019. a 40% gap between Paris and the provinces for engineers involved in software publishing and IT activities.

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