The unprecedented need for further digitalization in the wake of the pandemic has caused the global talent shortage to hit a 15-year high, with about 70% of companies having reported shortages of skilled workers this year.
The talent crunch—which is expected to get worse and reach 85 million people over the next decade—is due in large part to the high demand in tech-enabled industries, older generations leaving the workplace, younger workers not being prepared to take over, and the ever-changing needs and expectations of employees and employers.
With globalization being considered a powerful lever in winning the talent war, platforms for hiring remote talent have been thrust further into the spotlight. And while they may all look the same on the surface, there are fundamental differences in the thinking behind them.
“The problem with most hiring platforms is that they view job seekers as products to be sold, not as principal users,” says Sergiu Matei, Moldovan co-founder of Index, which aspires to build “the largest network of highly qualified software engineering talent”.
The solution is a direct response to the challenges enterprises face in hiring developers, as evidenced by a recent survey that shows 61% of HR professionals consider finding qualified developers their “biggest” challenge in 2021.
Talent is king
Speaking to 150sec, Matei—who co-founded Index with fellow Moldovan entrepreneur Mike Sokirka—said Index is a supply-driven marketplace which believes talent is king and should be treated as such.
And talent is indeed king.
As companies are scrambling to fill new tech roles within tight time frames, software professionals stand to enjoy a lot more freedom when it comes to who they work for and where, and they are seeing salaries for some tech roles inflating as much as 20 to 30%.
When asked in a survey how easy they felt it would be to change jobs this year on a scale of one to 10, developers gave an average answer of seven.
“We are confident that putting the talent’s needs and interests first is a winning strategy,” Matei said.
Another feature that, according to him, gives Index an edge over their competition is their business model, which is focused on full-time remote contracts, rather than short-term freelance projects.
Matei says their focus on full-time remote work comes from the understanding that a significant number of professionals are looking for flexibility as well as financial security and job stability in today’s uncertain times.
However, he clarified that this security and stability does not mean the absence of a dynamic environment where engineers can challenge themselves and learn and grow in meaningful ways.
“From our perspective, our customers are strongly motivated software developers with a spirit of adventure who are keen to explore new opportunities, and we offer them the option to work for startups or larger, more established companies so that they can have experiences different from the ones they may have had in the past.”
It is about the talent interviewing the company to find if it is the best fit for them, not the other way around, Sokirka explained, adding that Index allows employers to find and hire remote tech talent in over 120 countries—and the list is growing fast. Their platform offers flexible contracts with simple monthly billing.
It seems Index is ticking all the boxes as having interesting technical challenges to solve is “the most important” factor for programmers when considering a job offer, followed by flexible hours and a healthy work-life balance, salary, and company culture and values.
The recruitment platform’s success in staying on top of industry trends and responding to the evolving needs of software talent translated into a threefold increase in its revenue during the pandemic-driven remote work revolution, with its top client having expanded its team 11 times over using the platform.
Considering that over 80% of business leaders plan to allow distance working at least some of the time post-pandemic, the potential for Index to support hiring processes is vast. Already, companies like Vodafone, Twilio, and a number of Y Combinator startups are using the platform to fulfil their remote hiring strategies.
The Index team is currently operating remotely from Europe and the United States and has helped companies around the world build high-performing software teams across various industries such as e-commerce, education, finance, logistics, media, travel, betting, and gaming.
The inspiration to launch Index came from when Matei was living in San Francisco and experienced first-hand that many former Silicon Valley employees who had decided to build their own business were struggling with hiring highly skilled talent from overseas because of the complicated nature of the process.
“On the other hand, there were software engineers in Europe who were looking for interesting international startups to work for, but the process was opaque, painful, and expensive,” he said, adding that their solution is bringing true value to the world of tech.
Index seems to be more relevant than ever now that there has been a recent increase in European recruitment requests from North American small and medium businesses.
“Remote work means more equal opportunities for people everywhere and a more distributed world, and we are contributing to efforts aimed at reducing inequality and creating a future in which the brightest local talent wouldn’t have to leave their country for a better future,” Matei added.
Rigorous vetting process
Index tests job seekers on three levels, namely skills, competencies, and domain-specific knowledge, in a process that includes portfolio review, coding, resume review, an English test, and a live interview.
Sokirka said their accomplishments over the past couple of months show “what we are building is in high demand and will be even after COVID-19 ends as many companies have incorporated remote work into their operations.”
In his opinion, another distinctive feature of Index is that it harnesses the power of automation and machine learning to remove the need for repetitive manual tasks and to better match jobs to candidates, from technical as well as cultural and psychological points of views.
“We are analyzing various data points, like GitHub, LinkedIn profiles, reviews, resumes, video interviews etc. This not only makes the hiring process faster, more efficient, and less error-prone but also reduces recruitment bias and increases diversity and inclusion at companies.”
Index’s business model and technology is making it “the first-choice platform when looking for full-time remote engineering talent,” Matei added.
Remote work is here to stay and employers who decide to hire professionals based on their skill set rather than their zip code have a higher chance of long-term success, he noted, adding that Index is on a mission to help shape a brighter future for the global tech industry by bringing the best talent and companies together.
Disclaimer: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.