The Challenges of Hiring for Niche IT Positions

Balazs Refi

May 8, 2023

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Niche IT positions. Discover how to find, attract, and retain top talents! Our guide will help you to find the solution.


Hiring for niche IT positions presents unique challenges for organizations, from identifying the right talent to overcoming the limitations of a limited talent pool.

By adopting innovative recruitment strategies, such as enhancing employer branding, expanding the talent search, offering competitive benefits, collaborating with educational institutions, and encouraging employee referrals, companies can successfully attract and retain skilled professionals in these critical roles.

Let's take a look at what you can do to fill open niche IT positions! But if these methods still don't help, only IT sourcing and IT staffing firms specializing in IT could help. Yes, like us, Bluebird.

Understanding Niche IT Positions

Importance of niche IT positions

Niche IT positions are specialized positions within the technology industry that require unique skills and expertise. As the field of technology continues to evolve rapidly, these roles have become increasingly critical for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge.

Niche IT professionals are responsible for solving complex or unusual problems and driving innovation across various sectors. But at the same time, niche IT positions often involve technologies that are used, but for which it is almost impossible to find experienced IT professionals.

Examples of niche IT positions

Some common niche IT positions include data scientists, cybersecurity experts, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers, blockchain developers, and IoT (Internet of Things) specialists. These professionals possess a unique blend of skills that help organizations unlock new opportunities and address specific challenges.

On the other hand niche IT positions could be Cobol developer positions as well. Why? That's because even though millions of people around the world use Cobol programs to successfully complete transactions, there are hardly any experienced Cobol experts. Yes. Cobol is the past, but it is also the executor of our everyday transactions.

Challenges in Hiring for Niche IT Positions

1. Identifying the right talent

One of the major challenges in hiring for niche IT positions is identifying the right candidate with the required skill set. Due to the specialized nature of these roles, traditional recruitment methods and job postings may not be sufficient to attract the right candidates.

The chances of a large number of IT professionals applying for a niche IT position are close to zero. These professionals are mostly passive job seekers. This means that they are not actively looking for a job, but they might be interested in a new IT position after they have been contacted. Maybe...

There is also the question of how you find them. Since these technologies are not well known, you will need to do some real research to find them. For example, you can find a Cobol developer as an AS/400 developer, an IBM Mainframe developer, or even an RPG developer.

2. Limited talent pool

The demand for niche IT positions often outpaces the supply of qualified professionals. This results in a limited talent pool, making it difficult for employers to find the perfect candidate for their needs. Additionally, competition for these professionals can be fierce, further compounding the challenge.

For many niche IT positions, you can almost - to a small exaggeration - know by name who is doing it at a professional level in a given city. If you know who they are, you have a winning case. If you don't, you need to find channels to reach this mostly closed group. It's not an easy task and it will take a long time to find them.

3. Keeping up with technological advancements

Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, hiring managers must stay informed about the latest trends and required skills in the niche IT market. This can be a daunting task, as hiring managers may not always have the technical background to fully understand the requirements of these roles.

It is worth consulting with technology managers, who will have an understanding of what makes either new or old technologies special. It is quite different to look for an IT professional with brand-new technology knowledge than one with an understanding of an old, almost forgotten programming language.

4. Ensuring cultural fit

Beyond technical expertise, it's essential to find candidates who are a good cultural fit for the organization. This can be challenging, as professionals with niche IT skills may have different expectations or work styles compared to the broader workforce.

5. Cost and time constraints

Hiring for niche IT positions can be a time-consuming and costly process. It may take longer to find the right candidate due to the limited talent pool, and organizations may need to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain these professionals.

Niche IT Positions - Bluebird Blog

Strategies for Hiring Niche IT Positions

1. Enhancing employer branding

A strong employer brand can help attract top talent in niche IT positions. Showcasing the organization's commitment to innovation, professional development, and positive work culture can help differentiate the company from competitors.

The attraction of new technologies for skilled IT professionals is not just the fact that they can work with them, but also the environment and values around them. What is the project? Does it add value or is it just another project? It matters a lot, especially if you have unique skills that are a treasure for everyone!

2. Expanding the talent search

Organizations should consider looking beyond their local talent pool and exploring global markets to find qualified candidates for niche IT positions. Leveraging remote work and collaborating with international talent can help bridge the skills gap.

As a global supplier, this is what we see at Bluebird every day, and not just in niche IT positions. It's crucial to look beyond local solutions! It's also important not to only consider in terms of permanent placement. Maybe a remote IT expert on a daily rate is the answer for you. Make sure you have your IT professional!

3. Offering competitive benefits

To attract and retain niche IT professionals, organizations should offer competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities for growth. This may include flexible work arrangements, generous vacation policies, professional development opportunities, and a strong support network for career advancement.

4. Collaborating with educational institutions

Partnering with colleges, universities, and technical schools can help organizations identify and recruit niche IT talent early in their careers. Through internships, co-op programs, and research partnerships, businesses can cultivate relationships with these institutions and tap into a pipeline of skilled professionals.

5. Encouraging employee referrals

Employee referrals can be an effective way to find niche IT talent. Encourage current employees to recommend skilled professionals from their network for open positions. This can not only save time and resources but also ensure a better cultural fit, as current employees have a good understanding of the company culture and values.

6. Involve an IT staffing specialist firm

If you can't find the right IT professional on your own, let us know and we'll help. Most of these niche IT positions are not easy to find. It's hard to source good IT experts for these positions. Trust those who are experts in this field.


1. What are some examples of niche IT positions?

Examples of niche IT positions include data scientists, cybersecurity experts, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers, blockchain developers, and IoT (Internet of Things) specialists.

2. Why is it challenging to hire for niche IT positions?

Hiring for niche IT positions is challenging due to the limited talent pool, difficulty in identifying the right talent, keeping up with technological advancements, ensuring cultural fit, and cost and time constraints.

3. How can organizations enhance their employer branding to attract niche IT talent?

Organizations can showcase their commitment to innovation, professional development, and positive work culture through their website, social media, and other marketing channels to build a strong employer brand.

4. What are some strategies for hiring niche IT professionals?

Strategies for hiring niche IT professionals include enhancing employer branding, expanding the talent search, offering competitive benefits, collaborating with educational institutions, encouraging employee referrals, and involving an IT staffing specialist firm.

5. How can employee referrals help in hiring niche IT talent?

Employee referrals can save time and resources, as well as ensure a better cultural fit, since current employees have a good understanding of the company culture and values.

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