Key takeaways from the Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 & Azure Edition 2021-22


Microsoft Azure is a scalable and cost-effective cloud platform that’s used by businesses and organizations across all sectors. Its reliability, security, and functionality ensure it’s a market-leading solution but getting the most out of your infrastructure means working with Azure professionals and certified experts that can take your results to the next level.

As the recognized leader of global Microsoft recruitment, Nigel Frank offers in-depth insights and analysis of the Azure ecosystem, which benefits both Azure professionals and companies alike. In our latest Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 and Azure edition, you’ll find insights that will enhance your perception of the ecosystem and enable you to implement actionable strategies to boost your Azure recruitment and retention practices.

Understanding the Microsoft Azure ecosystem

When you’re looking for new Azure hires, placing a job advert or working with a generalist recruiter might seem like an obvious solution. However, the specialized nature of the industry means that companies can fail to attract and retain top Azure talent unless they develop an accurate understanding of the ecosystem. Similarly, using a general recruitment agency can limit your ability to engage with the best Azure professionals and, therefore, prevents you from building the most successful teams.

While researching the Azure ecosystem will empower you to attract and retain talented Azure professionals, it’s essential to use reputable and reliable sources to deepen your knowledge. At Nigel Frank, our transparent methodology ensures that the data we collect and analyze is accurate, valid, and relevant.

Compiled using self-reported surveys from 620 global Microsoft 365 and Azure professionals and based on more than 70,000 data points, the Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide provides independent and impartial insight into the Azure ecosystem. What’s more – we’ve sourced respondents from across a range of industries and backgrounds and implemented multiple validation techniques to ensure that our Careers and Hiring Guide is an invaluable resource for companies and organizations that want to optimize Azure recruitment, retention, and team performance.

Key findings: 2022

This year’s Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 and Azure edition provides a more comprehensive look at the industry than ever before. From certifications and employee priorities to staff retention and diversity, we’ve covered an extensive range of topics to bring you the information you need. To learn more, download our latest Careers and Hiring Guide and take a look at some of our key findings below.

Download our Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 & Azure Edition

1. Certifications increase efficiency

75% of respondents believe that certifications help candidates stand out in a competitive job market, while 46% of qualified Microsoft 365 and Azure professionals maintain that having a certification has increased their efficiency. For companies that want to optimize productivity across Azure teams, providing employees with certification opportunities including paying for all or part of their exams, or simply giving them the time to study for them, could be a sure-fire way to achieve your goal.

Additionally, training and development opportunities, which includes the chance to gain certification, can entice 13% of professionals to consider a new job offer, while 49% would consider working for an end user if they were offered better career progression opportunities.

2. Homeworking is the most popular perk

For permanent employees, the opportunity to work from home is the most popular workplace perk, aside from their earning potential. Before COVID-19, just 15% of employers offered home working on a full-time basis, but this number increased dramatically to 74% during the pandemic.

Like professionals across many sectors, Microsoft specialists are eager to cultivate a better work-life balance, and flexible, hybrid, or homeworking is a critical part of the future of the ecosystem, with homeworking being a top consideration for 38% of Azure and Dynamics professionals when considering a new role.

3. Professionals want to undertake new challenges

The tech industry is constantly evolving, so it should come as no surprise that almost a third (32%) of the professionals surveyed would consider taking on a new role if it gave them the chance to undertake new challenges. Notably, 57% of end user employees who would consider working for a Microsoft Partner cited ‘the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects’ as a factor in their decision-making, which highlights the demand for new and ambitious projects and tasks.

For companies that want to retain their Azure teams, this is a critical piece of data. Unless employees are challenged and remain motivated, they will be tempted to jump ship to a competitor who can offer them more varied projects and roles.

4. Diversity is missing in many workplaces

Although diversity in STEM is improving, many organizations still have a way to go before they can claim to be truly diverse. From staff perspectives, 70% of respondents claim that their workplace is gender diverse, while only 58% report an equal balance of males and females at an executive level.

72% of survey participants claim their employer promotes racial and ethnic diversity, although 59% of respondents were White or Caucasian, perhaps representing the racial inequality that is pervasive throughout the tech industry.

Just 5% of respondents reported having a disability or long-standing illness or infirmity, while only 52% of survey participants maintained that their workforce includes people with disabilities.

As the tech sector strives to increase diversity and achieve true inclusion, this journey is mirrored in the ecosystem. With 57% of participants taking part in equality, diversity, and inclusion training in the workplace within the last 12 months, however, it seems that employers are taking a proactive approach to increasing diversity amongst Microsoft teams.

Get a competitive edge when hiring and retaining Azure professionals

The insights available in the Nigel Frank Career and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 and Azure edition give organizations the opportunity to develop and implement actionable, data-driven strategies to enhance their recruitment and retention practices.

Hiring new staff can be time-intensive and costly, particularly if you rely on in-house recruitment processes and have a high employee turnover rate. With a better understanding of the Azure ecosystem, companies can build an enviable reputation as an Azure employer, thus attracting the highest quality candidates. Similarly, creating a company culture and workplace environment that motivates, rewards, and engages Azure professionals will increase retention rates.

To learn more, take a look at our top tips for how businesses can use Azure data and statistical analysis to optimize recruitment and retention:

1. Deliver employee-led perks

Employee benefits have a major impact on whether an individual accepts a job offer or decides to stay with an existing employer. By providing employees with the benefits that they really value, such as homeworking opportunities, paid time off, and bonuses, instead of company shares and commission, companies can attract and retain top Azure talent.

2. Eliminate bias in recruitment

Unconscious bias limits diversity in any industry and the same is true in the Azure ecosystem. Despite this, 40% of respondents reported that employers aren’t using blind recruitment practices to eliminate bias, while 45% were unsure whether blind recruitment processes were used.

Simple actions, like removing identifiable information from resumes and application forms, can prevent bias from impacting your recruitment practices. In turn, this can increase diversity in your Azure teams and create a more inclusive, productive, and innovative working environment.

3. Provide career development opportunities

Results from our most recent survey clearly showed that career development opportunities are a significant factor for Azure professionals. 76% of end user Azure employees would consider working for a Microsoft Partner if it allowed them to expand their skills, knowledge, and experience with Microsoft products, while a lack of career and promotional prospects would motivate 41% of employees to consider a new role.

If businesses want to retain top Azure talent, it’s vital to provide teams with career development opportunities. As well as being responsive to employee requests regarding training and promotion, employers may benefit from implementing a structured approach to career development that encourages all team members to enhance their skills and provides consistent rewards for upskilling.

4. Work with an Azure-specific recruiter

Perhaps unsurprisingly, working with an Azure-specific recruiter can be one of the most effective ways to build effective and engaged Azure teams. With extensive experience and knowledge of the sector, Nigel Frank routinely helps clients to overcome skills gaps and find the right Azure professionals to complete their workforce. From diversifying your talent pool to maximizing retention, our specialist services and global reach ensure we’re perfectly placed to provide the sector-specific assistance you need.

Find Microsoft 365 and Azure professionals now

As more companies strive to enhance their competitiveness as an employer, there’s no time to lose if you want to attract top talent.

Contact our dedicated team now or browse Azure professionals to find your next new hire today.


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