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Combating The Tech Talent Shortage: Develop, Diversify, Digitize

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at September 8, 2021

In response to the pandemic, the rapid adoption of technology by companies across virtually all industries has triggered a demand for tech professionals like never before.

At the same time, general advancements in technology have been happening at such a dizzying pace that organizations and workers alike have been struggling to catch up with the dynamically changing skill requirements. Because of this, there is now an urgent lack of highly qualified labor in the tech sector, one which a 2018 report predicted could cost the world some $8.5 trillion due to 85 million unfilled jobs by 2030.

This problem is set to be particularly prevalent in new and niche areas such as AI and Machine Learning, Software Engineering, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity, to name a few. As a result, large companies with the budgets and resources to match have hiked up wages to attract specialized talent, creating wage inflation and a climate difficult for most businesses to compete in.

The potential consequences are multifold, including stagnating innovation, lower quality work, and increased employee stress. As the 2020 Global Knowledge survey notes, 67% of IT decision-makers believe skill gaps cost their employees between three and nine hours of work per week. These factors inherently increase the likelihood of employee dissatisfaction and, in turn, escalate attrition rates.

The problem is clear. Now, let’s take a look at the solution.

Develop: Upskill Internal Talent

If a company is struggling to recruit high-quality candidates in the tech sector, it should look at the talent it already possesses. A valuable employee can be taught more advanced skills (upskilled) or trained in brand news skills to move up the company ladder (reskilled).

According to a 2021 survey of HR leaders, 42% of organizations are planning to upskill and reskill current employees. Talview has experimented with all kinds of internal movements, including cross-function, to help the team advance their careers. For example, the company has seen significant success transitioning employees from marketing to product design.

Learning and Development Programs (L&D) simultaneously fill in a company’s skills gap and improve worker satisfaction, empowering employees to grow. L&D opportunities are increasingly being seen as enticing employee benefits job seekers are actively searching for. What’s more: Employee development can also improve the tech industry’s sky-high attrition rates, which reached 13.2% in 2017, substantially more than in any other sector. High turnover equates to a loss of knowledge, money, and talent needing to be replaced, so retention is just as important as acquisition.

For successful L&D, ensuring the right people are being trained in the right areas is paramount. This requires a deep analysis – through regular skill-based assessments and a talent evaluation platform – into what skills are lacking and who’s the best candidate from the team. The results should then be placed in an up-to-date employee profile that displays their work achievements, performance, and skills acquired. L&D programs rely on a high level of measurability and concrete learning outcomes, such as certifications, to maximize these efforts.

Additionally, getting on board with upskilling and reskilling will put companies in good stead for the future by learning how to swiftly and effectively retrain their employees when industry and market disruptions occur. 

Diversify: Expand Talent Outreach

Organizations hard-pressed to find optimal tech talent should consider looking further afield and expanding their Talent Supply Chain. As remote working becomes business as usual for many organizations, outsourcing to other parts of the country – or other countries entirely – will become commonplace too.

As well as broadening the geographical scope, searching in alternative and diverse fields can reveal a wealth of untapped potential. Taking advantage of the freelance, part-time, and gig economy is an apt short-term solution, and, for a longer-term holistic approach, consider being present during all parts of the “talent lifecycle.”

For instance, give opportunities to promising younger candidates caught in the vicious cycle of needing experience but being unable to get their foot in the door without it. Investing in the potential tech experts of the future will pay off in the long run. In fact, according to a recent CompTIA survey, the majority of HR teams support eliminating college degree requirements for positions. Plus, the US government’s new  Apprenticeship Act 2021 is set to provide $3.5 billion to train fresh talent.

Further along in the talent lifecycle, take on experienced individuals who have had extended periods out of the workforce, perhaps to raise children. Given the speed of new tech developments, it’s likely that they will need additional training, but overlooking these capable professionals would be a missed opportunity.

In the same way that successful companies thrive off having multiple income streams, it’s wise for a talent pool to be formed from a diverse range of candidates from multiple sources, with short and long-term hiring goals in mind.

Digitize: Embrace A Tech-powered Approach

With the work landscape becoming more digital, the talent acquisition and management processes should catch up too. Whether it’s to interview an external entry-level candidate straight out of college or assess an internal senior employee looking to reskill, leveraging tech is crucial at every stage of the talent lifecycle.

Whenever an interview or online assessment happens on Talview’s recruitment platform, additional insights can be drawn, including a candidate’s behavioral qualities and cognitive abilities. This data can be used to make smarter hiring decisions, like choosing an applicant that may be less technically skilled than others but has scored well in learnability, temperament, and resilience, meaning that they can be easily trained even if they lack some hard skills.

Talview also believes that professionals should be able to access their dream careers without bias coming in the way of opportunities. Remote recruiting and testing can ensure candidates with accessibility concerns, physical limitations, or living in remote locations are not disadvantaged. AI-powered recruitment tools can be programmed to test applicants objectively and help reduce unconscious bias that can occur during person-to-person interactions at the interview stage. These technologies enable HR professionals to choose from a larger candidate pool and access previously untapped or overlooked talent, making it an ever-important consideration for business across industries.

Ultimately, if a company is on the lookout for skilled tech talent, it makes sense to use advanced software and applications. The skills gap demonstrates that companies are struggling to keep up with the fast-moving tech tide, so a tech-savvy talent management process shows applicants that a company is capable of adapting to these changes.

As the labor deficit is expected to climb over the next few years, companies must shift gears and reconsider their current recruitment framework to safeguard supply for current and future demands. Businesses should concentrate on finding and developing overlooked or underutilized talent from diverse internal and external sources. After all, there may be a talent shortage, but the world is anything but short of talented people.

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