7 Ways Technology Companies Can Bridge The Skills Gap In 2017

4 min read

By CSG The Global Talent Experts

As with many skilled industries, technology is facing a skills gap, as key technical talent is in shorter supply than the demand for staff and growth. According to research conducted by CompTIA for their annual IT report, 30% of UK tech employers cite finding workers with expertise in emerging tech fields as a reason for the challenging hiring landscape. And nearly 40% mentioned competing for talent with other tech firms as an increasing issue that the sector needs to address. So, what exactly can be done to bridge the skills gap? We take a look below at seven key steps we believe technology companies can, and should, take in developing a future proof hiring strategy…

1 Target Hobbyists

With new technologies becoming more ubiquitous (and consequently cheaper), more and more people are gaining access to cutting edge technology all the time. Many hobbyists are acquainted with tech and operational systems before ever entering the tech employment sphere, and it’s worth keeping an open mind to those who could be able to adapt these skills to your requirements.

2 Be Flexible

One of the major issues facing the IT sector is finding the right talent in the right location at the right time. There are a lot of variables involved with that. Why not cut out location? Embrace remote workers! If you find candidates who can suit your business’s needs off location, don’t overlook them. If you have existing employees who seem to be having difficulty juggling their work commitments with home ones, consider allowing telecommuting or working from home in a schedule that suits both parties.

3 Tackle Unconscious/Invisible Bias

In 2016, only 18% of IT professionals working in the UK were women. The reasons for this low number are varied and complex, but some of the reasons for this are isolation and exclusion, a lack of female role models to benchmark their careers against and not applying for senior roles.

It’s often quoted that men will apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. Harvard Business Review dug deeper into this phenomenon and found that the reason for this is that women are more likely to heed the ‘Required Experience’ section of job advertisements, meaning that you could be drastically limiting your candidate pool with the language you’re using. Consider getting your advertisements copy-written externally to prevent this.

You might also consider using a gamified hiring process, where skills relevant to the role being advertised are tested in a simulation game. Using just the data provided by game results will ensure that hiring decisions are made based on actual ability and not on ingrained preconceptions about the profile of who can do the job and who can’t.

4 Focus on Teamwork

Because of the industry-wide scarcity of exact qualifications, there needs to be an emphasis on recruiting those who work well as part of a team. This enables skill-share which is a great way to bridge the skills gap within your organisation. The best way for employers to get around the skills gap in IT is to build a cross-functional team who are willing and able to collaborate effectively. This cuts down the risk associated with having full teams working in isolation and discovering problems too far down the line to do be pulled back. They need to feel ownership over tech so that they will work to find adaptive solutions and safeguards.

5 Consider Customer Service

With the rising importance of UX and competition heating up in the technology sector at large, the importance of customer service experience cannot be underestimated. Consumers and client businesses alike expect a high-level of service above all else, and if your business fails to provide it they will move on. If you are holding on to the traditional image of introverted tech-geeks staying in their cubicles and logging out from the world – lose it fast.

6 Build Your Employer Brand

In order to ensure that people want to join your organisation and stick around for the long haul, you need to consider your employer brand, as distinct from your client-facing brand. Employer branding has become a bit of a buzz phrase in the industry, but it genuinely does make all the difference in attracting high-calibre talent. Simply phrased, your employer brand is how you market your organisation directly to potential candidates. This does not, and should not, exactly match how you market yourself to clients and customers. Clients and customers are interested in what you do, but potential candidates will be more interested in how you do it, or maybe why. This is what you should emphasise through your employer brand, usually as a separate careers page on your site. But, as a step further, on a microsite dedicated to promoting the unique internal culture of your brand and its vacancies – a service CSG is proud to offer to our clients using our in-house marketing specialists

7 Finally… Don’t Forget The Basics!

It’s easy to forget about the IT basics when recruiting for senior level tech positions but it’s worth remembering that a good level of foundational knowledge can help IT employees to adapt to a variety of different job roles and functions, especially when paired with the appropriate ‘soft skills’.

Conclusion

In the coming years, the Technology industry needs to focus on ensuring that they are able to secure, retain and develop the right talent to keep the market moving forward. Increasingly, students are encouraged to study IT because there are such a wide variety of opportunities available globally within the field. As a result the candidates have all of the power when it comes to choosing organisations they want to work within – a truly candidate-led market. This means that not only is finding people increasingly difficult for SMEs or lesser known companies, but it’s also difficult to keep people engaged when they possess the knowledge that it’s easy to move on if they aren’t 100% happy.

At CSG, we have extensive experience attracting high-calibre talent; each of our consultants has a specific niche within each of the sectors we cover. With this specialist knowledge, we are uniquely placed to help you to build an employer brand that really appeals to relevant candidates. Our in-house marketing team can produce a bespoke microsite building on your existing branding which would include information showcasing your organisation, where we would house job advertisements and even tailored blog content relevant to your industry.

We can engage our in-house marketing team to produce job advertisements that minimise invisible bias using their research-driven knowledge. The team can also help you to develop a unique gamification process, which has the dual advantage of attracting those candidates with the necessary skillsets to perform the job in question and automatically discounting all unsuitable applicants.

If you want to carve your own career path within a forward-thinking company, contact us for advice or guidance, or if you are looking to diversify the skills and experience of your team to keep up with technological advancements, or seek advice on how to build your employer brand, contact lee.mcmahon@csgtalent.com, or alternatively give me a call at +44 (0) 113 239 5515.