The technology industry is growing at an incredible rate and with it the demand for talent. With new job opportunities developing in a volatile market, "56% of digital leaders” expect their technology headcounts to rise in 2023 and 52% expect their technology budget to rise. However, candidates can be difficult to source and place due to skill-shortages and a risk of redundancy denting candidate confidence.
So how do HR leaders use this demand for talent to attract, select and retain top candidates? What skills do you need to be looking for? And more importantly, how can you pinpoint these skill sets in your talent pool?
Over 17,000 tech jobs were added last month in the US, and in the UK, 350,000 tech jobs have been created over the last three years” giving candidates the opportunity to consider which roles and organizations suit them the best. The placement of tech roles has changed over time, talent can find roles in specific technology-based organisations, for example areas such as cybersecurity and cloud computing which are seeing a significant demand for talent. But also, other industries such as banking, retail and healthcare, which are seeing an increased demand for tech talent to help them to keep pace with competitors and the introduction of new technologies which are revolutionizing how we work. Essentially, the flow of tech talent can be fast and organizations ready to successfully select top candidates and future proof their workforce.
Tech Talent Challenges
As with any industry there are some key challenges that HR leaders are having to navigate to reach the best candidates for their roles. 58% of the technology decision-makers Deloitte surveyed reported that recruiting talent is a major challenge.
In part, this is due to skill shortages. Technology has evolved at an incredible pace, in many ways due to the pandemic and the resulting demands for remote working, better digital customer service and online support; as well as new developments such as AI.
Whilst up to 58% of organisations claim to assess their skills gaps, many are underestimating the size and impact. Skills-gaps include hard skills which are essential for certain tech careers such as digital analyst, web developer; and also, soft skills. Skills that can make a difference to how your team works and functions, shares ideas and navigates challenges. The key soft skills that are in demand in the tech industry are:
- critical thinking and analytical skills
- time management.
Organisations need to be able to assess their skills gaps and identify the talent which possesses those skills most in demand.
How to take action:
Investing time helping your employees to develop and practice these skills will be an important part of future-proofing your workforce. The first step is to analyze where your skill gaps are, and then assess whether these skills can be developed by upskilling or reskilling current employees, or if skills need to be bought in by recruiting external talent. With these areas identified organisations can build a long-term recruitment strategy. When recruiting externally or assessing internal candidates it is important to know which skill sets have the most value for your business and use psychometric insights to assess candidate's values and abilities. Tools such as Pearson TalentLens Role Assessments can build a custom battery of assessments that are tailored to an organisations job role measuring skills and job fit, so you can make recruitment decisions with confidence.
Quiet quitting and the Great resignation
53% of tech workers are pre-emptively applying for a new job in case of redundancies at their firm, meaning that candidates with top tech skills are actively looking, and with Tech vacancies now making up 13% of all the UK’s advertised vacancies. (Tech Nation) there is a choice. Organisations need to have a long-term strategy in place to source new and build new talent. Disjointed communication between managers and recruitment teams can affect expectations of what values and skills are needed for roles. Job descriptions need to be clear; skill focused and outline the benefit for today’s candidates who are looking for roles which balance wellbeing as well as career benefits. 20% of tech workers in a recent poll said they wouldn’t apply for a job if they didn’t have more than three quarters of the requirements.
How to take action:
Retaining employees is a significant challenge in a tech market where demand is high. Today’s candidates want to be able to manage work and life and seek organisations that match their values. Organisations need to produce job descriptions which accurately refelct the skills they are looking for and embrace new ways of sourcing and selecting talent. This is where taking a skills-based approach to hiring could help improve your talent pool, 70% of business executives say they are getting creative about sourcing for skills rather than just considering job experience. (Deloitte) - this has the potential to widen your talent pool, improve your team's diversity and expand the skills sets available. Simultaneously, investing in team L&D, using psychometric insights to pinpoint where development opportunities exist and help with career planning via tools such as Which Career For Me means employees feel better valued.
The recruitment process
As with any industry, talent within tech market is affected by an organisations recruitment process. “26% of tech workers have dropped out of a job application because the recruitment process was too slow”. Candidates are looking for application processes which keep clear lines of communication, are succinct and meaningful to the role they are applying for. Many HR leaders are being asked to make cost efficiencies meaning there is greater pressure on making a ‘good hire’ and avoiding hiring mistakes. According to SHRM research, the average cost per hire is $4,700 but factoring in additional hiring costs and the cost of a bad hire and it becomes closer to 3 or 4 times the roles salary!
How to take action:
Remember the recruitment process is often a candidate's first experience of your organisation. Get this right and even if they do not reach the final stage, they are likely to engage with you again in the future. If you’re utilising psychometric tests to assess cognitive skills or aptitude for example, ensure that you follow best practices. Candidates should know how and why they are being assessed and where possible feedback results. Not only does this build trust but it gives candidates a chance to develop in the future. Finally, the cost of a bad hire is significant, our team at Pearson can help you gain the data you need to make informed hiring decisions based on valid and reliable assessments.
The tech talent market is ambitious. Organisations need top candidates who can apply and implement new technologies to keep pace with competitors. Upskilling and reskilling offer a huge opportunity for internal staff to grow and develop which may help reduce the cost of recruitment, but organisations need to be prepared to look at their recruitment strategy and develop a pipeline of skills-based candidates who can mobilize the organisation quickly and efficiently. Looking creatively at how they hire and using psychometric assessments to provide evidence of skill and potential can help reduce the cost of hire and improve retention rates.