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Turning the heads of tech talent: it’s time for companies to get creative

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author: Zara Winstanley
The pandemic transformed nearly every organisation into a tech company. Consequently, there is an urgent lack of highly qualified talent in the tech sector. It is estimated that there are around 100,000 unfilled tech vacancies every single month which could cost the world some $8.5 trillion due to 85 million unfilled jobs by 2030. Around 69% of UK business owners are experiencing a digital skills shortage and 66% of companies plan to hire more in the coming months.

This problem is set to be particularly prevalent in new and niche areas such as AI and Machine Learning, Software Engineering, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity. The potential consequences include stagnating innovation, lower quality work, and increased employee stress. 

Although the competition is and will continue to be, fierce for qualified tech talent, companies can start laying the groundwork now to keep their pipeline full of viable candidates. We explore how companies can work on creative solutions to prepare themselves for the tech talent war…

Develop: upskill internal talent

Though the skill shortage is hitting fast and hard, the current core workforce is the foundation of any business. Alongside benefits, employees are looking at other options that can advance their skill set, and many companies such as Amazon have already implemented their plans for a major upskill initiative. They aim to focus on software engineering, cloud, machine learning and IT workers. They have already committed $1.2 billion towards education and skills training programmes with a main focal point on tech, in efforts to get their workforce upskilled by 2025. 

42% of companies plan to follow suit, launching ways to upskill their employees to keep ahead of the fast-approaching tech advancement era. Many roles historically have requested undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as a minimum; however, times are changing. With companies having to reimagine ways to attract talent, and stay on top of advancing tech, companies like Accenture, Google, KPMG, Microsoft, the BBC and even the civil service are offering IT apprenticeships. 

Diversify: expand talent outreach

On average, the number of open tech roles is six and a half times greater than that of the number of candidates available to fill the roles. Companies need to approach recruitment outside traditional routes to inspire diverse groups to pursue tech-based careers. 

  • Apprenticeships, experience, and non-academic routes into tech

As such, we’re finding that the hiring managers within the majority of our clients in the tech space support eliminating the four-year degree requirement for digital roles. 

As a consequence, we've seen more businesses hiring IT professionals who have trained via non-traditional routes. For example, a computer science degree is no longer a must-have if you want a career as a programmer. With the wealth of online and offline resources available to everyone, coders of all levels of technical competence can improve their programming skills, opening job opportunities in the booming tech sector.

Tech apprenticeships provide one training alternative. Perceptions of apprenticeships are changing, being considered on par with or above that of a degree by offering both education and experience. Apprenticeships have therefore become an increasingly popular route to attracting new candidates and nurturing existing talent. Only a small proportion of our clients say they wouldn't consider non-academic backgrounds when hiring.

  • Developers without borders

One immediate step companies can take is getting creative in their benefits – offering the flexibility of hybrid work is a no-brainer, given that 95% of IT professionals prefer a hybrid working model. Across all industries, ‘remote work’ job listings have increased 457%, according to recent LinkedIn data, with the tech sector a leader in job listings. Companies that fail to figure out how to offer this flexibility simply won’t be able to attract the talent they need.

On the search for talent – UK vs. overseas: Ged Mason, CEO of Morson Group

Remote working has allowed businesses to hire more flexibly and access homegrown skillsets that they never would’ve been able to before, with UK talent being very much in demand. It’s blurred the geographical lines of where companies recruit, with people no longer required to work locally to where they live. Yet as talent demands rise and niche shortages become more prevalent, we’re likely to see a rise in appetite for overseas labour as UK companies look to plug skills gaps in certain pockets and sectors, just as we saw pre-Covid in the tech space.

Going further, there’s a large rise in candidates prioritising purpose over paycheck, which includes seeking better opportunities for parental leave, a fair remuneration package and options for mental health days and counselling. Considering providing employees with true flexibility and offering charity awareness days are ways to attract a breadth and diversity of talent. By prioritising this as an employer, you can ensure a happier, more enriched workforce. 

Digitise: Embrace a tech-powered approach

When sourcing tech talent, think tech first. You’re looking for tech people, so tech enable the recruitment process, make it interactive and effortless to stand out in this crowded, noisy market. For example, our Talent DNA app transforms candidate assessments giving both you, the employer, and the candidate greater control over the application process. Via the app clients can create behavioural, health and safety, critical thinking and skills/challenge-based assessments which can be accessed by candidates in their own time via smartphone. 

CASE STUDY: How Talent DNA enabled Sainsbury’s to achieve a 50% increase in success from interview to offer.

Sainsbury's were looking for a solution to challenge perceptions around their 150-year-old brand and bring to life their distinctive offer. They were looking to recruit the next generation of coding engineers by connecting with an audience that had tuned out to traditional recruitment messages. 

Talent DNA with Sainsbury’s created two short, app-based tests; a short coding challenge and a critical thinking test. If the students did not pass the tests they were told immediately. If they were successful, they knew instantly, knowing they had progressed increased their engagement. Many students who applied were coding in their spare time and not studying for a Computer Science degree. This process levelled the playing field for them. As the application process was skills-based it meant they had an equal chance of progressing. 

Sainsbury's received the same number of qualified applications compared to the previous year in 35% less time. The students passing through the process were of a much higher calibre – the same number of students were invited to the assessment centre as the previous year but 70% more offers were made. 

As Sainsbury's demonstrated how innovative their tech offer was, only one candidate rejected the offer of a job, even when against big tech firms.

 

What does this mean for tech talent looking for a new role? 

It remains an employee’s market – the control is very much in the hands of UK-based candidates, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.– Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO

2022 is shaping up to be a great year for tech talent searching for new roles. Big organisations are now raising their budgets and therefore paying more to find the top tier talent. This means candidates are now in the driving seat and can be a little pickier about where they’d like to work. They can begin to look through the various options provided like further education, better benefits and companies that align with their social and ethical values. If you are looking for a new role in tech search for hundreds of opportunities here. 

Do you need help finding tech talent? Our experienced tech recruitment team understand the nuances of the market, have a large readily engaged audience and work creatively to help you find the right people to empower your business.
We pride ourselves on being a clear, educated voice, in an often crowded and competitive market, see how we can help you, get in touch with Morson Tech Director Andy.Wadsworth@morson.com.