Could Talent Shortages Slow the Digital Revolution?


9th December 2020
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he world and the labour market has been changing fast for some time in the wake of meeting consumer demand and the need to adapt working practices that align with our modern lives.

We see advancements in digital capabilities daily, and this year has been no exception as the world has shifted towards a ‘digital-first’ approach to most aspects of everyday life.

The trouble is, while digitisation seems unstoppable, does a talent shortage mean the digital revolution could be about to hit a wall?

From shortage to drought?

Organisations are reinventing their business models, reaching more customers in different ways and delivering services faster. They are doing this in response to a turbulent business year in 2020 and intending to emerge more robust and more resilient to combat future issues.

However, this is dependent upon the skills of the people charged with delivering these transformations, and demand for tech talent in the UK is skyrocketing.

A quick look at LinkedIn’s 2020 UK Emerging Jobs Report shows that tech roles are among the UK’s fastest-growing in-demand jobs, with IT companies among the largest employers of talent working in emerging jobs.

Couple this with the rise in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is driving automation, and it’s clear that technology dominates the modern workforce. Artificial Intelligence Specialist is the number one emerging job in the UK, with 18x more employees in this area than in 2015.

This increased pressure could highlight a more significant-tech skills shortage than existed pre-pandemic and could impact business across multiple sectors down the line.

Combating the shortage

The most significant barriers to recruiting tech professionals are centred around a lack of relevant skills, experience and technical qualifications. As such, companies are being forced to adapt their approaches to hiring and utilise both short-term and long-term tactics to combat these shortages in tech skills.

Increasingly, organisations are moving away from hiring-in the required skills and using contractors to plug skills gaps. Instead, they are hiring talent in permanently, which has the benefit of building core competencies internally, skill-sharing and gaining a long-term competitive advantage.

Upskilling employees with the latest tech skills and providing budgets for learning and development have proven useful, often overlooked, recognising the talent that can grow and is a method being adopted more and more to maximise the potential of a ready-made talent pool.

Creating a sustainable talent pipeline

Future strategies that ensure a sustainable pipeline of technology talent needs to be at the forefront of the tech sector’s mind. Keeping pace with the amount of innovation and the speed at which it’s adopted will be a crucial consideration for companies in the coming years.

If technology is now the growth engine for business, tech talent is the fuel, and companies are stepping up to build a better talent pipeline in several ways:

-Going back to school

Companies are partnering more effectively with schools and universities and are becoming involved with aspects of student’s learning and offering work placements during their education.

Likewise, tech apprenticeships and internships are growing in popularity.

-Recognising and nurturing transferable skills

Having an openness to how skills can be transferred and utilised in a technical capacity, as well as promoting career opportunities to professionals that can be shaped into tech employees is hugely beneficial

-Making yourself competitive to talent

Hiring tech talent isn’t purely about finding candidates with the right skills, you have to make what you can offer as a company attractive to them, so they join, and more importantly, stay.

Understand what your competition is offering in terms of salaries, benefits, culture, work-life balance, and you’ll go a long way to understanding how to attract the best talent.

 The pool’s not dry yet, but it’s getting there;

Research by Korn Ferry suggests that tech is one of the biggest areas where talent pools are likely to dry up by 2030. However, by encouraging prospective employees before they enter the workforce, engaging them once they do, and ensuring your business is worth their time, you will set yourself up to land exactly the talent you need to thrive.