By Neil Purcell, CEO, Talent Works
For many of us the pandemic has led to a more agile working environment, and businesses have accelerated their plans for digital transformation. For many, the need to adapt to a remote workforce and compete with digitally native tech businesses who have succeeded throughout such uncertainty has led to an increased focus on tech. That’s had a knock-on effect on the recruitment landscape, particularly regarding the need for digital talent. Whereas in the broader landscape unemployment and application numbers might sadly be up, in technology the opposite is true.
Even before the pandemic, sourcing the best talent required to execute plans for cloud migration, software development, cybersecurity, automation and more, was a number one business objective. According to a recent report, the UK saw a predictable decline in the number of jobs advertised. However, the same report highlights a surprising 36% uptick in the demand for digital talent. In fact, throughout the pandemic, tech roles have been second in demand only to healthcare, which gives us a good idea of what businesses will be prioritising in the coming year.
Disruptors that are rapidly reshaping industries are also increasing the competition for tech talent. One example of a company growing its tech talent pool as it drives change is cinch, the fully online used car retailer and one of the UK’s most exciting new businesses. The last year has seen online car sales soar in popularity and, as a result, cinch is creating more than 100 new tech jobs in the coming year alone. Jaz Chana, cinch’s Technology Director explained how the organisation is, “in the enviable position of attracting more of the market’s best tech talent to exciting new opportunities in our burgeoning Manchester tech hub.”
The UK’s tech regions are also expanding. cinch’s plans to recruit in Manchester only further affirm the city’s status as a UK tech hub. The organisation also hopes to attract talent from nearby locations including Liverpool and Leeds. It’s an exciting time for technology, and organisations need to find this great talent to support growth.
From objective to imperative
According to Gartner, the pandemic has likely fast-forwarded digital skills adoption by at least five years. What this presents is a unique opportunity for organisations to respond effectively, and to ensure they are wholly prepared to manage this surge. Ultimately, the parallel between the competition for customers and that of candidates is incredibly similar – but it isn’t prioritised in the same way. If the process is not managed appropriately, it can lead to the same crisis. Without talent, products will be substandard, late, and unsupported.
Even the most analogue of businesses have had to accelerate their own digital revolution in order to carry on with their operations and adapt to demand. That means new devices, software, tools, online storage and security policies, not to mention staff training. But how has this impacted recruitment? Is the industry up to the challenge?
Demand for technology roles may be increasing, but recruitment itself has had to undergo some significant changes which now work in the candidates’ favour and put more strains on tech employers wishing to retain top talent.
With geographical boundaries and logistical challenges largely removed, employers can also broaden their scope and tap into especially competitive talent that might otherwise have gone unnoticed because the candidate was in another town, county or even country. Both of these aspects increase the potential for candidates to change roles or move to new organisations which may not have previously been accessible; presenting retention challenges to other employers.
With most (if not all) companies recognising the need for tech talent within their organisation, the competition is fierce. Embracing your digital appeal through targeted social media ads can increase the likelihood that you are engaging with only those that meet your specific criteria. Developing an employer brand that speaks to these individuals, and promotes unique aspects of your business will help appeal to the right people who share your passions, motivations and will be both a cultural and skills-based fit. You may not be the biggest player in tech, but using emotional drivers and your unique selling points to promote your employer brand on the right digital channels will ensure you connect with the right talent for you.
Far from being a problem, the surging demand for tech talent provides an opportunity for businesses to gain a secure foothold in the digital world which they may otherwise have lacked, lending them a competitive advantage in the months and years to come. However, as the need is greater within the technology industry compared to others, and truth is that organisations need to fight harder for it. Not only distinguishing themselves from the non traditional tech sectors, but the tech giants that so often dominate the talent pool. Let’s face it, not everyone wants to work for Google or Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you can risk it with poor planning, and little preparation.