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Adopt A New Talent Strategy to Navigate the Tech Talent Shortage

Organisations must adapt their talent strategies, so they can acquire and cultivate the skills they need to grow their business for the future. To get there, companies must design a new talent experience.

Talent strategy

The “war for talent” was coined by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company in 1997 to refer to the relentless competition involved in attracting and retaining exceptional, talented employees. Nearly 25 years later, organisations are still fighting this war and the battle is as intense as ever. Technology projects, especially, are frequent casualties; often projects are slowed or can even fail outright due to a lack of talent. With many companies accelerating their digital transformation efforts, organisations need a new strategy to address the talent gap.

The Great Talent Reset

On any given day, the number of open tech jobs is six and a half times greater than the number of workers available to fill those roles, and that’s likely an underestimate.

Organisations are struggling to find the talent with the skills they need to grow their businesses. In a survey from Gartner, Inc., IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies. As technology and business models continue their rapid transformation, the types of skills organisations need also are evolving.

The war for talent isn’t just a transitory product of the pandemic, though that has certainly exacerbated the situation. Any hiring manager in search of an experienced software engineer in the last decade can tell you about the fierce competition for tech talent. Individuals with in-demand skills and experience can be selective about the opportunities they decide to pursue. They simply have more options.

Navigating the Talent Shortage

As we’ve seen in many instances, the pandemic accelerated technology and hiring trends that were already in progress. Now, companies must navigate a number of trends that have exacerbated the severe talent shortage.

Artificial intelligence – From AI-enabled virtual assistants and chatbots to contactless cashiers to robot-assisted surgery, artificial intelligence and automation are driving significant change in the types of skills organisations need to thrive.

Remote work – Enabled by technology, work from anywhere models provide flexibility and create both opportunities and challenges for organisations attempting to attract and retain a geographically dispersed labour pool.

In the face of these tech and workforce trends, organisations must adapt their talent strategies so they can acquire and cultivate the skills they need to grow their business for the future. To get there, companies must design a new talent experience.

What do organisations need to think about to ensure inclusion and diversity initiatives don’t get put on hold due to the pandemic?

The pandemic has illustrated just how essential inclusion and diversity (I&D) are. If organisations don’t continue to focus and call for action in this critical area, they will never have an equitable recovery.

Being successful at inclusion and diversity requires tenacity and intentionality at all levels of the organisation. Furthermore, C-suite leaders and all leaders who support them should believe in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) simply because it makes good business sense.

Has the surge in remote work been more of a benefit or a barrier in the mission to build a more diverse technical workforce?

The transition to remote work has been both a benefit and barrier in terms of building a more diverse technical workforce. On the positive side, the shift to remote work and learning has increased access and accessibility, enabling more individuals who might not have been able to previously apply for and enroll in training and open jobs. However, there are challenges to remote working, such as access to the right tools, powerful internet, and the interpersonal connections generated in a face-to-face environment.

What can organisations do to improve their ability to build a diverse talent pipeline?

The business case for diversity:

  • Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time.
  • Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions twice as fast with half the meetings.
  • Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results.
  • A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identified diversity as a key driver of innovation, finding that diverse teams produce a minimum of 19% more revenue.
  • According to the latest from McKinsey, companies that are racially and ethnically diverse outperform the bottom lines of those that are not by more than 36%.
  • Harvard Business Review shows the dividends that diversity drives are multifaceted – not only do diverse and varied teams make better decisions, but they make better investments, too.

There are three key, pragmatic solutions that organisations must focus on to improve their ability to build diverse talent pipelines:

  • Evaluate the current I&D makeup. Where does diversity exist, and where is it too homogenous? What teams could benefit from alternate perspectives?
  • Revisit the recruiting strategy. Set realistic quantitative and qualitative I&D targets based on evaluation and analysis.
  • Strive to remove both explicit and unconscious bias. Bias must be removed from the recruitment and selection processes.