Article by Clodagh Murphy June 3rd, 2022

Managing the Tech staff shortage

In September 2021, it was reported that one in eight vacancies sat within the technology sector, 42 per cent higher than levels seen in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. This perhaps comes as no surprise as only a few months earlier, in June 2021, it was reported that over 65 per cent of companies within the UK were planning to invest heavily in new technologies. Most (62 per cent) hoped to have investment plans completed by June 2022.

However, it hasn’t been plain sailing. According to further research, four in five companies are ‘unable to scale’ their digital transformation plans, with the key reason for this stunted development being the current tech labour shortage in the UK.

So, what’s the solution? Certainly not a quick fix – no one can magically summon thousands of qualified tech candidates out of thin air. While we’ve spoken before about potential ways employers can bolster their teams through non-traditional hiring routes, for example, there are other steps employers can take to support their digital transformation growth.

Internal upskilling

Despite the future of the workforce relying heavily on technological skill sets, the number of students engaging in GCSE-level qualification in IT subjects has dropped by 40 per cent in eight years.

However, 70 per cent of students entering the workforce believe that employers should be investing in their training and upskilling, especially if they are to stay ahead of the market curve and outrun their competitors. Unfortunately, only 50 per cent of employers offer the training required to upskill their staff members in relevant tech training.

In this new era, it’s crucial that leaders invest heavily in tools and resources that equip teams to upskill in relevant and highly sought-after skills, such as AI, data, and coding languages. This then enables teams to not only offer relevant services to clients, but it also ensures that digital transformation projects are seamlessly integrated into the business without delay.

Focus on retention

While, during a nationwide staff shortage, it can be easy to go into panic mode and worry about how you’re going to answer rapidly growing demand without enough staff, it’s imperative that you don’t lose sight of your current team members.

Ensure you have strong retention strategies in place to keep your current tech talent feeling supported and valued. The best way to do this is to ensure you regularly listen to their needs and implement changes where necessary. A great way to do this is through regular anonymous surveys, especially on those harder subjects like wellbeing or management feedback.

Additionally, don’t forget about the importance of regular employee recognition. No matter if it’s a small achievement or a big win, showing your team that you want to invest in their successes through reward schemes, for example, will make employees feel validated and, in turn, more likely to stay with you.

Don’t rush the recruitment process

While it might be tempting to let anyone through the door in squeezed times, by doing so you risk doing more harm to your business than good. First and foremost, it costs, on average, £3,000 to hire one employee. If you’re having to hire and re-hire regularly because team members aren’t a good fit, this will be a drain on company resources, both financially and in terms of the time taken to source and onboard these hires.

Secondly, poor hires can create turbulence within an already tightknit team, perhaps driving other top-quality talent to consider leaving. When hiring, ensure that usual protocols, in-depth CV reviews, interviews with key members of staff (to determine experience and cultural fit) and skills tests are all undertaken to find the correct hire. Of course, no candidate is perfect, and those with potential are likely to turn out to be as good, if not better, than already polished candidates, but a good fit is crucial.

Article by Clodagh Murphy

June 3rd, 2022

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