Saturday Essay: How Can We Fix The Talent Crisis?Nick Thompson, CEO of DCSL GuideSmiths, shares practical tips on finding talent following the pandemic and comments on why team augmentation is the way of the future
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It has been clear that the effects of the pandemic have had significant repercussions on almost every industry, with COVID’s impact on employment generating devastating effects across the hospitality, retail and health sectors in the UK. In addition to that, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has meant that many European workers who had been working in the UK, were forced to return home or leave the UK for another country.
Businesses are no longer in as strong a position as they once were; likewise, highly skilled industries are similarly undergoing a crisis the likes of which have never been seen. Sunak’s recent budget announcement demonstrates full governmental support for highly skilled industry, which has been great to see; however, with government schemes such as furlough and CBILS having ended, it is truly upon the founders and decision makers who navigated their firms through the crisis, to once again lead their business into the second phase of true recovery.
We can see that the economy is clearly bouncing back, as Brits begin the transition into what was once deemed the ‘normal’. The number of businesses in the UK have hit a four-year high, but according to Lloyd’s Bank, the skills-shortage is still one of the primary concerns for sustained survival and growth. Recruitment company Hays has also stated that there are ‘clear signs’ of skills shortages worldwide and in turn, salaries are subsequently rising in IT, technology and life science sectors.
The number of vacancies in the UK have hit a 20-year high this year alone, and now the availability of workers has hit a 24-year low. Hence, with over 1.66 million vacancies in the skilled arena, employers must ask themselves how they can source talent in a sector that has not only continued to grow at a pace, but become crucial for the survival of modern-day businesses.
For businesses to effectively hire employees in such a small pool of choice, there are four key factors that employers must consider when scouting for talent:
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First, employers must carefully consider the skills that are required for the position. While this seems like an obvious step, many firms primarily focus on hiring for a job title and not skills. Which skills are business critical? What can you teach them along the way? It is important to prioritise and then compromise on skills that come lower down on the list.
Secondly, employers need to consider the kind of person that they are hiring. Experience is always desirable, but so is the candidate’s personality. After the impact of the pandemic which disproportionately affected younger sections of society, it can be hard to find experience. Many young people, although perhaps lacking experience, have spent the last year and a half working on skills and are now raring to go in order to impress.
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Remote working, from what we have seen, is very much here to stay, with a recent report for the BBC stating that 70% of workers don’t anticipate a full return to the office. Therefore, it is vital to have an up-to-date policy in place that deals with this issue. Make it clear what that policy is on your job descriptions and be willing to cater to the needs of the individual you’re hiring. Buzzwords and phrases like ‘flexible working options’ will no longer cut it for a workforce in constant flux and demanding home working options.
Competition for skilled talent has never been higher, with record number of vacancies and application numbers falling rapidly. Therefore, the business needs to sell themselves to the candidate as much as you are looking for them to impress you with their skills and experience. Businesses must prepare a clear vision of what actually makes your business stand out over rivals in your space or just as a place to work. The historic perks of pizza parties and office drinks will no longer be enough to make the firm an attractive place to work, but that doesn’t mean that other initiatives, perhaps with purpose in mind, shouldn’t be present and mentioned.
These methods are crucial to ensuring that employers can attract skilled workers in a time where businesses are clearly struggling. 40% of UK digital leaders admit that they can’t keep key employees, with these employees being lured away by the offer of a higher salary. It is no longer an option to solely focus on the skills of an individual, as the pandemic has showed us that Brits are beginning to prioritise various other factors such as location and working conditions. In addition to that, hybrid work models will undeniably be the way of the future, and in order to attract workers, businesses must adapt to the needs of their employees.
The recruitment arena is flush with a number of methods from which employers are able to source workers; with the traditional agency route being one of the many methods with which to secure skilled resource. In many cases, sourcing the correct role for the brief at hand is the initial challenge. This is often closely followed by ensuring that the individual or team integrates into the infrastructure of the business seamlessly.
The way of tackling this issue that we have used is team augmentation, which provides top level, critical talent to businesses where and when they need it the most. Filling vital vacancies in less than 3 weeks in some of the most sought-after and highly skilled sectors, businesses can choose to employ team augmentation depending on specific objectives including reducing costs, flexibility of resources, improved quality of output, visibility of progress, and a closer alignment to business objectives.
With traditional recruiting methods taking an average of 63 days to fill a position, team augmentation sources an immediate skill solution for the brief at hand at a significantly lower cost than traditional recruitment. Given that the shortage of skilled-workers have hit a record high, employers must start to look beyond these traditional routes of hiring and look into both outsourcing, onshore and further afield.
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With that being said, our use of our team augmentation service is the result of years of hard work to become both a market leader in software development and a destination company for talented developers, and we have helped clients such as Centrica, Smith & Nephew and Haymarket Publishing. One of the biggest challenges in the world of software development is sourcing the correct talent at the opportune moment that is needed. In a space where there are over 68,929 vacancies, not only does team augmentation deliver significantly faster than traditional recruitment, it also allows access to talent at a fraction of the cost of traditional routes.
The process begins with understanding project requirements, identifying deliverables, the talent required and the timeline, at which point we match the requirements with a team of over 300 skilled software engineers. Onboarding then integrates the new resource into the existing business, ensuring that it aligns to the values, processes and procedures of the company. Finally, through weekly catchups and monthly feedback, we ensure that they are providing continual support toward project delivery.
Through this combination, we are able to offer access to essential talent when our clients need it. DCSL GuideSmiths – a business that helps other businesses with digital transformation – specialises in sourcing software developers with a specific skillset on either a short-term or long-term basis with a perfect fit between project progress and cost-effectiveness.
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shortage of programmers and software developers has come at a time when businesses need them most, many who rely on digital transformation and app development for their growth and survival. Companies continue to look to push digital transformation further and faster than ever before, with technology lying at the heart of how they operate. Yet, thousands of businesses have survived Covid only to find themselves stuck in a dearth of the skilled individuals needed to grow and bounce back. With the integration of team augmentation, businesses can ultimately fill vital vacancies in a timely manner while simultaneously slashing the costs of high-end “parachute” talent.
Highly-skilled industry will only continue growing, as businesses can no longer survive without some form of digital presence. With this in mind, long waiting times for job vacancies, particularly in the skilled sector, are no longer a viable option. Thus, digital leaders must begin to assess their needs, and find new solutions to overcome this talent shortage.