The 5 biggest challenges when hiring tech talent

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It’s one of the fastest-growing sectors in the business environment, but the ever-advancing nature of the tech world – coupled with a widely-reported skills shortage in this often-complex arena – can make hiring tech talent extremely tough!

Speak to any organisation about their resourcing model, at present, and it is highly likely they’ll report that finding the right people is hard. Gartner’s emerging risk study ranked the global talent shortage as the number one risk factor in the last quarter of 2018, up from third place in the second quarter of the year.

At the start of 2018, talent shortages did not even feature in their data.

Talk specifically to businesses in the tech sector and the challenges are undoubtedly magnified further still. Unemployment, generally, is at a record low and there are myriads of exciting companies in the market, for those looking for a new role.

There’s no doubting this is a tough time for those with hiring responsibilities, but there are ways to overcome the difficulties associated with attracting and employing the best tech talent.

1.    A notable skills shortage (and how to tackle it!)

As technology pervades every part of our lives, the people delivering that tech are trying to keep up to the relentless pace of necessary skills development. For certain roles – especially front-end developers, DevOps, cybersecurity, big data, and AI specialisms – talent is particularly scarce.

Companies therefore need to look at flexible resourcing models to bring these skills in, and they cannot shy away from the training and development of existing employees too, irrespective of the investment this may require.

Many businesses are already undertaking skills competency frameworks to identify what skills they will need for evolving roles, how their current staff align with these needs, and whether there are people already within their organisation who would be the right fit, with the necessary training.

2.    Buy in from leadership/the c-suite

A number of resourcing managers are acutely aware of the need to recruit, but agreement from the leadership team is not always a given – especially considering the salaries that are often associated with high-end tech roles.  So, obtaining sign off for a talent budget is no mean feat.

It is therefore crucial to speak to the c-suite – with as much notice as possible – about the bottom-line impact that these individuals will have. Sometimes the cost of not recruiting them is even more powerful.

It is also important to have a clear idea of who exactly the business wants to employ – personality, cultural fit and progression aspirations are all hugely important, not just skills!

3.    Hiring strategy inefficiencies

As much as it is imperative that all stakeholders are on board with new tech hires, many organisations then need to look carefully at streamlining their hiring strategy and onboarding process. In this competitive talent marketplace, potential recruits will have many offers on the table. A lengthy timeframe for interviews and subsequent decision making may therefore mean losing people to competitors.

Feedback and updates should be provided to suitable candidates throughout the process, in the hope of keeping them engaged. Poor performance here could indicate to the potential employee that internal communication and/or other processes are not particularly slick or structured, which could be deemed off putting. Working with a recruitment partner can often help alleviate this as it gives a single point of contact for all parties.

4.    Contract vs Permanent

The death of the somewhat archaic 9-5 has been widely reported in the world of HR, but the traditional workplace infrastructure needs to evolve even further to meet the needs of the tech space.

Many people within this sector are used to working in varied locations, and from project to project. This fluidity means a number seek contract roles – as opposed to permanent positions – with attractive remuneration packages and an often favourable work-life balance.

Recruiting only for permanent hires can prove tough, so organisations need to think creatively about how to attract staff. Offering flexible packages, training budgets, plus other perks which allow for skills development and potential progression, will set the company apart from the competition.

5.    Searching (and searching, and searching)

Finding the right people is seriously time consuming – particularly because research shows that 85% of potential hires are actually passive applicants. This means they are an employed professional, however they could be open to switching jobs. This pool of talent won’t necessarily see a job advertisement if they are not actively looking, so a resourcing partner is often required to tap into these highly-desirable possibilities.

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