Contrary to the common assumption that IT is only focused on maintaining steady-state and “keeping the lights on,” today’s IT organizations understand the importance of digital innovation to ensure business survival and success. However, executing on a digital strategy often means acquiring new skill sets and capabilities.
Large enterprise IT organizations struggle with offering opportunities to learn new skills and technologies. In addition, attracting and hiring new talent is harder today than it was just 5 years ago, due to the number of unique opportunities available offering exciting careers and fun work environments. Topping that are roles that didn’t exist a few years back, and the supply/talent there hasn’t caught up with the demand.
To give some context for the changing digital job landscape, TechRepublic states the 10 most in-demand tech jobs of 2019 are the following:
- Cybersecurity Engineer
- AI/Machine Learning Engineer
- Full Stack Developer
- Data Scientist
- Python Developer
- Java Developer
- Cloud Engineer
- Scrum Master
- DevOps Engineer
You can add some IT specialties (and probably many more) to that list: Blockchain, virtual/augmented reality, and 3D printing.
Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are in a candidate-driven job market and live with the reality that candidates are being offered multiple job opportunities for the most in-demand positions. “Ghosting” (a dating term) also now has relevance to the hiring of IT professionals. Candidates no longer feel compelled to explain why they’re no longer interested in a position and instead simply ignore your communication efforts.
The following statistics should put things in perspective:
- “Over half (54%) of the organizations agreed the digital talent gap is hampering their digital transformation programs and that their organization has lost competitive advantage because of a shortage of digital talent.” (Capgemini/LinkedIn study)
- “Nearly 60% of employers struggle to fill job vacancies within 12 weeks.” (LinkedIn Talent Blog)
- “Nearly one-third of employers say the main reason they can’t fill roles is a lack of applicants.” (2018 ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey)
While traditional recruiting strategies may suffice for some staffing projects, they’re not a sustainable, scalable model for reducing the digital talent gap. Organizations must align their digital talent strategy through a lens of recruitment and retention based on their digital strategy roadmap. More specifically, they need to identify the changes necessary to attract, retain, and develop digital talent.
As an example: To capture sought-after tech candidates, Unilever digitized its screening process. Instead of sending its recruitment team to campuses, Unilever invites candidates to play neuroscience games. Select students are interviewed, and responses are analyzed before being sent to the hiring manager. Candidates who pass these two selection rounds are invited to Unilever’s offices. An estimated 250,000 candidates went through this process in 68 countries from July 2016 to June 2017. Unilever saw significant benefits as a result. In North America:
- The application-to-job ratio doubled.
- The candidate pool hired was the most diverse to date.
- Time spent on applications decreased 75%.
- The offer acceptance rate increased 16%.
Remember, attracting talent is only one slice of the pie. A LinkedIn Learning report states, “As talent turns over, expenses balloon. The cost of turnover now ranges from 50% to 250% of each position’s salary.” That’s why your digital talent strategy also needs to be about retaining your digital talent and developing digital talent within your organization.
I hope this raises awareness across your organization and resonates with your C-levels. The challenge of the digital talent gap can no longer be viewed as just an HR or IT issue; it must be viewed as an organization-wide problem. The evidence is clear: without a solid digital talent strategy in place, your organization is hindering its ability to maintain competitive advantage for modern-day customer-centric and innovative business solutions.
Todd Chusid is a Senior Digital Strategist at Anexinet. Chusid has a 15-year track record of taking end-to-end ownership and delivering diverse technologies on web, mobile and ecommerce solutions. Chusid’s mission at Anexinet is to help clients reimagine, refine, and reinvigorate their business processes, systems, and data to enable more engaging and productive interactions with customers, partners, and employees through mobile devices.