The candidate shortage and the subsequent battle for tech talent are creating a troubling hiring environment for businesses.

Both in the UK and across the globe, the pandemic has prompted a shift in people’s attitudes to work. It has caused them to question what they want from their employers and how they desire to live their lives.  Many have re-evaluated and decided to pursue an alternative career path, leaving their job to pursue a long-held dream. Others who have the skill, drive, and determination have harnessed their entrepreneurial spirit – leaving the 9-5 behind and set up on their own.

‘The Great Resignation’, as it has been called, can be attributed to people realising that they desire autonomy and control over their careers. The pandemic has also forced us to face our mortality. Working generations have never had to do this before. Life’s too short we have decided, and have asked ourselves, “if not now, then when?”.

A threat to digital transformation.

The last few years have seen a huge rush of digital transformation.  Businesses of all shapes and sizes across every area of industry have undergone a shift to digital.

The rate at which technology and digital tools evolve means that digital transformation has no end. There is always something else to consider. As a result those companies looking to source a digital workforce face additional concerns.  To meet the needs of digital projects, you need a tech workforce to complete them. Unable to source this talent, there is a danger that some will have to put their digital transformation on hold.

Out of the box thinking.

Candidate priorities have changed. Previously, businesses have been able to attract and retain employees using salary increases and remunerative tactics.  However, this is no longer enough. Research has shown that there are other drivers motivating candidate interest. Flexibility is now valued on a par with salary; lockdown has made people realise they require a better work/life balance.  Companies need to employ out the box thinking to hire the people they need to future-proof their organisations.

Working smarter, not harder.

Digital projects are often very specific. They have a definite goal in mind and are very time scale oriented. This puts HR departments, external recruiters, and hiring managers under significant pressure. Not only do candidates need to be sourced quickly, but they also must have the skills and experience to hit the ground running.

This is made more difficult when organisations are held back by red tape and process. Hiring full-time permanent employees can often be a lengthy and expensive process from start to finish.

Hiring departments need to remember that they require highly skilled candidates with options. These are people in high demand, and more often than not they have other offers on the table.

Businesses need to work in a way that is conducive to this urgency. The hiring process needs to be more flexible, and fluid. It needs to have a joined-up process, one that doesn’t involve numbers of decision-makers and multiple signoffs.  Decisions need to be made quickly so that communication between all involved is streamlined. Working this way will provide faster access to talent through a process that will be more attractive to the candidate whatever role you are hiring for.

Perm vs. contract.

One significant way organisations are addressing the permanent candidate shortfall is to turn to contractors to fill the gaps. The candidate market suits both the speed and skill requirements of many digital roles.  Many permanent staff who may have been furloughed throughout the pandemic have decided that self-employment is a better option and suits the needs of their lives.

Businesses who have flexed from the normal recruitment processes and embraced this cohort of talent have succeeded to secure tech people where others have failed.

The potential of flexible hiring.

Truly harnessing the potential of flexible hiring models requires organisations to extend that philosophy into what they offer to employees.

Whether organisations are choosing to hire contractors or permanent staff, there needs to be an acknowledgment that a flexible approach really matters to their team.

Flexible working hours and remote working require businesses to adopt a global mindset. Geographical restrictions no longer matter, and as such the world could be your talent pool. Sticking to local candidates only limits the options even more.  The benefits of this elastic workforce are counterbalanced if hires need to be based within a commutable distance.

But there’s more.

Another tactic some organisations have started to employ to address the requirements of the changing landscape is using a contractual team to boost the permanent one.

Skilled freelancers or elastic teams are used to complement the ones permanently in place. Businesses can be agile, bringing in additional muscle when it’s needed.  Able to scale up on demand, transformation can be swift and targeted.

The future.

2022 demands a level of agility that we haven’t seen in a long time. The struggles businesses are enduring are threefold. Candidate shortages, Brexit, and supply chain management difficulties are putting organisations under extreme pressure to meet the needs of the market.  Many are still playing catch up, while others are failing to evolve at a quick enough rate.

One solution lies in the ability of a business to be forward-thinking. Not only in their digital strategy but their recruitment one.  This goes beyond increasing starting salaries and improving perks. It needs ‘next levelling’ and working outside the parameters of normal recruitment processes. The hiring and recruitment landscape has evolved. Flexible hiring and elastic personnel strategies are needed to meet the needs of digital transformation projects without a finish line.

Are you seeking tech talent to help meet your digital transformation goals?

We can help. Sourcing tech, digital and data professionals is our passion. Whether you require permanent or contract hires, our extensive network of skilled tech talent means that we can help you.

To hear more about our unique partnering approach get in touch today.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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