Digital adoption across every sector was accelerated during the pandemic. These digital transformation programs put huge pressure on an already tight labour market.

In a battle with larger, better-established, and more financially secure organisations, SMEs may feel unable to compete for talent.

Couple this with the fact that counter offers are on the rise. Owners of Small and Medium Enterprises may also lack the deep pockets to retain their people without the ability to offer attractive payouts.

In recent months, the pendulum has swung. Economic uncertainty has increased redundancies and escalated company restructuring. This has caused a sudden abundance of tech talent in the market and open to new opportunities.

How can SMEs attract and retain talent?

Here are some tips we have for SMEs that are looking to recruit and retain tech talent.

Highlight career progression and learning opportunities.

In the current economic climate, if a candidate opts to move organisations, there’s often a very good reason for doing so. Normally this is to pursue a particular career path and climb the ladder toward a more senior position.

As a smaller organisation, you can offer candidates a more accessible route. They are likely to have a broader role and as such make more of an impact.

  • One to one learning
  • Development time with senior staff
  • Additional responsibilities outside of their role
  • More likely to have their ideas heard and implemented.

are all large plus points you can highlight in your job ad and during the interview process.

Being able to show you’re prepared to support their journey and invest in their development will help you stand out against larger competitors.

Flexible working.

The pandemic has made the working arrangements that fall under the “flexible working” umbrella the norm. They’re now considered critical by employees and candidates looking for new work.

  • 4 day working weeks.
  • Hybrid working
  • Remote working
  • Hot desking
  • Early finishing
  • Increased annual leave.

are all options that can be offered to new and existing employees. This is evidence that you prioritise work/life balance and value their well-being.

Ethical and sustainable initiatives

Investing in ethical and sustainable practices like Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are critical to your tech talent recruitment.

More and more candidates – especially Gen Z – are asking about these policies. Organisations that have policies and operate active practices that live these values are highly sought after by job seekers.

Shares and equity stakes.

SMEs may not have the deep pockets of large organisations, but they do have a lot to offer in terms of tangible remuneration.

Equity stakes or shares in the company can be just as effective when making a counteroffer or to secure senior talent.

Beyond the financial reward, it also increases engagement and motivation as well as incentivising productivity.  The work becomes more meaningful. Organisational success becomes personal success.

For more on how to increase the engagement of SME employees, read our thoughts here.

Broaden the talent pool.

Today, tech jobs are not just those that require technology skills such as coding or software engineering.

We are seeing an increase in requirements for more analytical, and project-based roles. SME employers are no longer limited to just those people who come from a tech background in a technology company.

The talent pool has suddenly become broader and as such, SMEs should look beyond the traditional recruitment pools. Consider using more accessible language in job ads and try using untapped resources to attract people from a more diverse range of sectors.

For more about how SMEs can compete with big business, read our recent blog here.

Are you looking to hire tech talent in your small or medium business? We can help.

Reach out to find out about how we work.

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