Back in April of last year, leading information brand CIO published the results of its 2018 CIO 100 survey. It found that a worryingly high 69% of technology executives were struggling to hire the IT and digital talent they needed to drive forward major digital transformation projects.
At that time, recruitment and retention moved up the priority list for around 86% of CIOs and digital recruiters responding to the survey. But has the situation improved, and the skills gap closed to any degree as we move into 2019? Unfortunately for the progress of digital transformation projects around the UK, recent research has revealed that:
- 59% of enterprises are struggling to find IT professionals with integration and migration skills
- 54% desperately needed digital transformation expertise
- 64% are concerned about finding digital security skills in new recruits.
It’s clear that there’s still work to be done, but how can your organisation approach digital recruitment challenges in 2019? Here are some top tips from CIOs across the country, as featured in a recent CIO piece…
Work with start-ups
The Head of IT for Vodafone, Ajit Dhaliwal, believes that the best strategy for ensuring a ready stream of high-skilled digital recruits is to work with a partner who can do most of the early recruiting and training for you. He says that the perfect partner could in fact be a startup rather than an established digital agency:
“We’re working with startups who basically are incubators for digital talent. They get digital youth in either from high school or apprentices, and they’ll train them up in the basics, and then we look to offer them employment, and then training in-house with Vodafone.”
Offer flexible working
Establishing the right culture is absolutely crucial when there’s a skills shortage and everyone’s competing to win over the same pool of candidates. What can you offer that your rivals can’t? If not salary, culture can be just as important. The CTO of Good Energy, David Ivell, recommends offering flexible working – and making sure you have the technology in place to support it – so that you can attract talent from further afield. You can spread your net wider, attracting people who may not necessarily want or be able to work at your head or regional office. David Ivell says:
“We’re working really at how we recruit, making sure people understand that that is an option, and that we measure people by their output and quality of the work they do, not the amount of time that they sit at their desk.”
Think outside of the job description
A really interesting approach from the Bank of England’s CIO Robert Elsey is to run a cyber security competition in which anyone can enter, where the best performers win an interview for a cyber security role. This approach is great for attracting publicity, but it is also able to reach untapped IT talent – people who do actually have the skills but would never have applied for a role as they consider themselves in the wrong field.
Focus on university and graduate recruitment
Many of the top IT executives interviewed by CIO mentioned increasing the focus on university campus and graduate recruitment as a way to tackle the IT skills gap. Start earlier down the chain and create a pathway through internship and fellowship programmes to ‘mould’ promising talent into the kind of employee that fits your business perfectly.
For expert help tackling digital recruitment challenges, get in touch with the specialists at SOLOS Consultants.
image courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net