How To Find IT and Digital Talent in the Midst of a Tech Shortage

In the current climate within the UK-IT sector, it can be extremely challenging to find genuine IT Talent. We share our top tips to help you fill your skills gaps with the most talented job seekers available in the IT job market.

Is There Really a Shortage of IT Talent?

Internal Skills Gaps

Global Tech Skills Shortage

Within the UK alone, there are currently an estimated 600,000 vacancies in the Digital Technology sector. According to Workplace Insight, these unfilled roles are costing the economy £63 billion a year.

Interestingly, their findings show that despite Generation Z being “born with a technological spoon in their mouths”, school pupils still aren’t choosing to study IT-related subjects. In 2019, the number of students taking up IT-related courses fell by 15,000 (11%). Could this be because they feel they already have sufficient knowledge? Or, might students feel overwhelmed at the rapid rate of progression in software? Either way, there are big predictions for these skills shortage to grow even further.

Lady making a silly face and using her hands like binoculars to search for IT talent
Hey! Where is all the IT talent hiding? The struggle is real…

Do Tech Professionals Need a Certificate to Prove Their Skills?

  • Almost 50% of Developers never gained a degree in their chosen discipline
  • 41.8% of respondents described themselves as “self-taught”
  • Only 37.7% held a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science or a related field

With campaigns such as “#100daysofcode and being able to teach yourself just about anything through the internet, this claim may not be so far fetched. Furthermore, many professionals believe that self-education is the best way to keep up with the latest software advances. Particularly as school syllabuses (understandably) struggle to keep up with the rapid rate of growth within the Tech Industry.

How To Find IT Talent During Dry Spells

Although the forecast ahead may be slightly cloudy, fear not. Despite the data behind this vast skills shortage, suggesting nothing short of a skilled candidate drought, there are still plenty of talented IT-professionals out there! The trick is, knowing where and how to find them. Here are our top 5 ways to bag top talent when it feels like all IT professionals are hiding under rocks!

1) Use Social Media

Using social networks is a way to engage with potential job candidates, so they can get to know your business and how you work. By posting pictures or videos of what goes on behind the scenes in your office, aspiring candidates can get a taste of what working life is like there.

Young lady using social media to search for IT professionals
Social media enables companies to demonstrate their company culture in an authentic way.

Additionally, it is crucial to recognise that how people search for jobs is changing. Gone are the days of trolling through the job ads section of the local newspaper to find a role. Job hunters now are much more receptive when seeing a company on social media and how fun it may look to work there. Millennials and Generation Z love to see open-plan workspaces and nap pods, but snaps of Friday Beers can also say a lot about your business!

Because of the Skills Shortage, the IT Industry is mainly candidate-driven. Candidates are aware that you need their technical abilities more than they may need you. With so many companies crying out for IT professionals, how your business appears online is a significant factor in securing IT Talent. It, therefore, becoming increasingly more important to have a social media presence, especially when trying to attract IT, Digital and Marketing candidates.

2) Provide Solutions-Based Content

Recruiters creating a content strategy based around solving their ideal candidates' problems
First, we need to get into the minds of our ideal candidates then we need to solve their problems

Creating a content strategy sounds like it could be labour intensive but it doesn’t have to be. You could start by offering solutions to small problems such as finding motivation on a Monday morning. To overcome this, you may share articles about how to get more sleep, how to be more productive, the best breakfast to keep you fueled for a long day. This way, you’re providing great advice for current employees while interacting with future candidates.

For a more fine-tuned approach, you could post articles about more technical issues. For example, the current IR35 reviews by the Government. The aim should be to drive your candidates to your website before you need them and should be a long-term strategy.

3) Tap into the Passive Market

Recruiter searching for IT talent on their laptop
Use the power of the internet to find talented professionals online!

The passive market primarily refers to candidates who do not necessarily advertise that they’re looking for a new role. Candidates who usually operate this way are (generally) high calibre IT professionals. Such skills are so in demand that these individuals do not need to job hunt; instead, they wait for opportunities to come to them.

For this reason, online platforms such as LinkedIn are great for tapping into the passive market. Because here, the individual acts as their own gatekeeper, by accepting (or not) your connection request, the process is a lot quicker and a lot more fine-tuned. A Hiring Manager can message a potential candidate to find out within minutes if they are available and/or interested in their role.

4) Widen your Search Area

Magnifying glass as clients widens his search for IT talent
Come on guys… I know you’re out there!

Hiring out of towners can benefit businesses in a variety of ways. For example, it may increase office diversity by offering a new outlook or approach to tasks. New talent provides a unique experience and connections with new clientele. Candidates from neighbouring towns could hold valuable business connections that could open the doors to new business networks.

5) Manage Your Time Wisely

Gentleman looking for help in his search for IT Talent
With so many areas to cover, it can be hard to know where to start or focus your efforts! Maybe it’s time to outsource some of your workloads to an expert?

6 — Employee Referrals

7 — Revamp Your Benefits Package

For example, let’s imagine you need a Software Engineer and there are several of your competitors all advertising the same role all with competitive salaries. How do you compete with that? The way to stand out is by offering a benefits package that makes your role more attractive than theirs.

Often small businesses struggle to compete with larger companies in this area because they can’t afford costly benefits such as dental or medical insurance. In fact, one of the most valuable perks to employees is the opportunity to work from home. This is particularly true among talented tech professionals. Working remotely gives them the headspace they need to focus on more challenging technical problems without interruptions.

Make it Easy on Yourself!

Additionally, working closely with a recruitment consultant will mean you no longer have to worry about allocating time to search for candidates, plan your strategy, allocate resources and investment. Instead, a recruitment consultant will manage all of this for you.

Do you know anyone who’s struggling to find the IT talent their business needs? Why not share this post with them on your favourite social media channel? They’re bound to thank you for it!

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