With potential competitors in the tech space cropping up every second, it’s more important than ever to have the talent necessary to give your business a competitive edge. In our increasingly digital world, building a strong tech talent pipeline is vital for your company to succeed.
Unfortunately, research shows that goal may be difficult to reach: There’s currently a deficit of suitable tech talent nationwide.
The Talent Pool Is Drying Up
According to research released this year from the Korn Ferry Institute, tech is one of the biggest areas where talent pools are likely to dry up by 2030. A recent survey from Harvey Nash and KPMG found that a full 65 percent of CIOs already see a lack of tech talent strangling the industry.
This point was underscored by an Indeed survey showing that 86 percent of organizations are struggling to find and hire the tech talent they need. Nearly as many feel they struggle with missed revenue and halted development, leading the employees they do have to feel burned out from the added stress. Companies are relying more and more on technology as their chief value generator without properly investing in the human capital necessary to keep that tech going.
Of course, there are a few companies who have successfully cultivated the talent they need. Nevertheless, hard digital skills in cybersecurity, cloud computing, and UX design are still in exceedingly short supply. If they hope to snag their share of it, businesses will need to step up and build a better talent pipeline for themselves.
Here’s how build a better tech talent pipeline for now and in the future.
Don’t focus solely on talent that’s already in the pool. Armando Garza, chief evangelist at the online career guidance platform YouScience, recommends being proactive about investing in tomorrow’s employees, saying, “By focusing on high school students, companies can identify future talent with the abilities they need early enough in the process to create a stable, self-renewing workforce.”
While a high school-based recruitment strategy is definitely a long-term investment, it ensures that not only is the talent pool growing, but new graduates already have your business top of mind when they’re ready to work. Just look at GE, whose Brilliant Career Lab program partners with public schools in Boston to teach basic STEM skills.
The program works as a valuable early investment so the company can grow its Boston offices with a recurring talent pool ready to tackle GE’s needs. In addition, organizations like Teen-Turn help students from disadvantaged communities, primarily girls, by offering internships that encourage them to take on post-secondary study of tech in the future. Whether you focus on in-school training programs or internships in your workplace, targeting the high school set can, over time, yield valuable employees for your company.
Boost Training for Your Current Workforce
One of the primary reasons you’re having trouble finding talent is that the skills you need — and all STEM careers require — are highly specialized and ever-evolving. College students are understandably reluctant to study particular coding languages and/or technologies considering there’s a chance they could all be obsolete by the time they graduate.
Instead of hoping the right candidate will already possess the exact skills you need, why not find a candidate with the necessary potential and offer to pay for his or her training yourself? The landscape is changing so rapidly that both workers and businesses have to continually update their knowledge base to stay relevant. Growing in popularity are tech apprenticeships, in which companies reach out to individuals with the necessary soft skills and offer to provide the training needed to get them up to speed.
In addition, consider opportunities to partner with your city. For instance, it’s no secret that Amazon chose Long Island, New York, for a second headquarters because of the effort the city has taken to encourage new tech talent. The city’s Civic Hall nonprofit is developing a pilot program in which trainers will work with tech company leaders to create training programs that address the industry’s needs.
Make Yourself Competitive to the Talent That Already Exists
Let’s be honest — the talent pool may be smaller than the growing industry needs, but there are still qualified candidates out there. Perhaps the bigger problem is the massive number of competing organizations that are also in desperate need of these skilled employees.
Landing quality talent isn’t just about finding people with the right skills. It’s also about making your organization enticing enough for them to take the job and stay. Assuming that your salary and benefits offer is competitive, you need to be having conversations with candidates to determine what they’re looking for most from your company, your culture, and your management.
Personalize how you sell your company as a meaningful work experience for each specific candidate. After learning as much as you can about a candidate, consider how his or her goals overlap with what your company offers. Be honest, but tailor your discussion and messaging to highlight what makes most sense for the individual sitting in front of you or on the other end of your email. Recruiters at Yahoo have adopted this customized approach, doing their homework and personalizing emails before reaching out to prospective employees.
The shrinking talent pool is not a small problem, and it isn’t going away on its own. By encouraging prospective employees long before they enter the workforce, enriching them once they do, and ensuring your organization is worth their time, you will set yourself up to land exactly the talent you need to thrive.
Editor In Chief at ReadWrite
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.