A woman at a job interview with two interviewers

With more roles currently vacant than there are people with the skills to fill them, it is clear that the global IT industry is facing a severe talent shortage, writes Alina Gaber Director of Talent Acquisition for Progress.

In fact, according to a recent survey, there were more than two million reported job vacancies in the tech sector in 2022 – the highest number of any labour industry.

Despite the wider pool of tech workers organisations have access to, driven by the increase in hybrid and remote working, competition for talent is still fierce. Hiring managers today face the challenge of vying for employees on a global scale – with the best talent open to offers from businesses anywhere in the world. This can seem a particularly daunting prospect for those organisations who lack the resources of their more established competitors.

However, it may not always be a deal breaker if you can’t trump the salaries and benefits on offer from other organisations. There are plenty of other ways to attract the top talent that your organisation requires to reach its full potential. What’s most important in the highly competitive global IT marketplace is to stand out from the crowd – in order to both attract and retain the best talent.

Knowing the audience

Before businesses get started with the recruitment process, it is vital that talent acquisition teams ensure they understand who they are targeting. This means outlining what kind of employee they are actually looking for, and which skill sets and values fit well into the plans they have for their company on a larger scale, both in the short and long term. This will allow them to create suitable candidate personas – the key next step in the talent acquisition process.

Dedicating time to this stage of the process is important, as organisations need to ensure they have an understanding of what benefits or conditions are essential to potential employees, and what the overall drivers for their careers are.  Doing so will allow them to produce relevant messages and incentives that resonate with the specific types of candidates they are trying to attract. It will also help them determine how to reach these individuals, whether that be through attending events, sponsoring relevant content (such as podcasts) or organising networking meet-ups . Additionally, on a global scale, organisations must be conscious of the variety of cultures relevant to the different markets that they are operating in – and tailor their outreach appropriately.

As part of this stage, acquisition teams should also think about the talent that has yet to take a dip into the hiring pool – obtaining emerging talent by targeting those not yet in the workforce. Conducting structured graduate and internship programmes is one way of investing in this upcoming talent. It’s an opportunity to identify individuals with potential as future employees, whilst also providing them with the relevant skills needed for after graduation.

Develop the employer brand

Another way to become a beacon for talent in the global IT sector is publicly positioning oneself as an attractive place to work. This means showcasing the employer brand and overall company culture, giving candidates a true insight into what it’s like to work there. However, this must be done authentically in order to retain talent. People will leave fairly quickly if it turns out not to be genuine. In recent years, social media has become an extremely effective tool for communicating company culture and values – with prospective employees now often using social channels to detect ‘red flags’ employers may otherwise try to hide, and (more positively) to picture themselves working as a part of a company culture.

A strong social media presence that provides visibility into an organisation’s inner-workings, learning and development opportunities, and team bonding activities gives potential candidates a glimpse into what life is like working there. Additionally, with nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials (48% each) having applied to jobs they found via social media, making use of these platforms is an opportunity modern organisations simply can’t afford to miss.

Aside from its importance in the recruitment process, the utility of social media also extends to aiding employee retention and enrichment. Many employees are more than willing to get involved if asked, creating user generated content that keeps the current workforce entertained and invested in their employer brand. Furthermore, involving existing employees in an ambassador programme will also boost the organisation’s social media presence.

It’s also worth being aware that, in the eyes of candidates, a company’s social presence is a reflection of the overall employer brand, and, as such, should always reflect company values. To help maintain cohesiveness, talent acquisition teams should ensure they collaborate closely with the marketing team to develop and maintain a consistent brand identity across all platforms and channels.

Prioritise and personalise the candidate experience to seal the deal

The final, and arguably most important, key to attracting talent is to provide a remarkable candidate experience. Research has shown that a positive experience makes a candidate 38% more likely to accept a job offer. This is therefore key in differentiating a company from its competition. Comparatively, a bad experience can have disastrous consequences – prompting candidates to use this as a deciding factor between offers or worse still to withdraw from the hiring process altogether. This may even have a ripple effect, as poor working experiences can be shared fast in the digital era. After all, how organisations treat their applicants is often a good indication to how they treat their employees.

Creating a great candidate experience involves carefully reviewing every step of the hiring journey. This should start from the moment they decide to apply for a job, all the way until their first day in the role. As a minimum requirement, organisations should be offering applicants frequent communication and regularly updating them throughout the process – whether this means keeping them in the loop ahead of next steps, or thoroughly providing feedback if they are not right for the position.

Also critical is to make sure that the recruitment journey is easy and accessible. Organisations should make the process as streamlined as possible, with slick intuitive processes – avoiding cumbersome application forms requiring excessive amounts of information or pages that are difficult to navigate.

The interview stage is where the HR or hiring team really has the chance to shine. Just as they might expect an interviewee to prepare for an interview, hiring teams should thoughtfully review each applicant’s resume ahead of time. This demonstrates a genuine interest in their application, and that they value the time the candidate has invested in the process. Furthermore, hiring teams should make sure to ask relevant questions, which are based on their past work experience, and give each candidate the opportunity to ask their own questions and provide feedback.

Final thoughts on solving global IT hiring challenges

Today’s global technology market is undoubtedly candidate driven, with skilled individuals often having their choice in job offers. This is why it is so vital for talent acquisition teams and hiring managers to take the time to know their ideal workers, prioritise developing their employer brand and perfect the candidate experience and live by their values. With these fundamentals in place, the organisation will set itself apart from competitors amidst the crowded IT industry, and reel in the finest candidates for the job.

 

 

Alina Gaber is Director of Talent Acquisition at Progress

As the Director of Talent Acquisition at Progress, Alina Gaber is responsible for the organization’s overall talent acquisition strategy and leads a global team of specialists in North America, Europe and Asia.

A priority for Alina and her team is to develop the company’s employer brand and create a positive experience for job candidates throughout their selection process. Alina joined Progress in 2015 and has more than 16 years of international experience in developing and implementing IT recruitment strategies.