Solving the great European tech skills shortage

While there is no shortage of tech jobs in Europe, there is a growing IT skills gap.

To close it and simultaneously up the supply of capable technology professionals, do we need to revisit our approach to where and how we train and employ professionals and get more women on board?

Approximately 870,000 tech and digital job vacancies were available in the UK alone between January to May 2022 - the highest in 10 years, with similar demand for technology skills arising across the globe. However, Eurostat showed that 55% of companies struggled to fill their ICT vacancies.

The skills gap has considerable ramifications for Europe as a whole - McKinsey shows that Europe is lagging behind global leaders in most growth-enabling technologies such as applied AI and distributed infrastructure. If this continues, it will have a knock-on effect on future investment on the continent.

The looming recession will only further serve to increase the chasm between the supply and demand of tech professionals, for digitalisation tends to underpin initiatives to cut costs and increase efficiency. As economic difficulties increase, companies that fold or cut jobs will release a new wave of unemployed jobseekers who will need to find new opportunities, perhaps by reskilling for work in the technology sector.

Incorporating soft skills to ensure readiness for work

Government initiatives to boost ICT skills may serve to increase the number of IT professionals available in the market but the main issue isn’t the availability of training provision: a 2021 report by European Software Skills Alliance (ESSA) about the current and future needs for software skills and professionals in Europe found ‘no shortage of supply in training of the most relevant software skills (e.g.programming languages)’.

Examining the nature of the skills developed, the pool of people engaging in ICT training and the relationship between training providers, learners and employers, the report points to a mismatch between the skills produced with those sought by businesses, who are seeking soft skills in addition to ‘hard’ technical skills. Current training that develops sought-after soft skills including critical thinking, problem solving and self-management within ICT-oriented programmes, is generally limited. Companies want technically competent employees who are rounded individuals and add to the company culture, communicate and collaborate with people across the business and within their teams.

In our case, we’re on track to train 15,000 - 20,000 individuals per year. Students graduating from our courses receive access to mentoring, hard and soft skills - plus, a job at the end. Working with companies that need tech workers also enables us to tailor our training specifically to align with the needs of real businesses.

Flexible working patterns open the door to more female techies

The female demographic has traditionally been underrepresented in IT and is an untapped candidate pool. According to WEF, not only does IT have some of the lowest female participation, it is an industry where women are hard to recruit. Concurrently, the job sectors where women currently dominate are those in decline (Office and Administrative, and Manufacturing and Production).

Traditionally, women more than men, especially those with childcare/carer responsibilities, require work that is flexible. Fortunately many tech and IT roles can be carried out remotely and adapted to afford flexibility. Plus, arguably, responsibilities such as childcare and caring can organically foster certain soft skills development.

Interestingly, some central European countries seem to be succeeding at growing the number of women in their IT workforce. Romania has only 2.4% of its workforce in the ICT sector with 26.2% of those specialist roles filled by women, similarly Greece (2.0% ICT jobs, 26.5% women) and Bulgaria (3% ICT jobs, 28.2% women) - a stark contrast with only 15.5% of women in the ICT sector across Europe as a whole.

Central Europe is also a growing hub from which to recruit a young and ambitious IT workforce. Nearshoring to support existing teams or create entirely new teams to central European countries offers an attractive opportunity for businesses. It enables them to benefit from often English-speaking, cost-competitive employees in similar time zones to them and whose countries sometimes offer tax incentives for their employment.

While we consider the skills gap, it is worth noting the European Commission’s Digital Decade program which aims to employ 20 million ICT specialists by 2030, consisting of an equal proportion of men and women. Conscious efforts to innovate tech and IT training to better fit companies’ needs; initiatives to close the gender gap and explore alternative markets to recruit from are essential keys to solving the problem.

About the authors

József Boda, CEO of Codecool and Michał Mysiak, CEO of Software Development Academy explore the challenges facing Europeans as a result of the ever-widening IT skills gaps and potential solutions.

Sources:

[1] https://technation.io/news/uk-tech-jobs-people-skills-report-2022/

[2] Over the course of 2019, Digital Skills and Jobs Platform, EU

[3] The Future of Jobs Report, the World Economic Forum

[4] Needs Analysis Draft Report I Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills, ESSA

[5] Needs Analysis Draft Report I Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills, ESSA


group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

How to become a beacon for tech talent during a skills crisis

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Article by Heike Lieber, Head of Talent at Fluent Commerce

The tranche of tech workers from the UK’s newest generation, dubbed ‘gen z’, now have exhaustive job checklists, as the balance of power has tipped in their favour.

To capture their attention, tech roles must indicate a clear career path, offer flexibility and provide interesting work in a supportive, healthy environment.

With 70% of the tech industry experiencing skills shortages amidst the Great Resignation, it’s vital that organisations revise their hiring strategies to meet workers’ expectations.

This means HR and hiring managers will need to be fluent in what wins the hearts and minds of candidates if they are to hire and retain them for the long-term. In almost a reverse interview situation, only employers that deliver in policy and practice based around the candidates’ typical questions below will stand head and shoulders above the rest:

  1. Where am I heading?

Providing a clear career path supports both hiring and retention as workers can see a path for their own development. The youngest generation of workers want to see themselves making quick progress. Promoting from within provides a clear path to greater compensation and responsibility, and helps workers feel valued and an intrinsic part of the company’s success. Development frameworks will help staff plan their future and set key goals to get there.

  1. Can I be my true self?

First impressions are critical for candidates in the hiring process. All candidate engagement – from analysing content within advertisement to the first meeting – must eliminate bias from the process to build diverse and successful teams.

A strong diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy is vital.  Appointing a DEI manager and establishing a DEI group are great first steps, as well as obtaining certification as a Work180 employer. A ‘remuneration levelling’ process, removes workers’ personal details (including gender and age data) and allows hiring managers to compare and adjust salaries to that of similar roles in their respective countries.

It’s possible to look beyond the traditional university computer science degree to find the right candidates – for instance, to source excellent software engineering candidates by scouting recruits with coding boot camp certificates and highly rated coding work samples. Drawing on the wider talent pool of underrepresented candidates widens the company’s talent funnel.

  1. What are the pay and benefits?

Offering paid holiday is no longer enough when candidates are looking for the most competitive compensation package. Being transparent around salary, benefits and perks up front is vital – and requires regular review of your pay scales.

Despite a recent Skillsoft report showing IT salaries have risen by 6.5% in the UK, the pay package isn’t the main driver for workers to leave employers. 59% said a lack of growth and development opportunities are the top reason for jumping ship, even above higher pay.

Company culture also ranks high on the list of hardworking prospective employees, so making clear your values helps them to decide if it’s a mutually beneficial fit.

  1. What are the learning and development opportunities?

Embracing new and proven technologies, where individuals can continuously develop their skills, will keep them motivated and productive. For instance, understanding MACH architecture, (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) – this set of technology principles is behind new, best of breed technology platforms. With MACH, technical architects get to use these key skills they’ve spent years developing in the real world in real scenarios.

Prioritising professional development and providing a professional development allowance will support the investment in employees on supportive learning to build and strengthen their career – from a training course, to a tech event, or online resources.

  1. Are senior management accessible?

At people-first, high performing tech companies, managers often engage directly with employees and are highly accessible. Making quick and well-founded decisions, they hold themselves accountable for real outcomes.

It improves productivity if the senior team are transparent and accessible to staff with an ‘Open Door’ policy. Employee engagement surveys are a good tool for team feedback so that any issues can be addressed. The best talent, of course, will prefer a company where they believe their work has real impact and they feel a sense of purpose. If managers are unaccountable, they’ll think the grass is greener. Furthermore, employers who are their authentic selves from the beginning of the interview process will create a better foundation for the future relationship. Kindness is key and will not be forgotten!

  1. What’s the work/life balance?

In 2022, flexible working options are everything. Candidates now want the flexibility to work from home or wherever they choose and work the hours that work for them. In specifying the role is remote in the job description, but within compatible time zones will attract the widest choice of candidates – limiting hiring to local areas is more limiting but work out what works best for the team and tailor job advertisements accordingly. It helps to be specific about the extent of in-person work and make sure that all the necessary equipment and resources is prepared to ensure an optimal joining experience.

Investing in your biggest assets

Hiring teams have realised their workers are their biggest assets, with data scientists, developers, cybersecurity and digital experts among the most highly prized and sought after tech skills for modern digital businesses. But it’ll take more than just tweaking a few advertisements to lure and keep them.

Only through building a robust DEI strategy with objectives that align to workers’ needs – and living by their values – will employers be able to secure the best. True diversity and inclusion means policy and practice. It won’t happen overnight, but a review of hiring strategy and career development will reassure workers they are valued, supported, and motivated to deliver their very best work – for the long term.

About the author

Heike LieberAs Head of Talent, Heike is responsible for Fluent Commerce’s recruitment strategy to support the company’s aggressive global growth plans. Heike has over 15 years experience as a Talent Manager at premium brands such as Apple, Salesforce and hybris (SAP) as well as being heavily engaged in the start-up/growth ecosystem. With a global career, recruiting and living in Japan, Europe and Australia, Heike brings the experience and enthusiasm Fluent Commerce needs to maintain and grow our global workforce full of talented, fun and smart people all over the world.


Girls in tech, STEM

Closing the gap: Early engagement is critical in solving the STEM skills shortage

Girls in tech, STEM, skills shortage

By Natalia Pereldik, CEO and Co-Founder of Funexpected

The STEM skills shortage in the UK is a growing problem that more and more professionals are starting to pay attention to.

In a recent survey of 250 engineering professionals, conducted by MPA, 37 per cent named the skills shortage as having the most significant impact on their sector. This concern ranked higher than automation, new materials and data. Considering the close attention given to each of these challenges within the engineering industry over the last year, it’s clear that skills shortages are a bigger cause for concern than many might initially assume.

Change is critical

Experts claim that the STEM skills shortage costs UK businesses £1.5 billion a year in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs. With the number of new STEM roles predicted to double over the course of the next decade, it’s clear that businesses need to find a way to solve this problem sooner rather than later. One such method of encouraging more people to enter STEM industries is by engaging their enthusiasm in science, technology, engineering and math fields from an early age.

By engaging children in math from an early age, there is a higher chance of sparking their passion in these areas, which can go a long way to setting up a career in STEM fields. Math is a long term investment, as studies have shown that kids who perform well in math from an early age tend to perform well at school in STEM and science fields. However, the problem that many parents face is getting their children enthused by the topic, particularly if existing materials are not age-friendly and can make the children feel alienated.

STEM in the real world

Parents can help encourage their children to enjoy math and promote a growth mindset to help them feel capable of being successful with the subject. What is seen by many kids as an overwhelming and challenging subject, can quite quickly be turned into a fun one, with a few tweaks in the approach used to teach it. Keeping math visual and interactive helps a child to relax more and enjoy their time learning, creating a mindset that will help them to retain more information.

Additionally, using real-life scenarios when teaching can help a child to understand the necessity of it in everyday life. Children are naturally curious about the world around them as they experience things for the first time, so accompanying this with dialogue from a parent or teacher helps to turn real-life situations into learning opportunities. Furthermore, people in STEM roles often need to have a curious mindset: this way of thinking can be instilled from an early age by parents and teachers who welcome questions from children.

Engaging in STEM from an Early Age

The idea of engaging young children in STEM subjects can seem daunting at first. However, it can be easier than most parents think. Studies have shown that children learn math concepts more quickly when they have multiple opportunities to engage with the subject matter. While children will have various opportunities to engage in maths in the classroom, parents should look to take this a step further outside the classroom.

E-learning tools provide the optimum opportunity for parents to maintain their children’s engagement at home. Providing fun, interactive mathematical activities allows children to apply what they have learned and in turn allow them to grasp the subject better. As a result, their confidence in these subjects will grow and in turn will stay with them in later life.

It is clear that the approach to STEM learning needs to be rethought and approached with a long-term view. By implementing more engaging learning strategies, children will be set up to enjoy their learning experience more, and it can go a long way to closing the skills gaps within the STEM industries.

Natalia PereldikAbout the author

Natalia Pereldik is Co-Founder and CEO of Funexpected LTD, developer of the Funexpected Math app, which aims to help children aged three-seven years acquire mathematical thinking, and become comfortable with math from an early age.

Following a career in the investment banking industry that spanned over 15 years, Natalia Pereldik co-founded Funexpected in 2018, and is responsible for managing the overall operations of the company.


The coronavirus crisis throws the spotlight on our urgent need for digital skills

Article by Eleanor Bradley, MD Registry and Public Benefit, Nominet

Team of young coworkers working together at night office.Young woman using mobile laptop at the table.Horizontal.Blurred backgroundThe current pandemic has catalysed a digital transformation in the world of work.

Businesses worldwide are embracing technology in a way they never have before, moving complete companies online and maintaining business-as-usual (where possible) via digital channels.

It’s no overstatement to say that COVID-19 will transform working life as we know it, rushing in the changes that would have otherwise taken years. Unfortunately, it also makes the issues that undermine our digital society become ever more critical, or we risk letting too many fall between the cracks.

Spare a thought for the younger generation. Even outside of the current pandemic, it’s never been harder to make career decisions and plan for a future that is challenging to predict. The rise of digital and the rapid rate of technological change are transforming our jobs market at pace: research from the World Economic Forum reveals that 65% of children entering primary school today will take up jobs that don’t exist yet. We also already inhabit a world in which 82% of advertised roles require digital skills, a percentage which could be increased in the years post-COVID. This means that, even if we can’t guide young people on the specifics of the jobs available when they enter the working world, we can give them every chance of success by equipping them with the digital skills required for their future.

Digital skills training doesn’t only matter to the young people themselves. The UK economy could lose as much as £141.5bn of GDP growth if we don’t narrow the skills gap which already exists and ensure that the future working generation has the necessary skills for – and interest in – the plethora of digital roles available.

We also need to move the dial when it comes to gender diversity in crucial industries like the tech sector: today, just 17% of employees are female. The pipeline is no more encouraging. In STEM higher education, 69% of undergraduates are male. Diversity matters in our sector because we need a variety of different people, perspectives and ideas at the table if we are to build the devices and solutions that work for the populace as a whole. Celebrating – and providing training in – digital skills from a young age could make all the difference in helping both genders become equally inspired by STEM subjects and the potential careers that could follow.

Another issue in need of attention is the current mismatch between supply and demand for newly qualified STEM students. A recent study from Geek Talent  found that 1,000 people studying courses related to computer games development or design in the North East had just 29 relevant roles open to them. The vast majority of graduates will be qualified for roles they don’t secure and may struggle to find other jobs without the knowledge of how their newly acquired skills can be transferable.

Such an abundance of digitally-capable graduates must be guided on how to adapt and apply their new skills to other roles in the sector. We also need to ensure colleges and universities offer courses that provide specific skills for specific roles where there is an industry need.  With more people working in growing sectors like machine learning, digital transformation and AI than ever before, it’s paramount to help our young people understand the market growth and opportunities, then seek the right skills required to fulfil roles in this exciting area.

This is an area that Nominet has been tackling for some time via our public benefit activity, using profits made from managing and running the .UK domain registry for this purpose. We are determined to make a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of young people, with a specific mission to improve a million lives a year through our outreach.

One of the various ways we do this seems appropriate to highlight here as an example of how we can prepare young people for their future. In partnership with Livity, Nominet has spearheaded This Is How, a digital learning platform and podcast that features individuals working in digital jobs in the creative sector. On the podcast, our guests explain what they do and how they secured their role, giving our listeners an insight into the jobs available and what skills they might need to find their way to them. We also share resources on a learning platform to guide the inspired on next steps, aiding them in making productive movement towards a career they might want.

Simple tech solutions like This is How can help us to reach a demographic who spend a lot of time online, plus the form is dynamic enough to reflect the changing nature of jobs today. It may just be a podcast, but it’s a small step towards bringing about the change our society and our economy needs and a means of guiding those making crucial decisions about the part they will play.

As we marvel at how the internet and technology have kept us afloat (mentally and professionally) during this pandemic, we must also be reminded of how crucial it has become to ensure the future generation can cope with a digital world and find their roles within it. Digital skills have become life skills, and we owe it to young people to equip them with what they need – perhaps this is the lesson we can all take from the COVID-19 experience.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


finding the right career, applying for jobs featured

Why women shouldn’t let job descriptions hold them back

 Article by Rebecca Roycroft, client services director at tech talent specialist mthree

job application, right careerAccording to research by LinkedIn, women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men and are less likely to apply unless they meet 100% of the job description criteria.

This is paralleled against men who will apply for a job if they meet just 60% of the listed requirements.

This reluctance of women to apply for a job if they don’t meet every requirement is a particular issue for the technology industry. According to the latest figures, women make up just 17% of the tech workforce, while just 56% of tech start-ups have only one woman in an executive role.

So, what can be done to address this gender imbalance? With so many women seemingly not even applying for tech roles, even when they are just as qualified as their male counterparts, scrutinising and breaking down technology job descriptions will be a good place for women applicants to start.

Look for the essential requirements

Identifying the essential requirements of a job description could help more women to determine whether they have the necessary skills to apply for and succeed in a role. Within a job description some requirements are essential, and others are preferred but sometimes this can be unclear. Therefore, women interested in a particular role shouldn’t be afraid to contact a business to differentiate between the two.

In a tech job description, core skills listed are generally those that are essential to performing the job day-to-day. These tend to be technical skills such as coding expertise for software development positions or proficiency in specific programming languages, such as Java and Python, for certain programming jobs.

On the other hand, transferable skills are often non-essential and can be developed on the job. For example, learning how to develop project management skills or acquiring leadership qualities may be more of a desired, rather than essential, requirement.

By understanding which skills are essential, women should be more encouraged to apply for a tech job if they meet the core skills required. It is not essential to possess all of the requirements listed, and transferrable skills can often be achieved once the candidate is placed in a role. Evidencing how you have transferrable skills such as leadership, can be achieved in the interview process and when entering into the job.

Listed experience can be flexible too

Similarly, it is important that women applying for tech roles are not put off by the request for a precise amount of experience.

A specified amount of experience is often desirable rather than essential, and suitability for the role can be successfully communicated in a well-written cover letter and CV.

If a candidate possesses the core skills of content management expertise for the role of a senior internet technical producer, for example, but the job description asks for five years of experience and the applicant only has four, this could be a missed opportunity if the application is not pursued.

Fill in the gaps during the interview process

Once the first hurdle of applying for the job is overcome, many women will find that they are offered an interview. This is the perfect time to address any perceived shortcomings by outlining transferrable skills and experience that can help to address the missing criteria that may have put off women from applying in the first place.

For example, if the listing asks for specific software experience, such as certain CRMs and project management tools, and the applicant doesn’t have experience with these exact programmes, demonstrating how similar software has been used before, will be beneficial. Outlining an understanding of the specified tools in the interview and how current skills are transferrable to the listed requirements, can show flexibility and an ability to learn processes quickly.

If confidence is demonstrated in transferrable skills and experience, then the interviewer will share this confidence too.

With a growing digital skills shortage, tech talent is in high demand. Whilst women should be seizing the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and apply for dream jobs that may seem just beyond their reach, businesses are also responsible for how their job descriptions could serve to ‘put off’ potential female candidates. Clearly listing key requirements along with ones that can be developed, could help more women to enter into, and provide meaningful contribution, to an already thriving UK tech industry.

For women themselves, having confidence in their abilities, being aware of their transferable skills and learning to look beyond intimidating lists of requirements, can help to pave the way for the next generation of diverse and inspirational female technology leaders.

Rebecca RoycroftAbout the author

Rebecca is responsible for delivering a seamless end to end experience for mthree’s clients across EMEA. Her prior experience spans MSP, RPO, SOW and Emerging Talent solutions such as graduate and apprenticeship programmes. Rebecca is an innovative and passionate leader, who has driven transformation and change within multiple organisations. She has been instrumental in creating successful and high performing teams across sales, client engagement and business operations.


Diversity

Tackling the skills shortage in the tech industry: enabling diversity to thrive

Diversity

Article provided by Tara McGeehan, President, CGI UK

The growing skills shortage in the tech sector is common knowledge.

Last year’s STEM Skills Indicator found a shortfall of more than 173,400 workers and an average of 10 unfilled roles per business. As technology continues to develop and progress, and the demand for automation and digitalisation increases, the sector needs a stream of talented people who are able to keep abreast of developments and refresh their skills to adapt to working with new technologies.

Historically, women have been at the forefront of computing, with famous names like Ada Lovelace and Hedy Lamar, yet today they are an underrepresented group in the broader tech industry, especially in leadership roles. Facebook’s diversity report 2019 reveals that globally across all roles 36.9 per cent of employees are female, compared to 32.6 per cent across senior leadership and only 23 per cent across technical roles. So why aren’t we seeing more women in these roles? A report by Inclusive Boards found that there are several barriers to gender diversity in tech, including gender bias, stereotypes and the impact of motherhood. Entry into the profession is also thwarted at an educational level with fewer women than men opting for STEM related degrees.

Underrepresentation of any kind in the industry is a missed talent opportunity.  IT and technology companies need to take a more creative approach to recruitment to tackle the skills shortage and develop the workforce of the future. Restricting recruitment to one small pool of potential employees, who have followed a traditional path, creates unnecessary limitations.

Broadening the diversity of our leadership teams brings tangible creative outputs, as teams have a wider skillset when considering both commercial solutions and employee experience within a business. It’s a logical conclusion; diverse teams are better able to approach problems with their combined wealth of experience. Diverse teams also better reflect our clients and ultimately end-users in large companies and society in general.

Making tech more accessible

Encouraging more young people, including young women, into careers in tech and IT starts in schools, and organisations need to think about ways to inspire girls to consider a career in this exciting, dynamic industry. One way to give girls a glimpse into the tech sector is running a ‘Bring Your Daughter to Work Day’. However, we shouldn’t only focus on girls who are still in school. There are multiple pathways that lead to a career in technology, and although pursuing an education in a field such as Computer Science is one of them, it is by no means the only way. Tech companies need to support women with curiosity and analytical minds to make career moves into technology.

A career in the technology sector might seem intimidating for those who’ve never worked in it before, so we need to ensure people understand the breadth of opportunities that tech has to offer. One of the best things about technology is that it is always changing, meaning that as long as you are willing to embrace a learning culture, refresh your skills and maintain a problem-solving mindset, there is a career for you. Apprenticeships can be a great way to gain the skills necessary for a career in technology, as well as gaining real industry experience. As well as those who might be looking for an alternative path to university, apprenticeships are also a great way for people who are looking for a career change to move into the sector.

Empowering a diverse team

Retaining talent is just as important as recruitment. Companies need to make their workplace an environment where people want to be, and where they feel they are able to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work. This includes supporting employees with disabilities and health conditions, as well as initiatives such as unconscious bias training, to ensure equality and comfort in the workplace.

Empowering our existing members to upskill and take on more senior roles is also key to ending the skills shortage. This includes encouraging employees to reach their full potential and follow their passions. Depending on the career aspirations or preference of their employees, companies should help individuals make horizontal or vertical moves within the company as their career develops. Shadowing opportunities are a great way to give employees a taste of what other roles within the company involve and empower them to consider more senior roles.

It is important that employees feel that their careers are moving forward as they learn and grow in experience. Supporting those on maternity and parental leave by offering remote training courses and coaching before, during and after leave, contributes to creating a learning culture that enables skilled professionals to progress. In turn, this culture will make our sector attractive to new talent who will recognise the prospects and positive working environment.

In summary, tech companies need to embrace and actively seek out a diverse pool of talent externally and internally, including women, to find problem-solvers and leaders for the future in the ever-evolving technology sector.

Tara McGeehan - Main[1][3]About the author

As President of CGI’s UK operations, Tara leads a team of approximately 6,000 professionals and consultants who bring all of CGI’s end-to-end capabilities and industry and technology expertise to clients across these regions.

A CGI member for more than 17 years, Tara previously served as Senior Vice-President responsible for the North and Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Business Unit where she developed business across commercial and government industries, including high-profile digital engagements such as the UK smart metering program. With 20 years’ industry experience, Tara has a detailed understanding of these markets and their implications and opportunities for CGI’s clients.


Monster calls on IT industry to sign TechTalent Charter to increase diversity in sector

Recruitment firm Monster has unveiled the TechTalent Charter along with the support of several industry partners, in a bid to encourage tech companies to sign up and increase the amount of diverse talent within the sector.

Initially the Charter aims to address the challenges of equality in tech roles, with a long term plan of addressing wider issues surrounding diversity in the tech sector.Female Graduate in technology

Currently there is a requirement in the UK for 745,000 tech workers by 2017 and one million by 2020 and only 17% of tech and telco workers in the UK are currently women.

With today’s launch businesses are being called upon to sign the Charter as founding signatories.

The Charter has also established six workstreams to provide support, information and guidelines to help organisations implement protocols: Best Practice in Recruitment; Best Practice in Retention; Marketing & Promotion; Annual Reporting & Measurement; Eco-system & Policy and Education & Talent Pipeline.

Sinead Bunting, Marketing Director UK & Ireland at Monster.co.uk, said: ‘With a looming digital skills gap that is critical for our economy’s growth, we need to show young people, current professionals and in particular, females, who are worryingly underrepresented in the tech workforce, that tech skills are increasingly essential to jobs and careers. We also need to highlight and remind industry that a diverse workforce will deliver tech solutions and services that will meet  their customer base needs much better and as such not only be more representative of the UK population, but more commercially successful.

“There are so many excellent initiatives and organisations working in and around this area to raise awareness and make progress, but we recognise that to truly move the dial and effect change we are stronger working as a unified collective. We have a need and an opportunity to build a dynamic, representative and commercially successful tech workforce. However we do need to rethink and change how we build our talent pipelines, how we recruit and how we retain our tech staff. The Tech Talent Charter is a way we can all work together to make that happen and that is something we at Monster and in the Tech Talent Charter steering group are incredibly excited about. Please join us to make that change a reality. We really need your participation.”

Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First Girls said: “Encouraging talented individuals to enter the technology sector, whether as graduates or at a later stage in their career, is something I believe passionately in, and is very much at the heart of the work we do at Code First Girls. Vital technology skills, whether in coding, data science, data security or UX/UI, now play a critical role in the way we live and work. With the UK looking at a needing further one million tech workers by 2020, we all have to take a serious look at how we manage talent in our companies and update restricting incumbent behaviour which are holding us back from continued success.

“This is the reason I became so heavily involved with the Tech Talent Charter. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to support all our businesses, whilst giving the candidates themselves the confidence to get involved in this dynamic and fast growing sector. I look forward to having you all join us on that journey, and working together to drive change in UK Business to supports our continued status and a global leader in tech, innovation and talent."

Debbie Forster, Co CEO of  Apps for Good, said: “It’s no secret that there is a digital skills gap in the UK, and ensuring young people and in particular women are playing a part in helping to fill this is crucial if we are to maintain our position as a leader in the digital and technology space.

“An important aspect of achieving this is thinking carefully about how we build the talent pipeline by working with schools and businesses to ensure we are encouraging and educating girls and boys from the word go, looking at how we engage and communicate the messaging around technology careers and how we are presenting the options available to them. The Tech Talent Charter is an important document to help guide businesses through this and I’m really excited about watching the movement grow, and help shape it as more organisations get involved.”

Businesses can support the TechTalent Charter at www.techtalentcharter.co.uk

 

 


Recommendations to solve Europe’s ICT and STEM skills gap released by ERT

A set of recommendations to increase employability and tackle youth employment in ICT and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) have been released by the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT).

According to the report Europe will face a shortage of 820,000 ICT professionals by 2020.

The recommendations have been made for European governments, schools, universities and businesses to work together to close the ICT and STEM skills gap. The report suggests a number of measures to boost hard and soft skills.

ERT recommends the modernisation of EU Member State’s education systems and that a more positive image of ICT and STEM should be promoted particularly towards females.Europe skills shortage

The report also recommends a regular EU-level platform involving business, national ministries of education and industry to promote STEM and ICT.

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, said: “Young generations need to be employable, that is, agile in adapting and entrepreneurial in acquiring skills and understanding, to succeed in a job market environment that is rapidly changing, spurred on by a digitally-driven economy.”

The full ERT recommendations for STEM and ICT are as follows:
  • Encourage the modernisation of the EU Member States’ education system

No student should leave school without a basic set of STEM and ICT skills as these are essential to operate and function in a fully digitised information society. Member States must develop and implement national STEM and ICT skills strategies which could include setting national targets.

  • Promote a positive image of STEM and ICT – in particular directed towards girls and women

STEM and ICT related professions are still perceived as unattractive by many young talents. All stakeholders should join forces to promote STEM and ICT as a rewarding domain with exciting career perspectives for men and women.

  • Raise awareness of future and new job profiles

The European Commission, business and research centres should co-operate to identify early on new STEM and ICT job profiles and the associated skill sets. The outcomes should be promoted via a dedicated pan-European and cross-industry campaign, leading to the required changes in university curricula and occupational standards.

  • Support innovative STEM and ICT training initiatives

Specific ICT training courses can address short-term qualification needs and help young unemployed people in particular to find a job. The European Commission and Member States should support such initiatives, for example by providing public funding for training platforms and IT training vouchers for unemployed talents.

  • Develop a regular EU-level platform involving business, national ministries of education and industry as well as other stakeholders working in the Member States on the promotion of STEM and ICT

The objective of the platform would be to:

- enable the partners to compare best practices throughout the EU

- compare how STEM and ICT skills shortages are tackled in a structural way with long-term impact

- identify common needs that could be addressed at EU level

- encourage other EU Member States that are not taking sufficient action