Combining finishing high school with two years of
college, IBM’s P-Tech program works with over sixty
schools across the U.S. to prepare students for careers
in technology. The program matches students with industry mentors, arranges work-site visits, and provides
internships designed to facilitate successful transitions
into technical roles.
In addition, access to ongoing skills development
is critical, regardless of where employees are in
their careers. Given the speed of adoption demanded by emerging technologies and rapid changes in
software development, technical workers must have
opportunities to learn.
No company can address all technical learning needs
in-house. Partnering with universities, massive open
online courses (MOOCs) and other third-parties can
augment your workforce’s technical skills while minimizing internal training costs. IBM’s partnership with
Udacity on a “nanodegree” program for artificial intelligence is one example of how technical resources can
plug into ongoing education.
Take Action, Now
To address the challenges of securing technical talent for
your organization, consider pursuing these next steps:
1 Plot the course of your future workforce. Using
your organization’s business strategy and current oper-
ating model, plan your organization’s demand for spe-
cific roles and the number of individuals needed to your
business needs. Gather information regarding local la-
bor markets to identify the viability of different loca-
tional strategies. Model potential operating scenarios
across different time horizons and identify areas of busi-
ness risk associated with skills shortages. Create devel-
opment and training plans to address skill gaps and sur-
pluses. Involve business unit leaders, IT executives, HR
strategists, marketing executives and even real estate
planners to develop a successful talent strategy.
2 Pay attention to the employee and candidate experience. Understand how workers, inside and outside your organization,
perceive your firm and how that affects
your ability to compete for and retain talent. Collect and analyze data from internal
and external sources to pinpoint areas of
employee and candidate experience that
differentiates your organization, both
positively and negatively. Leverage
design thinking to improve your recruiting
and work experiences by taking a skilled
3 Participate in the talent ecosystem.
Identify external organizations, such as
technology partners, talent providers, and
learning platforms that can help close key skill gaps.
Offer apprenticeships and other short-term arrangements to tap into talent early. Provide access to ongoing learning to fill emerging needs and provide growth
With the explosion of new employment models,
intense pressure to reduce dependency on foreign
skills and the need to flexibly source from a wide
variety of labor pools, leading companies are taking
steps to secure their future technical workforce now.
What is your organization doing to safeguard your
Ismail Amla is Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services,
North America, IBM’s professional services division and the
world’s largest consulting organization. In this capacity, Amla
sets the strategic direction of the GBS team—the first cognitive
consulting practice—as it engages with corporations, government agencies and educational institutions.
“Given continuing talent
will have to become more
creative in finding the newly
skilled. Many next-generation
technology roles will be ‘new
collar’ jobs, requiring less
than a four-year degree.”