By Ismail Amla
Digital technology is affecting every aspect of work. From delivering personalized consumer experiences to connecting the
supply chain via a web of sensors, one common
element drives success—access to skilled individuals who can apply their technical expertise to
drive business results.
However, many of our clients are witnessing a lack
of available technical talent. Today, there are more than
six times as many jobs for web developers—and eight
times as many for information security analysts—as
there are individuals hired to fill them. By 2020, it has
been estimated that there will be 1. 4 million jobs for
computer specialists, but that only 29 percent will be
filled by newly-trained university graduates.
Why? There are a few reasons. One is that there
aren’t enough university graduates with the right skills.
Another is that it’s becoming harder to bring skilled
workers from abroad—considerable uncertainty surrounds government programs that facilitate the entry of
technologists into the U.S., further constraining companies’ ability to meet their technical needs.
What can be done?
Here is what to consider before taking action.
Reimagine how work gets done. Organizations need to
examine the technology landscape to anticipate workforce implications. At IBM, we are bringing together
resources with common skill sets into centers close to
our clients, enabling us to more effectively collaborate “on the ground.” These centers allow us to build
critical mass in industries and disciplines as well as
provide staffing flexibility in key locations. Although
colocation is a powerful tool, these centers also work
in concert, leveraging collaboration tools to share resources around the globe.
We are also looking at how technology—like automation—can free individuals from routine tasks and
redeploy them on higher value initiatives. Within IBM,
we are working with clients to incorporate cognitive
technology and automation that drives productivity
across the software development lifecycle.
Craft an employer brand that stands out in the marketplace. With technical talent at a premium, differentiating your company in the eyes of today’s employees and tomorrow’s candidates requires thinking
like a marketer. As millennials and Generation Z fill
more of the candidate pool, understanding their unique
concerns becomes increasingly important. For some,
working on leading technologies will be a strong attractor; for others, an organization’s mission and values will prove paramount.
Consider the candidate experience. Can a job application be completed easily on any device? Can a
prospect conveniently access pertinent information
from social sites? Is tracking an application’s progress
straightforward? Are hiring managers respectful of a
candidate’s time and concerns? Create a recruiting process that favorably impresses applicants as they evaluate your organization as a prospective employer.
Dive deeper into emerging talent pools. Given continuing shortages, organizations will need to become
more creative in finding the newly skilled. Many next-generation technical roles will fall under the category
of “new collar” jobs, requiring less than a four-year
degree. In areas ranging from cloud computing to cy-ber-security to digital design and data security, organizations have the opportunity to tap into non-traditional
labor pools to access needed capabilities. At IBM, new
collar candidates accounted for around 15 percent of
hiring in the United States last year.
Three Keys to Securing Your Future Technical Workforce