As Jimmy Fallon would say – this is what everyone’s talking about……. in this case it is the talent shortage.
Is this the same thing as what was once called ‘The War on Talent’? Not exactly. IMHO – this time around this is more about the impact of technology in business that is driving the economy of talent.
It seems that ‘talent shortage’ means different things to different people. Sometimes because of industry, sometimes because of skill and other times it simply an economic reason. In most cases, the shortage of talent is discussed whenever employers complain that they can’t find people with the exact skills and the background they want. Now add the caveat – at exactly the price they are willing to pay.
In today’s economy, industries and companies not traditionally related to technology need people with specialized technical skills. Why? Because today technology is the underlying process that is driving business. Technology, and the information it delivers is a primary tool in the business.
Running a successful company requires trustworthy and dependable business information. This information has become so critical to a company’s goals, it is impossible to effectively function and compete without it. In many ways if bad technology decisions are made or there is an obvious lack of good information, a company can quickly be brought to its knees.
People and Information Technology
Modern business practices have placed more demand on all employees, regardless of position, to possess technology skills. Marketing managers, digital or otherwise, must be tech savvy. Project managers are leading projects that involve technology. Operations managers interface with technology that drives equipment. And it goes on.
Image: Flickr Thanh Trúc Phạm
There was a time when IT staff spent all their time in a data center tinkering with servers. Not any longer. The tech department all require soft skills to the same degree that non-tech departments require some technical skill. People are expected to work alongside, and with, technology in other departments such as sales and finance.
Technology is woven into everything. It is evolving faster than ever, changing the skills needed for jobs and shortening the life cycle of those skills.
Talent Shortage or Talent Mismatch?
Is there really a talent shortage or is it simply a mismatch between employer and job seeker?
Although employers claim the lack of available applicants is the reason they are facing difficulty filling jobs, there may be a number of other variables making the hiring process even more complicated. Doing an audit on the company is never a bad idea.
- Web sites such as Glassdoor are impacting the reputations of companies. Check if the company has failed at building and implementing a successful corporate culture. This is now referred to as Employer Brand.
- Some company’s salaries have remained stagnant and have not addressed a cost of living increases since 2008. Set salaries at market value – at the bare minimum.
- Demonstrate what the opportunity for growth may look like. Particularly if trying to attract individuals at the mid-career level.
- Candidates may be unwilling to move to where their skills are required or relocation packages are not adequate. Adequate may be defined differently to different people – particularly when there is a family situation.
- Build business partnerships with professionals that share the same values. It is critical thjat a company be represented in the right light – and by a partner willing to invest the necessary time and effort required.
- And above all, utilize a fair and equitable interview process. Remember the golden rule – treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
It is no longer a buyer’s market.
Pressure of In-demand Talent
Hiring for in the technology sector won’t be slowing down anytime soon. In Canada alone, the sector is already running at full employment and the number of unfilled jobs will grow in 2016 with an estimated 31% of employers anticipating further growth in talent needs.
Emerging cloud technologies, mobility and big data have created new in-demand skill sets. For those that remember the dot.com boom, employers were willing to hire anyone to fill a seat. At that time even salaries had nothing to do with expertise because there was a price war on human resources.
Today hiring practices have dramatically changed. Employers are more confident in what they want and have become more people savvy. The result is employers are much choosier and specific in their hiring decisions.
An enterprise can mine all the data it collects, right across its operations, and unlock golden nuggets of business intelligence.
The Talent Perspective
Candidates are most definitely in the driver’s seat and they are no longer willing to accept just any job offer. The best candidates now have more options available to them. They can be much more strategic. Instead of staying in a job that is not the right fit or accepting just any job offer, these individuals can now find the job that suits them best and at the wages they expect.
Talent – What Lies Ahead?
To be successful in addressing a market with limited available talent will take more effort, thought, skills and relationships than it has in the past. Talking points to consider:
- Align an effective talent strategy with a strong business strategy.
- Seek out new recruitment channels and partners.
- Assure quality work is obtainable.
- Consider (more)flexible working conditions.
- Provide additional training, mentoring and/or coaching opportunities.
- Indicate how personal potential can impact career path.
No one should expect highly skilled and desirable candidates to be out actively looking for jobs, reading job boards or other forms of adverts.
Top talent is not interested in being ‘one of many’ candidates being considered for a position. In fact, some many find this approach to be rather insulting. These individuals expect to be acknowledged for who they are and what they have to offer an employer – they are not just another body, another resume or Jo/Joe Average.
Key talent chooses to work with people they consider their peers – other professionals. Many feel that actually ‘applying’ for jobs is passé. Dealing with inexperienced recruiters bores them. Speed dating is out of the question. These people wanted to be courted, wooed and won. They want to believe they are recognized by a human touch – NOT a keyword search.
Talent Talking Points: Wrap Up
So there we have it. This is the Talent Driven Economy. And this market is likely going to be with us for the next several years. What does this mean to hiring managers? The Talent Economy has become even more competitive, locally and globally.
Expect to hear more over the next 24 months – for a variety of reasons –
- Retiring baby boomers
- Low university enrollments in STEM (academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
- Talent lured to other markets
- etc., etc., etc.
Attraction and retention of talent will increasingly rely on the quality of work rather than when and where that work is done.
McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) forecasts a 50 to 60 percent gap between the supply and demand of people with deep analytical talent.