Regardless of political implications on internal UK and external EU economies, the United Kingdom is facing paramount digital skills problems, leading up to an extensive talent shortage.
Emerging technologies such as Artificial intelligence, Machine learning or Robotic Process Automation could help fill this gap, compensating for the loss of physical workforce. There is no doubt that multinationals will turn towards such technologies in the future, however in the short-term this poses a new problem: where do you find the resources or how do you train them in time?
It's not just the UK struggling to exist in the new Age of automation, but most 1st world countries are encountering similar barriers. Whether we address the lack of digital skills amongst existing workforces or the lack of proper training in Universities for Entry-level job postings, both components can hamper the evolution and growth of technology-driven businesses, up to the point of causing industries to suffer radical loses.
We are not reinventing the wheel, as we recognize that this is not a unique topic. It is however, a pressing one on most Head of Departments’ agenda for 2019, as we can all concede that #NewYear doesn’t exactly mean a new approach to project development or a new business model, but a commitment to improving solutions, creating better and more personalized user experiences and staying ahead of the competition, by ultimately launching fresh features or product.
The first step to everything is admitting there is a problem. When more than one of your acquaintances complaints that they’ve had several roles opened for more than 2 to 3 months and when job boards and recruitment agencies’ listings confirm that, in fact, there is an increasing trend within organizations disabling them to close job openings over a long period of time, that’s when you need to acknowledge that skills deficit is clearly a serious issue in your residential area, if not, your country.
According to research conducted by Workable in September 2018, the average time to fill an IT position in the UK & Ireland is 55 days, whereas in the rest of Europe is 57 days. In the same token, a research conducted b Glassdoor earlier in 2018 showed that an average employer spends about £3000 and 27.5 days to hire a new worker.
We could argue that costs rise in accordance to spent days and to find out how much would that impact your hiring budget, we have conducted our own research on January 17th, 2019 on LinkedIn based on 553 Ruby on rails Job roles/skills match revealed: 17 roles opened for 3 months, 11 roles opened for 4 months, 8 roles opened for 5 months, 2 roles opened for 6 months, 1 for 8 months, 2 for 9 months, 1 or 10 months, 5 for 11 months and 1 for 2 years, subsequently; if the same Glassdoor study includes Time Frame to Fill Headcount a Hiring Metric for the Cost-Per-Hire formula, it could stand to reason both that the Cost-Per-Hire per 1 x IT function can highly supersede your initial hiring KPI, but also that a great digital skills gap exists in the market, for not being able to help you fill the position at least in the doubled time allotted
In the same way that growth creates new digital roles, digital talent can heavily impact growth. A 2017 Sage People report reveals details of a survey on more than 500 HR leaders in growing organizations, stating that “the greatest challenge for growing companies are winning the war for talent, growing productivity and improving workforce visibility.” and a different Open University study conducted in July 2017 on 400 organizations, tells us that 90% of them have faced challenges in recruiting workers with the required skills set in the previous 12 months, leading to a skills gap cost of £2.2bn, “in higher salaries, recruitment costs and temporary staffing”.
In 2018, Hanrec.com estimated there were 1.64 million digital tech jobs in the UK and the digital sector is creating jobs twice as faster than all the other sectors. How are emerging technologies affecting this number in the short-term?
The IT sector is affected more than most, as it’s experiencing a ratio of 4:1 vacancies/available developer, according to Monster For Employer. The job board is also telling us that most candidates are passive – they are, in fact, talking about good IT talents, which are not actively looking to switch role. Fortunately, employers have come to realize how precious this IT resource really is and they try not to let the good ones slip away.
You should definitely take this advice and look in more of the right places – searching the talents on specialist forums, discussions and networking groups and most definitely offer the best rewards and opportunities.
And if we can offer a tip, we strongly recommend you focus on the latter, as IT talents are talents for a reason – they have a hunger for learning new languages, frameworks or tools, they know how to adapt and they want to be challenged, to show you and prove to themselves how well they further develop. In an age when organizations realize how much they actually depend on people and tend to massively invest in HR functions, in brand awareness and in becoming “People companies”, talents are becoming self-conscious of their skills and they are shifting mindsets.
Long gone are the days when a digital role required a single skill, to attract that skill it was enough to post a job ad and to retain it, to offer a raise.
But what happens if you feel that this information is redundant, if you have done everything? The set of circumstances are being reduced to the number of vacancies and ultimately, to the digital skills gap.
How does this affect your organizations and what happens to company development if projects fail to start or have massive release delays? More on this in next week’s blogpost. See you soon!
Addressing the challenges of driving your future
Thursday, 28th March, 2019
The Hospital Club, 24 Endell Street, London. WC2H 9HQ