How to attract the right IT talent

How to attract the right IT talent

If you’re a hiring manager recruiting for specialist IT talent, you’ll know that it’s a tough market to find the right candidates for your organisation. This is a problem for organisations of all sizes, but affects large businesses the most, with organisations of 250+ across the globe facing more than twice as much difficulty filling roles as micro organisations. 67% report hiring challenges and nearly a quarter say they’re having more difficulty now than a year ago.

The reasons behind this struggle are varied, but 35% highlight a lack of applicants as one of the biggest challenges, and 14% say candidates are expecting more than businesses are prepared to pay.

In order to attract the right talent, businesses should start to remove barriers and plan for a different approach to the talent pipeline:

Remove unnecessary qualifications barriers

A high percentage of organisations have traditionally required a university degree or specific GCSE’s as a basic requirement for all roles. But as the accepted view of what a good education looks like changes, so too must the requirements for new hires.

With that in mind, now is a good time to reassess your qualification criteria. For example, does it really matter whether your Cyber Security specialist went to University if they have all the necessary IT and Cyber Security training?

This isn’t about recruiting less qualified talent – it’s about opening up your talent pool to avoid missing an often overlooked set of candidates.

Look at alternative talent pools

Reviewing your existing team demographics, age range and diversity, are there any groups which are missing? 41% of organisations in the UK are looking to target different talent pools to those they have traditionally recruited from, focusing on widening the breadth and depth of individuals they’re drawing from.

As well as giving you access to previously untapped talent pools, increasing the range of backgrounds your talent comes from can help to improve employee performance, encourage creativity and drive innovation.

To help avoid subconscious bias when looking to increase the diversity of your team, it’s worth considering a blind CV approach – removing a range of details where appropriate to the role; from the candidate’s name, to academic and education details, to their criminal record.

Upskill your existing talent

For many of the roles you’re looking to recruit for, it’s possible that you may already have the talent you need sat right under your nose. With skills development being one of the highest ranked drivers for employees in the workforce, assessing individuals for existing capabilities and transferable skills could be a winning combination – helping to retrain your existing talent and upskill them to plug skills gaps and retain them in your business for longer.

Over half of businesses globally are investing in learning platforms and development tools to build their talent pipeline, up from just 20% in 2014. It’s clear that businesses in the UK are already taking this approach seriously, with 80% of large organisations providing additional training and development for existing staff.

This approach can also apply to looking externally for talent. Whilst it will require some investment in time and training, looking for transferable skills and learnability in a candidate can help you to access otherwise untapped talent. For example, training schemes such as AWS re:Start are working to help organisations give military veterans experience in IT roles, providing individuals with the relevant Cloud based foundation training and allowing them to show their potential to learn and progress in the space.

Improve pay and/or benefits

Pay and benefits continue to be one of the key motivators for talent, particularly for specialist roles in areas such as IT. If your organisation is competing with other businesses with strong employer brands for the same talent, then a relatively quick fix is to compare your salaries with those offered by the competition, increasing the salaries if necessary and marketing this as your USP to potential candidates.

It’s also worth looking at whether the benefits that you’re offering appeal to alternative talent pools. Which incentives could you offer to target specific groups of individuals that you’re not currently reaching? With 32% of organisations looking to improve benefits like increased holiday and new joiner and well-being incentives, this is certainly becoming a popular option.

Hiring a new starter can be a long and expensive process, so it pays to get the right person onboard first time. From psychometric tests, 360s and interviews, to new generation tools like big data scraping, social network analysis and gamification, organisations need to move away from biased intuition, to data based decision making.

If you need help in attracting the right IT talent to your organisation, get in touch today.