Removing the barriers to alternative talent pools

Removing the barriers to alternative talent pools
With the IT skills gap continuing to grow, unemployment remaining at the lowest levels seen since comparable records began in the 1970s and Brexit likely to exacerbate the issue, organisations are beginning to consider alternative talent pools.

However, employment processes in many organisations haven’t adapted to meet this change in requirements, often creating barriers for the very talent they are hoping to attract. As well as creating disengaging and overly protracted application processes, job ‘requirements’ are often unnecessary and instantly remove certain groups from the talent pool.

With a constantly shifting technology landscape, individuals choosing a career in IT will need to regularly update their skills to remain relevant in the industry. As a result, rather than continuing to hire for the skill sets an individual has at a particular point in time, businesses must begin to hire for capabilities and, most importantly, learnability – the desire and ability to develop in-demand skills to remain employable for the long-term. And this isn’t just critical for your new hires – it’s also vital to foster a culture that encourages existing workers to upskill, reskill and adapt to the changing times.

One programme which is helping employers to see the potential of this alternative approach is AWS re:Start, a training and job placement scheme designed for young adults and military veterans, members of the military reserve, those leaving the Armed Forces and service spouses. Launched in January 2017, the AWS re:Start programme aims to educate 1,000 individuals in the latest digital skills including software development, cyber security and cloud computing technologies. Once they’ve completed the course, AWS work with Experis, Sage and the MoD to place and support the graduates in work.

Ex-military and younger individuals with little experience in the world of work are often overlooked when it comes to employment in the IT space, not possessing existing knowledge of the IT systems in place or lacking the understanding of how their existing skills could be transferred to the workplace.

However, with the right training in place, these individuals can become exceptional assets for the business, often displaying soft skills such as communication, leadership and problem solving that organisations are struggling to find.

We have seen the right training have a similar impact in other sectors. In Italy’s Emalia Romagna region, the world’s most advanced motorsport manufacturers – Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Dallara – were struggling to find enough skilled workers to fabricate the stronger, lighter-weight components used in their high-performance cars. Partnering with local technical schools, universities and government, ManpowerGroup’s Experis team opened the Labs and Academy Training Centre. Leveraging a unique targeted curriculum, the Experis Lab has retrained hundreds of workers and upskilled the region’s under-employed textile workers with high-tech materials like carbon fibre to work in the prestigious, high-performing, automotive industry.

Removing barriers to employment

Many employers talk about hiring from more diverse talent pools, but do little to make it easier for these individuals to get through the process. For example, many companies require degree level qualifications as standard, but is this really necessary for the role? Does it show that the individual has the right capabilities for the position? Reviewing the requirements for these qualifications and removing them where they aren’t genuinely necessary will help to open up your application process and diversify your talent pool.

Other existing requirements should also be reviewed. For example, Bristol Council have become the first local authority to ban the ‘Criminal record box’ on job applications for all roles which don’t require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The changes mean that anyone with an unspent conviction will not be asked about their past at the beginning of the recruitment process – allowing them more potential to progress through the hiring pipeline, with the opportunity to get fairer recognition by hiring managers.

To compete for talent, businesses should look at attracting alternative communities and work to understand where the potential road blocks could occur throughout the process. Simplifying the process is likely to make it easier for other applicants too, improving the candidate experience all round.

What could you do to open up the recruitment process in your organisation?

Get in touch today to find out how we can help your organisation identify and reach alternative talent pools.

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