According to the ONS, over 100,000 new jobs have been created in the technology sector since the start of the pandemic. This now means that there are 1.6 million tech jobs across the UK alone – a booming sector and one rife with opportunity for job seekers and current employees alike.
However, despite this rapid uptick of potential for the sector, tech leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable talent because of ever-growing skills gaps. There is a large concern amongst employers that this issue could be a fatal threat to business, with one in two engineering and technology companies citing their anxieties. As a consequence of these worries, employers are now having to adapt to a rapidly changing, candidate-led market within which, challenges such as increased desire for remote working, higher salaries, increased investment in training and stiffer competition from rival firms all must be considered when looking to hire.
However, it isn’t just employers that are struggling this new era; tech candidates are having an incredibly tough time even landing an interview. With many firms unable to spend the time and money to invest in training combined with the need to pull in ‘job-ready’ talent to answer consumer demand quickly, those who are just starting out with little experience or those who perhaps hold broad skills instead of niche specialisms are being left out in the cold.
So, what can employers and employees do to get over this difficult hurdle?
Employers: Don’t be afraid to hire juniors
While the daunting task of answering consumer demand may seem overwhelming at this time, it makes more sense to hire someone with little experience who you can upskill and nurture than completely disregard this group and continue to be left with no one to pick up the work.
While newly qualified graduates may not hold the niche skills you’re looking for straight away, because of the pandemic, they’re more than likely to hold other traits which are just as valuable to the industry and your business moving forward. From resilience to initiative, motivation, and empathy – these softer skills are something that the tech sector has traditionally lacked, but now may find in abundance within their more junior teams.
Employees: If you’re a specialist, be a specialist
Employees need to truly showcase their specialisms further than just a degree or qualifications. An extensive portfolio is crucial if you are to clinch a new role or progress in your company. With such strong competition out there when it comes to niche abilities, those who can prove specialist abilities inside and outside of the workplace are far more likely to be chosen as an ideal candidate.
Apply your personal experience, such as helping friends build computers or creating an app, to the working environment and prove not only talent, but passion for what you do. Volunteer in other workplaces to provide technical help, have a GitHub profile or mentor younger students in coding languages – the options are endless.
Employers: Don’t be dismissive because of gaps in a CV
In the current climate, candidates having short gaps in their CVs is more likely to be the case then not. Ensure you showcase an understanding as an employer around issues such as redundancy and furlough. A lot of the time, candidates in this position will have taken on extra learning to fill these gaps and remain attractive to potential employers – so be careful not to judge too quickly.
Employees: Upskill in your communication
While of course not always the case, traditionally those working in the technology space struggle with communication skills. Many candidates express worries around aspects of a job such as phone calls and video calls, and this can be a real turn-off for employers. As an introverted character, putting yourself out there can be an extremely daunting task but as the world of work changes rapidly and remote working becomes the norm for many companies, the need to improve in this area is crucial. For employers, someone who is multi-skilled in both the technical and softer skills will be the first choice for hire.
If this is an area you struggle with, talking to a recruiter about how you can overcome these fears and become a better communicator is the best first step to take. Additional learning courses, for example those in public speaking, may be an option but, for most, it’s a ‘practice makes perfect’ situation. The more you pick up the phone and talk, the easier it gets.
The technology and IT job market can seem like a bit of a maze for both employers and employees at the moment, and growing demand for services doesn’t make this any easier. However, by taking on board the steps above, as well as talking to a specialist recruiter about the best way to tackle any hiring or job-seeking concerns, can really make the load a little lighter.
To talk to a member of our team, contact us today and we’d be more than happy to help.