This is a contributed article Rob Symons, SVP of EMEA, SmartRecruiters.
In a recent survey by McKinsey, nearly 90% of executives state they are experiencing a current skills gap and expect it to continue over the next few years. Even more worrying is the fact that less than half of the executives in the survey felt they had a clear idea of how to solve the problem.
Demand for people with high-level digital skills is greater than the supply of suitably qualified employees, and the gap is growing. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022 emerging technologies will generate 133 million new jobs in place of the 75 million that will be displaced. We are at the cusp of a global tech talent shortage and the consequences of not taking action to address these issues now could affect businesses greatly. Without the right talent, businesses will struggle to innovate, advance and grow.
Impending digital skills gap
Following the disruption of the pandemic, every organisation whether it’s a bank, healthcare company, retailer or any other business – is moving toward digitalisation. It’s no longer that digital and tech skills are necessary for one department but in a few years, they will be a requirement for nearly every job worldwide.
Particularly, there has been a significant increase in the demand of technical expert skills in areas like coding, AI, user experience design and cloud computing. The difficulty for companies isn’t just in finding the people with the talent but also the right cultural fit and with the additional collaborative and innovative skills necessary to use technology to solve problems and create solutions. The World Economic Forum also released a list of the top 10 job skills following a survey which include critical thinking and analysis, resilience with stress tolerance, flexibility, technology design and programming as well as technology use to name a few.
To ensure workforces have these skills, respondents estimate that over 40% of workers may require reskilling which could take six months or longer. When a majority of new starters quit their jobs in six months, and over 40% of workers are considering quitting their jobs or changing professions in the next year due to the pandemic, companies are in a tough position. Not only are they at risk of a shortage of qualified candidates and in need of reskilling current employees, but they must also make moves to keep right best talent at their organisations.
Work with talent acquisition and HR teams
How many skills on the list are you confident your employees have? When making hiring decisions are these the type of skills you are looking for? Are you working with your HR and talent acquisition teams to screen for the skills that will be most beneficial for your organisation? What about creating plans to onboard them successfully and ensure their educational development?
Business leaders should be working closely with HR and talent acquisition teams to answer these questions and implement leading strategies. Putting plans in place that will help achieve recruitment goals will lead to business resilience. On the contrary, if companies can’t provide their top talent with continual development and meaningful career opportunities, their competitors will.
Navigating the skills gap, reskilling workforces, advancing over competitors, creating policies to attract and retain talent – this is all complex and can be a monumental process to undergo. However, integrating innovative technology can help ease the burden and get companies navigate the obstacles in finding and keeping the right talent.
The power of technology
AI-based tech is becoming an increasingly important tool in the recruitment process as it enables talent acquisition teams to streamline the hiring process so they can find the right person for the right role more quickly. Companies are who they hire, and when talent acquisition teams can match a candidate to their ideal role, those candidates will stay with a company longer, which drives retention.
Increased retention will save not just time but money in the long run for organisations since the average cost per hire is currently over £3,000. Employee retention is also ever-more important in the wake of the war for talent. However, instead of being able to engage with the right candidates, much of the talent acquisition team’s time is currently spent sifting through an unprecedented number of job applications – with some job ads at present seeing upwards of 3,000 applicants per opening.
To focus on bringing the best employees into the business, talent acquisition teams can use AI to identify the candidates with the most relevant skills for the role and optimise the recruitment process, increase productivity and reduce time to hire to save time and money.
Furthermore, integrating a comprehensive product suite that has all recruiting capabilities in one platform from sourcing to onboard can significantly increase productivity. Not only can teams source, connect and track talent but they can get approvals, send digitally secure offer letters and effectively onboard new hires all in one platform based on business needs.
Cloud-native, these innovative technologies often have a variety of pre-integrated partner solutions which also allows teams to try out cutting-edge technologies with zero effort further revolutionising tech stacks and optimising the recruitment process.
The technology also allows businesses the flexibility to scale as needed without any effect on current hiring teams. For example, after integrating this type of HR tech solution, a global leader in real estate services and investment management was able to double the number of hires made by their hiring team, with no additional headcount necessary in the hiring team itself.
Technology improves efficiency and to succeed in the post-pandemic digital economy, with an impending skills crisis, businesses must take the steps now to revolutionise recruitment and it starts with updating their tech stacks. Not only will adopting innovative HR technology help businesses optimise their current hiring teams, but they will also have the processes in place to better attract and retain top talent – which will provide an advantage over the competition. After all, a business’s greatest differentiator is its people.
Rob Symons has spent the last 25 years in the HR space. Early on his career he worked as a IT recruiter specialising in US startups and senior hires before moving into the ATS market in 2003 and taking his transferable skills into Software Sales. Symons then helped grow a regional ATS provider into a global Talent Management company and held several leadership roles before moving to SAP to focus on full suite HCM specialising in Global Accounts. After two successful years at SAP, in 2016 Symons returned to his passion of ‘start up’ and Talent Acquisition and was hired as the first Go to Market employee for SmartRecruiters to lead the expansion into EMEA.