With software and technology becoming mission-critical for businesses throughout the economy, CEOs in every industry are recognizing that their ability to compete comes down to one thing: having the right talent. Bain’s 2021 Technology Report.
With the recent “Japa syndrome” better put in HR nomenclature “The great resignation” the world of work might never be the same again, and the struggle to retain top talent might continue to persist even with the new job pecks that most companies are including. Tech companies are more likely to be disrupted than most other industries and once disrupted, they have more difficulty recovering than most of their counterparts in other sectors, according to Bain research published last year.
In this article, we will be looking at some reasons behind the talent war and better ways of retaining talent in the Tech industry.
Reasons behind the talent war
Below are considered to be some reasons behind the talent war in Tech industries;
- Current state of the nation: According to techcabal, Nigeria has been struggling to keep her citizens safe in the past decade, as rising insecurity sweeps the country. Data from the The Cable Index shows that 1,743 Nigerians were killed in the first quarter of the year as a result of insecurity. I have had my fair share of the insecurity issue, the first time on my way to work, and a second time on my way from work, the two incidents left me traumatized and frustrated, I work with a tech firm and we have received several cases of similar incidence, where some lose their major work tool in the process. This has made many employees especially those with in-demand tech skills resigned and so many relocated either through school or work visas.
- Gig Economy: candidates with new-age technology skills such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are beginning to explore different freelancing options instead of traditional corporate jobs. This has become highly competitive for Tech companies as available talents/skills drastically reduce. A very close friend of mine got a job with a well-paid company, it was a huge opportunity in a different location from his current state. The company paid a relocation allowance for him and his family. Six months later he was back at base, then I asked what happened he has resigned to pick up a freelancing job according to him, that will give him more flexibility and options to pursue varied interests not tied down in a place. Imagine the time and resources wasted in the recruitment process.
- The great resignation: Also known as big quit according to Wikipedia is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left Tech firms desperate as they are faced with shortage of qualified workers. According to Joy Nazzari, the founder of British Proptech startup Showhere, “It’s never been harder or more expensive to hire new people,” she says. “Yet you also have to defend who you already have, because they’re seeing the bright light.
- Lack of Skills and Development Opportunity: Learning new skills and developing existing ones has become a priority for employees in the two years since the pandemic, Amazon found. Chris Matyszczyk in his article on Jan 4, 2022 quoted a survey of 3,000 US professionals conducted by Amazon and Workplace Intelligence, 64% of employees said they feared losing their job due to new skills requirements for which they have not been equipped. A further 58% of employees said they were worried that their skills had gone stale since the pandemic, while 70% reported feeling unprepared for the future of work. As a result, around two-thirds of employees said it was “extremely” or “somewhat” likely they’ll leave their employer within the next year because there aren’t enough opportunities for skills development (64%) or career advancement (66%), or because there’s no way for them to transition to a different job or a new career path (65%).
What is the way forward for Employers?
Recruiting and retaining the right talent should be the top priority of any company that wants to survive the global talent war, especially the Tech industry.
Let us consider better ways of getting and retaining talents in Tech Industries
- Be intentional: Organizations need to become more intentional and go deep in their recruitment strategy. Internal referrals are not enough for a vacant tech position. Take the message out there, and create awareness that your company is hiring for tech roles. Use those new work perks to create brand awareness, Interswitch included new work perks, the message was put out. Candidates want to work with firms with good brand reputations.
- Be open: Keep engagement open with your prospective candidate, especially the ones that have indicated an interest in your organization. Keep your website engaging for both candidates and clients. Create a live chat on your website, if you can not keep up with it (which you should try) ensure the contact details provided are reachable and valid for further dialogue and engagement.
- Be Flexible: In the new world of work flexibility is becoming a differentiator for job seekers, according to Daniel Shapero Article, over 40% of job views on LinkedIn are for roles of remote options. Returning to work post covid, has been a bit challenging for me if not for the flexible work hour silently observed in the firm. At present the Software unit of my organization are operating hybrid of which most of them are gen Z.
- Encourage Healthy Work/life balance: With remote work fully in place in some organizations, the next big concern becomes a healthy work/life balance, from my interaction with IT guys (especially software developers) majority of them work well at night or early hours of the day, some does not even get good sleep, they work long hours in front of the screen, often on multiple complex projects. According to an article by Dale Walkerthere is a notably higher number of suicides than in some other industries, as Tech is considered a high-stress industry. What programs are organizations putting up to educate the staff on health/mental wellness? According to LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022, 63% of job seekers picked work/life balance over compensation and benefits. 66% of Gen Z opted for more investment in mental health and wellness to the company culture. Companies should not overlook this, as It can be a strong retention strategy, especially in the IT industry, staff will be committed to their work when they know the company is also committed to their mental well-being.
- Succession planning: The workforce simply does not have enough workers and skilled candidates to fill an ever-increasing number of highly skilled jobs, especially in the ever-dynamic Tech industry. Succession planning should not just be for leaders but considered for major roles at all levels. An exit of a top-skilled employee majorly affects firms with no good succession plan, creating a big gap and struggle for continuity.
In conclusion, According to Bain Tech Report, Companies that fail to recruit and retain great tech talent are bound to lose their edge, cede ground to competitors, and, in many cases, fade away. Meanwhile, companies that adopt a winning talent strategy will have a powerful advantage that’s just as critical to their success as the competitive moat created by their technology products.