CIOs: What IT Talent Scarcity Means for Your Business

Skills shortages are very common in IT, and they’re only getting worse. Nearly six in ten CIOs now think skills shortages will prevent their companies from keeping up with the competition. CIOs struggle to find the top talent they need. Here’s what IT talent scarcity means for your business.

Hiring Has to Come Before IT Strategy

IT talent scarcity changes the way you can think about your IT strategy. In the past, when talent was easier to find, you could plan your IT strategy first. Once your strategy was in place, you could start looking for talented IT professionals to help you fulfill your strategy. You didn’t need to worry about not being able to find the right people.

Now, talent is so scarce you need to think about hiring first. If you think about IT strategy first, you could discover you can’t find people with the right skills and can’t move ahead with your plans. Some skills, like big data analytics or change management, are hard to find. Once you’ve secured people with those hard-to-find skills, you can set your IT strategy.

Company Culture Is More Important than Ever

IT talent is scarce, and that means IT professionals have tons of options. They can afford to think about things like company culture. Your company’s culture is your company’s personality. It includes the work environment, company mission, and vision. When your culture is well-known, candidates who like what they see will be drawn to your company.

For example, you could become known for flexibility and good work-life balance. Some of the best tech companies to work for are known for this type of culture. Employees who want to work from home, work flexible hours, or have more time with their families will be drawn to you.

Hiring Practices Need to Change

Talent scarcity changes the ways CIOs can hire. When there are plenty of people looking for work, hiring can be as easy as posting ads on job boards. You can be sure talented candidates will be browsing the boards, and they may apply for your positions. That doesn’t work quite as well when talent is scarce. All the great workers are already employed elsewhere, and they’re not looking at job boards. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants when you post an ad online.

To hire successfully, think long term. Work your network and collect employee referrals all the time, even if you’re not hiring yet. When a position opens up, you’ll have several candidates to reach out to. While many may already be employed, they may be willing to talk to you about a job on your team.

Another strategy is to get help from a technical recruiting company. These companies specialize in finding IT professionals. Even better, they can find them quickly, so you can get started on your projects right away.

Retention Needs to Be a Priority

When you’re having trouble recruiting information technology professionals due to IT talent scarcity, your competitors are likely dealing with the same issue. They may try to get your top employees to leave and work for them. This is common for some in-demand areas of tech. For example, software developers who are just out of college can get up to 20 recruiting calls a day. Highly experienced professionals could get even more calls.

To hang on to your existing employees, remember to invest in them. One of the reasons employees leave is to learn new skills or get promoted to higher positions. With an effective training program, your employees can learn the new skills they want without leaving the company. Whenever possible, try to promote from within your company. When employees see they can advance in their careers without jumping ship, they’ll be less tempted to talk to your competitors.

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