The UK Technology and Digital Skills gap poses a risk to every organisation in the UK. Finding quality talent that fits into your unique culture and price range is still another challenge, particularly for specialist roles such as Cyber Security.
To understand how we can help to close this gap, in this survey we’ve looked to gain insights about how the industry needs to develop from technical and non-technical workers, as well as future generations. We want to help support organisations to take steps that make a difference, both to themselves and the UK Economy as a whole.
Below is a list of recommendations on actions business leaders can take right now to work towards closing the skills gap.
1 - Mentoring
Throughout our 6 years of research, we’ve found that the majority of people who have had a mentor throughout their career said it has helped them with both personal and career development. Business leaders can help foster and support current technology professionals and those looking to move into technology careers by joining or setting up mentoring programmes that help to guide and support these people so we have a higher chance of developing and retaining them in the industry and our companies.
2 - Cross-training
Implemented correctly, cross-training initiatives technology digital help organisations to mitigate risk, discover hidden talents, attract and retain new talent whilst also saving on recruitment fees and high salaries for skilled workers. Cross-training allows you to focus on hiring for cultural fit and ability to learn so you can train the skills you really need.
3 - Apprentices
Not having enough time to train isn’t an excuse anymore – there are a number of programmes that not only help support entry level professionals looking for careers in technology, but can actually tailor programmes specifically to suit your company’s needs. Some even provide 100% funding! This approach is the perfect way to develop a stream of talented employees who fit your culture and have skills that may not be readily available on the market.
4 - Align on what you REALLY need
In today’s economy, the ‘wanting it all right now’ approach is not sustainable. You may be able to find that one-off perfect person, who doesn’t cost you the earth and who happens to live locally, is the perfect cultural fit and has all of those key important tech skills and experience. If you do, then you’re very lucky. For a more sustainable approach to talent attraction and retention, you need to first start with your short, mid and long term objectives. Only then can you pull apart what you really need in your applications. Is a degree as important as someone having the ability to learn new skills quickly, solve complex problems and communicate effectively? Look at where you can flex and invest in a mid-long term talent strategy that allows you to look for people that can add long-term value to your business and teams.
5 - Make sure they have the right space
We’re not talking about bean bags and ping pong tables here, but practical spaces that allow people with different working styles to be able to get their job done. The workplace is there so people can work - without the right environment, you’re potentially losing productivity and employee happiness.
6 - Create effective leadership
If you have all of the flexible spaces anyone could ask for, but you lack strong communication channels, structure and support within your organisation, you could be at risk of having unmotivated, disengaged employees who may consider leaving. Invest in quality leadership training, so your leaders and managers can coach, mentor and create environment that fosters productivity, innovation and high performance.
7 - Invest in your people
Training consistently comes up as something people really value but don’t get enough of. We know it can be difficult due to cost and lacking time to let your already stretched team go out on training courses. However the cost of losing talent because of a lack of investment in them is far higher. It might feel painful today, but it will help to increase knowledge, motivation and, as long as you structure it in the right way, will hopefully add more value to the rest of the team.
8 - Put diversity on the agenda
For real. We’re really happy to see that diversity has become high on the agenda for many organisations globally now. However the ‘numbers’ still haven’t changed much. There is a lot of talk but still no real bold action. Take a look at a number of initiatives that will really help you increase diversity in your teams.
9 - Education, Education, Education
Even if you just engage with one class in one school to educate students on the possibilities of careers in technology and D digital, this will help. We still have a huge hurdle to jump when it comes to changing the perception of technology and this is a great way to do it early. There are so many schools and teachers that are crying out for support and guidance and who is better placed to help than the technology professionals and business leaders themselves.