The UK Technology and Digital Skills gap poses a risk all organisations in the UK. Whether the organisation looks to hire talent directly or outsources recruitment, unless they have a widely recognised employer brand, it’s likely they will find this challenging. Even then, finding quality talent that fits into their unique culture and price range is still a challenge.
We’ve looked to gain insights from business leaders, Technical and Non-Technical workers, alongside future generations. With a look to highlight some of the areas in which technology professionals can support their businesses and the wider industry, to help attract and develop a diverse pool of talent.
We want to do more than just discuss the challenge. We want to help support technology Professionals who want to help make a difference, both to their own careers, teams, organisations and the UK Economy as a whole
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. Taking a look at your own career, have you ever experienced times when you could have benefitted from a voice of experience to guide and support you? Thousands of people feel like this. If we’re really going to close the gap, everyone needs to work together, share knowledge, advice and support. By joining a mentoring programme either within your business or externally you can help support either existing technology professionals that may need a bit of coaching, or brand new professionals looking to join the industry who need guidance on how to take their first steps.
2 - Support the Cross-training process
When business leaders decide to invest in a cross-training programme, there’s no denying it can be a painful process to start with for everyone. It costs money and more importantly, time to teach and guide inexperienced hires. However, if implemented properly, the long-term rewards for having someone talented, knowledgeable of your business and tools, motivated and a great cultural fit, far outweigh having an under-resourced team, or a team made up of skilled individuals who may not fit your team’s culture.
3 - Support the Diversity Agenda
Having a diverse team is more important than ever before. People are realising the tangible and cultural benefits of having a team made up of diverse individuals who can contribute to new ideas, approaches and innovations. Getting there is hard though. The technology industry is not diverse, so we have to work extra hard to make it so. If your organisation does have diversity on the agenda, support this in whatever way you can - offer to mentor new hires; educate at diversity events; attend unconscious bias training - or if they don’t, then maybe do a little research yourself and present this to your Team Lead or Business Manager.
4 - The industry needs more leaders
Not only are we lacking on technical skills , but it was clear from our survey that finding technical professionals with strong leadership ability was also tough. Not everyone has ambitions to manage a team, however the nature and speed that products and services are being produced today necessitates strong leaders to encourage and facilitate team work and communication. Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they don’t think are possible – which we’re doing on a daily basis with technology.
5 - Get your soft skills up to scratch (Problem Solving, Communication, Creativity,)
If leadership really isn’t your thing, then there are lots of other soft skills business leaders are looking for. Problem solving, communication and creativity are all high on the list. Take some time out to improve some of the basics to ensure your own personal and career development.
6 - 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 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?