How do tech companies close the skills gap? | NTT DATA

Wed, 31 August 2022

How do tech companies close the skills gap?

Company culture and progression

Over the past two decades of my life, I’ve changed jobs, companies, industries, and even countries. I’ve found that prospective employees’ questions remain the same for every business.

“Will I feel valued here?”
“Will my loyalty be rewarded?”
"Is this a company I can see myself working at in the future?”

These criteria are vital to bear in mind if you’re a business leader looking to close the skills gap in your organisation. The technology talent pool, in particular, has begun to dry up in recent years, bringing these questions to the fore.

When employees have more choices, their decision-making process becomes more considered. People don’t want to be forced to spend time and effort bouncing between companies to get the best deal.

Instead, they want security, co-workers they get along with, the opportunity to contribute to something important, and the promise that their years of service will amount to more than a footnote on their CV.

This presents an opportunity for hiring managers and business leaders to bolster their teams with experts in crucial areas of their business.

However, it also involves active effort from management and HR to reward their loyalty with a supportive environment and opportunities for personal growth.

Here are the first steps you need to take to hire the best talent and keep them as a part of your organisation for many years to come.

Foster an inclusive, values-led company culture

For many people, company culture makes – or breaks – our decisions about the future without us knowing. That’s how fundamental it is to our experience of everyday working life. If you want to achieve success and retain talent, you need to understand the pivotal role that supportive company culture plays over the course of a career.

People must see a future at a prospective employer. Nobody voluntarily paints themselves into a corner, and humans are primarily purpose- or goal-driven animals. So, hiring managers should begin by choosing personalities with similar values and motivations from diverse backgrounds.

If everybody on the team shares a common goal, like tackling climate change by building a sustainable future in technology, they’ll function more smoothly. Diverse points of view aid innovation by looking at problems from an angle their colleagues may never have considered: solving the problem of bias in AI, for instance.

Deep down, we all want to make a difference. If you're going to have the edge over your competitors in the talent market, you need to offer people a chance to do that. But this isn’t where your work ends.

Make your employees feel valued by offering progression

Somebody may enjoy their job and their team. However, if their role and responsibilities plateau after a year or two, what’s to stop them from hunting for a place willing to give them that progression?

Ambition should be rewarded by channelling it into productive cooperation and increasing shared responsibility rather than creating competition. Or, worse, by stifling it until it becomes dissatisfaction.

Imagine employers as broadband providers. Nobody wants to go through the hassle of monitoring which company will give them the best customer experience and bundle if they don’t have to. Indeed, providers that reward loyalty and make their customers feel valued will be the most successful in the long run.

Tech companies are aiming to hire best-in-class, world-leading experts in specific fields. Is it any wonder that these individuals want to reach or exceed their ceiling? Instead of standing in their way, management needs to channel that ambition into innovation and see them appreciated for their efforts.

That’s where Human Resources comes in. Great HR is about keeping in touch with the workforce, understanding what your top talent needs to be happy, and providing it for them.

To reach the next step in our career, sometimes we need a leg up.

Support your employees’ progression towards their goals

Since joining NTT DATA UK&I, I'm proud to see us taking proactive steps to help people reach their goals. Our Tech Academy has helped bring talent from diverse backgrounds into the tech sector – recruiting from all industries and walks of life. We aimed to find those with a tech-based mindset who were a good fit for the company, regardless of their qualifications or experience. Personally, it’s an initiative that I’m eager to see develop – perhaps in Ireland one day.

Similarly, our partnership with route2work has enabled 30 female candidates to join digital skills academies focused on in-demand Microsoft skills. This allows them to shape their careers and pursue what interests them while also addressing the skills gap and the gender imbalance within the tech industry.

To keep the most talented people, you need to make them feel that they can meet their targets where they are – rather than having to look outside the organisation. The modern-day worker in tech has more options than they did even a few years before. This goes double for those with relevant experience, training, or qualifications.

To hire these people, you need to understand what they’re looking for. They want:

  • To share a purpose and work towards something they believe in.
  • To feel valued and rewarded for their loyalty and ambition.
  • To have the support they need to help them achieve their goals.

As we move towards a sustainable future, diversity and a focus on unleashing potential are the way we get there – that’s the core belief behind our hiring process. Acquiring talent is only the first step. If you want to close the skills gap within your tech company, you need to pay close attention to what your prospective employees want now as well as what they’ll want five, ten, or fifteen years down the line.

To read our findings about other ways that companies can bridge the growing skills gap, click here.

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