When your business is looking to hire, you want to make sure you’re hiring the right person. Which is the problem that many businesses here in the UK have faced in 2023. With a slowdown in hiring throughout the UK compounding a growing skills gap in the UK IT industry.
As Claire Warnes, Partner, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK says: “Many employers aren’t ready to commit to permanent roles, and those who are indicate they cannot find candidates with the right skills…” Showing how a skills gap in general can slow down hiring. But what about the IT industry?
Is there an IT Skills Shortage in the UK?
In short, yes. 93% of UK businesses reported an IT skills gap within the UK jobs market. Which represents significant problems for UK IT businesses that are looking to expand in 2024. Michael Stull, Director at ManpowerGroup UK highlights the depth of the issue, stating that “we know both anecdotally and from our own data that eight in ten UK employers are reporting difficulties in finding the skills and talent that they need.”
Skillsoft’s 2023 Salary Survey noted particularly that businesses were investing in upskilling their current staff to address skills gaps, and that the key areas of focus for European businesses were cloud computing (39%), AI and machine learning (37%), and cybersecurity (32%).
So there is evidently a skills gap in the IT industry that hinders the growth of businesses, as well as preventing IT professionals from progressing in their careers. So what can you do as a business, to tackle the IT skills gap or shortages that are affecting you?
8 Ways Your Business Can Tackle the IT Skills Gap
Below we’ll be looking at some of the steps your business can take to tackle the IT skills gap, and hire the right people with the right skills.
1. Invest in your existing talent
The best way to combat the IT skills gap without going through the potentially expensive hiring and recruitment process, is to invest in the talent that you already have.
This can involve offering employees the opportunity and financial support for external training to upskill. This can often be essential in attracting the best talent to your business, who will be looking for training and upskilling opportunities as one of the most important things for their career.
Additionally, you can have senior members to provide structured training to your more junior members of the business.
This can be essential in making the most out of your current resources, and getting the most out of your most experienced team members.
2. Work towards becoming a Gold Partner
Becoming a Gold Partner is the pinnacle of vendor partnerships for IT businesses. It signifies that your business is an expert with the technology it works with, and that your company invests in ensuring its employees are trained and skilled IT professionals.
It also means that your business will offer greater support with vendor specific certifications and training, that will be a significant boost to your recruitment efforts.
When looking for their next role, having a partnership with an industry leading vendor like Microsoft or Cisco can be very attractive for IT professionals. They know that your business will invest in them, that they’ll be working with the latest technology on the market, and have the chance to work with and learn from talented and experienced IT professionals.
3. Revisit the profiles for your new hire
If you’re struggling to hire the right people, it may be a sign that those people just aren’t out there at the price you can pay, or in your location.
This can be by redefining who you are looking for: By considering candidates who perhaps don’t possess 100% of the skills you need, but are willing to learn.
The best businesses we work with actively look for IT Professionals with the right attitudes and almost the right skills, and then offer them training and development.
Which can also often reduce hiring costs and make hiring faster.
4. Revisit your recruitment strategies
When you’re struggling to fill a skills gap within your business, it can be a sign that your old recruitment strategies aren’t working. Which means it’s time to find new ones.
So it’s worth revisiting, and if necessary, improving your recruitment process to ensure you’re not missing out on the best talent out there.
Something else to consider is working with a recruitment partner who can help you to improve your hiring processes, find you better talent, and find those skills your business needs.
The greatest barrier to using a recruitment agency or talent acquisition partner is generally the cost. But it’s always worth considering things in less black and white terms, and asking, how much is not having this person in the business costing you? In terms of projects you can’t take on, the clients you can’t work with, and the time and effort that senior members of the business have to spend on recruitment.
5. Consider hiring remote workers
If you’re struggling to hire the right IT talent in your area, or find people with the right skills, it might be time to look further afield and consider more flexible working options.
Widening your search can give you access to a much more experienced and skilled talent pool: And often at reduced cost as well, with remote roles typically paying slightly less than in-office or hybrid roles.
Or if you can’t offer remote, even hybrid working with one or two days a week in the office can help you to recruit from further afield. And obviously makes your business more attractive to work for.
Of course, this is all only if your business and the role are suitable for remote workers. But if you can, we’ve outlined the potential benefits for your business here.
6. Use contract employees to fill the gaps
Sometimes you don’t want to fill a skills gap so your business can grow: Sometimes you need to get it filled as soon as possible.
For short term solutions it can be worth considering hiring someone on a fixed-term contract. This will take the pressure off and allow you to take the time to find the right person for your business, without worrying about making the wrong hire because of urgency.
If you haven’t hired a contractor before, it can be daunting. Not knowing how contracts for contractors work, or even the market value for a contractor: That’s something we can help with. A specialist recruitment partner like us here at Dynamic can help guide you through the process, and even consult on if a contractor is right for your business.
7. Increase your staff retention efforts
The cheapest form of recruitment is retaining the staff you already have.
So just as we suggested with the recruitment process, it can be useful to revisit and improve your staff retention efforts. To make sure that there aren’t any gaps that are causing you to lose the staff your business needs, or that there aren’t any developments in staff retention: Such as the prevalence in employee wellbeing support that are becoming more and more important in today’s workplace.
8. Keep up-to-date with industry changes and trends
When tackling the skills gap in your business and the wider IT industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the changes in the industry. For example, cloud computing skills have only become more desirable in the IT industry in recent years, and the skills gap has only widened.
Meaning that businesses that keep up-to-date with industry trends would have been quicker off the mark offering support with earning cloud certifications, and been able to attract more cloud professionals.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the salaries you are offering are in line with the market average, to ensure you can attract new talent, and retain your existing talent.
The list above are just some of the ways that you can close the IT skills gap in your business. Which ones work for you may be different than what works for others. But this is the perfect time to assess your internal strategies and ensure your business is ready to proactively address the skills gap in the ever-evolving IT industry.
If you’re looking to hire or looking for expert consultancy with the IT and Tech industry, then you can reach out to us here for support and advice on how your business can tackle skills gaps and hire effectively.