Targeting IT Talent
Like many sectors, in March this year demand for IT talent fell off a cliff like never before. However, the September 2020 KPMG and REC report shows demand for IT talent returning to similar levels compared with February 2020, both in the permanent and contract sectors. But demand is not yet as strong as late 2019, nor anywhere near the demand of the same period in 2017 and 2018, both of which were significantly higher.
As we all adjust to the new normal brought about by Covid, how has this impacted IT talent demand and attraction?
We are now seeing increased tolerance, and in some cases desire, for more diverse working models concurrent with increased trust in staff. This will impact the IT talent market as hiring managers will… and probably should… consider candidates from beyond the local area, and even beyond national borders.
This will have positive and negative effects on the market, as the available IT talent pool becomes larger by several orders of magnitude, but competition to attract that talent also increases by the same degree. It is possible that we will see a levelling of salaries across the North/South divide.
These trends will be more limited in some roles however, especially those that require staff to be physically present by the nature of the job (for example Service Desk staff who need to physically assist other on-premise staff). Interestingly we may also see a migration out of the cities where virtual teams allow organisations to compete effectively regardless of geographic availability of expertise.
Creativity vs productivity
Companies and Managers should also consider the impact to creativity and productivity from remote working. Anecdotal evidence is split, with some feeling that productivity is up while creativity is down, and others revelling in the increased creativity afforded by having ALL staff literally a fingertip away (instead of relying on the watercooler zeitgeist moments) whilst bemoaning the easy distractions inherent in working from home.
Hiring managers should factor this into their thinking and their interviews to find the mix that best suits them and their organisation. Next time you recruit, think carefully about the behavioural competencies required of the role. What challenges will the person face in the new role and what behavioural competencies will they need to be successful in the new norm?
Data Detective, Machine Personality Design Engineer, Virtual Teacher, Space Junk Recycler and Space Miner are possible new jobs of the future.
However here and now in 2020, IT departments have new pressures that impact the delivery of IT Services. This includes finance teams looking for savings by accelerating the implementation of automation and increased acceptance of change as employees accept digitalisation.
With Brexit on the horizon and IR35 Off-Payroll Working rules in the Private Sector coming in April 2021, market confidence is not strong. However, one thing that is certain is that after previous market declines, demand for IT Contractors is the first to rise due to the flexibility of this resource, trailed by demand for permanent staff.
Expertise in development, AI, cyber security, digitalisation and business intelligence all continue to be in demand.
One thing that the past, present and future all have in common is the shortage of IT talent and the even greater shortage of IT talent with excellent behavioural competencies. IT candidates with outstanding communication skills who can build relationships, influence, negotiate, listen and manage the relationship between the business and IT are more vital than ever.
And on remote working, it might be highly desirable for some, but not everyone has the perfect home office environment to perform at their best. Offering an office space will be desirable to attract some IT talent.
It is still a candidate driven market. Are you ready to compete to attract the best?
Author: Vicki Douglas