The tech talent gap has everyone worried. Whether or not it’s real or fake has been answered by companies’ insistence that not being able to hire and retain the correct talent will cause organizations to offshore projects after shelving them for excessive amounts of time. CIOs have intoned that in order to remain competitive in talent acquisition, “[w]e’re having to offer top benefits […] to compete.”
The pathway here was a sport touring adventure through a series of unfortunate events. AI implementation in hiring practices carrying built-in biases, H1-B visa policies making it more difficult to bring in trained talent from elsewhere at an advantageous rate, and the retiring of long serving talent swirled and organized into a perfect storm. The type of superstorm that has wide-reaching, long-lasting effects in areas previously expected to be unreachable by such things.
However, reach those sectors it has, with especially sharp upticks in the dearth of available resources to fill open roles and related articles published. Cybersecurity, Healthcare, and Software Engineering seem to be particularly hard hit. So, what’s a frustrated hiring manager supposed to do with themselves in such a situation?
Fortunately, there are several highly effective techniques that will rapidly shift the direction of the gap’s negative externalities. Unsurprisingly, these solutions begin with diversity. To quote Chatelle Lynch of MacAfee, the following are a good starting place:
- Make diversity part of every conversation. Diversity is not a checkbox exercise; it must be part of your organization’s DNA and embedded in everything you do.
- Rethink the resume. Removing formal qualifications also means hiring managers aren’t drawn to educational backgrounds that match their own, or work experience that’s not accessible to applicants without connections to top-tier tech companies.
- Own up to your biases. Does your team currently look strikingly similar in education, race, ability, or gender? When you’re hiring, are you talking to candidates who think like you do, or are you including someone who might think differently?
Business.com also suggests: growing […] talent with apprenticeship and mentorship. “By utilizing apprenticeship programs, companies can fill a gap by molding candidates to fit a specific skill set. Plus, the apprentice benefits by learning from a senior employee and gains on-the-job, real-life experience.”
Forbes adds: “[w]hile many candidates may not feel qualified for a position for lack of technical skills, most hiring managers prioritize communications and analytical skills, understanding that new employees will rapidly acquire technical skills as they gain experience.” Which brings up a critical blind spot for the industry, as well as a potential pool of perennially untapped candidates that come imbued with skill sets employers seek: the PMP Certificate holder. The training and certification processes are broad-based, focused on continuous improvement, and highly analytical (read: Business Analysis, Data Science, Performance Metrics, etc.) Need a leader who can follow patterns and search for differences to join your PenTest/Threat Detection/Cyber Threat hunt-kill team? Looking for a product owner who can communicate effectively and absorb your proprietary systems then manage their utilization to direct a team? Need a conscientious planner who can manage your diversity/training/mentorship program from strategy through execution? Sounds like a job for a #PMPatWork.
The tech talent gap is a multifaceted issue, but not one without workable solutions. By eliminating bias, readjusting perspectives on training and qualifications, and casting the talent fishing nets in other pools, there is success to be had across sectors. Now would be the perfect strategic moment for organizations to break out of their chrysalis and soar away into the sunshine of success.