Technology vs Skills - Part 2

By Phil Piper

In part 1 of this series, and following on from a recent interview with Manchester Evening News, I discussed how the UK’s technology sector is growing at a much faster pace in comparison to the number of new and skilled recruits needed to support and boost its expansion. In part 2 of my Technology vs Skills series, I outline steps employers can take to fill the skills gap!

The way forward

While there is no magical solution to the skill shortage crisis, there are steps employers can take to shift the current dynamics of the UK’s tech labour market. Below, I list my top 4 steps:

1. Invest in education

Tech companies really do need to align themselves more closely with education and support this in the early years of education. Much of the drive to increase the supply of tech-savvy specialists needs to be focused on the start of the pipeline – primary school pupils. Coding classes are now commonplace in schools, libraries and community centres, aimed at encouraging youngsters to understand the technology behind their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Educational facilities should also strive to banish negative stereotypes surrounding the industry, in order to motivate more students to seriously consider and pursue a career in STEM. However, the impact of this shift will be gradual, and given the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of the tech sector, employers need to find immediate solutions in addition to the big picture change.

2. Collaborate and form academic partnerships

In terms of higher education, employers should aim to collaborate with local universities and form academic partnerships. Organisations could stand to benefit from opening a dialogue with educational bodies in order to establish a mutual understanding regarding the current needs and requirements of employers, and how local universities can adapt their criteria to meet the demand for specific skills and expertise in the market. While positive results may not be seen immediately, creating more systemic partnerships will help to combat the problem at the source.

3. Retrain and up-skill existing employees

At present, there simply aren’t enough companies focused on retraining, which is a shame as it can assist in filling skill gaps by recruiting internally. In the increasingly competitive market for talent, both tech and commercial organisations alike need to adopt a new type of labour strategy: retraining as the new recruiting. Although investments in computer science education and vocational schools will be invaluable in the long run, retraining offers a more immediate solution. As companies race to be on the forefront of innovation, they should adopt not just Silicon Valley’s technological contributions, but also the blueprints for retraining talent.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series, where I discuss how recruiters support businesses in locating and securing talent!

About the author

Phil Piper is a forward-thinking and goal-oriented recruitment expert with nearly 20 years’ worth of experience in the industry. He is currently the Director and Head of Search IT Digital & Change, managing teams across Manchester and Brighton, and recently expanding to Liverpool and Crawley. He has founded and continues to develop his Risk & Financial Crime recruitment team to cover regions across England. Phil is firmly committed to empowering his team through frequent communication, using his thorough industry knowledge to conceptualise and execute intuitive business strategies - both of which make him a strong leader in recruitment.

Are you an IT pro in search of your next role?

Search IT Digital & Change has an impressive track record of providing recruitment solutions to companies across both England and Scotland. We recruit for a broad range of perm and contract IT roles and specialisms with something for everyone. For specialised recruitment consultation, contact Philip Piper on [email protected] To find our full list of vacancies, simply…

                                

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