Talent acquisition, retention and upskilling are the top challenges keeping Australian business leaders up at night, according to a 2022 report from KPMG.
So, if you’re finding it difficult to attract top talent to your company, you’re not alone! And, unlike cyber security concerns, the sentiment is you’re unlikely to see much reprieve in the talent war over the next five years.
We’ve seen a lot of change in a short time. Health concerns, locked borders and a quick pivot to remote or hybrid work have led our workforce to reprioritise and shift. But it’s digital transformation that will continue to play a central role in perceived talent shortages.
Talent shortages and digital transformation goals go hand-in-hand. According to KPMG, Australia faces ‘a lack of data scientists and technology specialists’. The country needs people with these skills to move us to a digitised future. We don’t just need to find them; we need to upskill them and keep them. Easier said than done!
What’s more, leading organisations are calling for people with competencies that aren’t as easy to define as in the past. As experienced IT recruiters, we’ve seen requirements evolve over the years. But, until recently, the most glaring changes have centred around changing tech stacks. Lately, we’re seeing an increased demand for well-developed soft skills.
So, what does this mean for you as a business leader? How can you attract top talent now and in the future?
Define your ideal candidate
Not just ‘We’re looking for a BA’ or ‘Find me someone with Java skills’.
Think about what success looks like for the person in this role. What character traits does your ideal team member have? Imagine them at your daily standup or in a meeting with business stakeholders.
Are you looking for someone who thrives amongst the humdrum of BAU work? Or a developer with broader business awareness and the ability to succeed under pressure to meet project goals?
Get a group of people together who will lead or work with the new person. Ask the group to define and prioritise the new person’s ideal qualities and capabilities.
Next, seek to understand who is actually out there! What does the person you envisage want from the role you’re offering?
According to Seek’s Laws of Attraction, IT candidates top three drivers are salary, then work-life balance and career development. Ultimately, Seek advises, ‘Candidates in ICT are more likely than the total group to value a transparent, innovative and empowered workplace culture.’ What do your online reviews say about your organisation’s ability to innovate? What would your employees, partners and clients say if asked how transparent you are?
Finally, it’s interesting to know that, statistically, your future IT employee is more likely to be male, born outside Australia and speak a second language. How does this fit in with the picture you have, and what unique benefits might cultural diversity bring that your team may not have considered?
Share your unique offering
How is your workplace offering actually different? For example, if you can’t compete on pay, do you have a very flexible policy regarding working hours, days and location? Or, do you offer an exceptional career development program? Most importantly, how does your offering compare to competitors?
The most common misstep we see employers make is advertising what they need and not what they can give. You don’t want to rule talent out before you’ve drawn them in! Remember, you’re not the only organisation advertising a role like this. Why would someone choose your position?
The second misstep we see is a focus on salary alone. There’s been an accelerated shift in how people approach their working lives. Employees want to work to live. As Atlassian and PwC Australia found in their 2021 research, over half of workers would turn down a promotion to protect their mental health. As much as money still matters to IT professionals, the majority won’t take money over health and wellbeing. What can you offer in this area?
The final misstep comes down to employers telling potential candidates all about a position but not nearly enough about the company. The Atlassian and PwC Australia report asserts that ‘values alignment matters more than ever’, particularly for the younger generation. So, tell the candidate how they will contribute to your organisation’s purpose.
Live up to the promise
If you say you do it, do it. This one is pretty clear. People talk. At the very least, candidate’s will look at your company’s online reviews, including commentary from past employees.
Ask for help
Of course, being an IT recruiter, we would say you should enlist our services! But, it’s not because we think we know your company any better than you do. So, while we can provide advice, you’ll still need to work out who you want to hire and what you’re going to offer them. Our points of difference are:
- Having an active database of talented people looking for roles who meet your criteria
- Knowing how to ask the right questions to determine if someone will be a good fit. (e.g., what they say they can do VS what they have done VS what they will likely do)
- Years of exposure to different businesses and professionals in IT, tech and digital and their workplace challenges and successes. Through constant learning, we’ve come to understand what people want and what makes a high performing team.
Ask us how to attract top talent to your business using our expertise.