Andrew Cross explains why it is hard to find ICT candidates with the right skills and how HR can get the most out of ICT hires in the current market.
It’s no secret that ICT workers have the upper hand in the jobs market, picking and choosing desired roles since the since the early 2000s when demand began to significantly outweigh the number of ICT professionals available.
However, it’s not just the lack of candidates that makes the ICT sector a challenge for HR managers to make correct hires.
Over the last few years there has been a disconnect between actual candidate skills and those required by Australian organisations, not to mention the compound effect of the rapid and ongoing change in the type and number of ICT skills practiced.
New and complex job titles, such as ‘cloud solution architects’ and ‘mobility specialists’, titles that didn’t exist 24 months ago, have also challenged HR managers to correctly identify suitably skilled candidates for their own job openings.
This has meant that appropriate candidates may have been passed over because, simply, it was too difficult for HR managers to reconcile job titles with skills and experience.
However, according to the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) there is some good news regarding the current pool of available ICT workers, with signs that the skills mismatch may be starting to ease.
While the number of ICT workers actively looking for work may not have improved in the last quarter, the level of skill and overall experience of candidates has started to match more closely with the current demands of organisations.
Since 2011 in fact, ICT workers have gone from having an average of two of the top 10 skills required by organisations to an average of six.*
This easing offers a slight reprieve for HR professionals seeking the broader skills needed to add value to the organisation’s bottom line.
Roles in continued demand from the ICT sector include those in business process re-engineering, big-data, mobile technologies and digital media, with all now requiring more broad skills in communication and stakeholder management.
To make the most of the current IT market, recruiters should follow these tips to get the right person for the role:
Take advantage of the stronger candidate skill set in the market by hiring permanent staff to build up core business strengths and intellectual property
Determine what makes a high achiever different from the rest of the crowd to secure the best available talent
Use quality assurance and testing measures to verify candidates’ skills and experience
Assess and choose candidates based on a mix of skills, personal attributes and cultural fit
Consider various avenues to source top talent – look to industries that can offer candidates with valuable transferable skills
Be social - job seekers are increasingly looking to connect with prospective employers through social media
*ITCRA Q2 Report
About the author
Andrew Cross is Managing Director, Ambition Technology