How to tackle the talent crunch

Contingency recruitment does not address the talent crunch in the long term. It is time to reach out to skilled candidates in more committed ways.

Overall annual investment in the European tech sector reached €88 billion in 2021, even in the midst of the pandemic. This continuous increase in capital investment inevitably leaves gaps in skills. Four out of ten companies in the European Union have reported difficulties finding skilled workers, with skill shortages particularly affecting internationally-facing companies in sectors such as IT.

According to a survey by Gartner, IT executives see talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, hampering the progression of the industry in ways beyond broad economics.

It’s not good news. The brave new world of galvanised investment in digital and tech has meant that the industry has grown faster than it can possibly acquire new talent. But is it all that simple?

To find the solution, one must first understand the problem. The talent crunch has been caused by a shortage of labour but as always, the truth is more complicated. Jon Schlossberg, writing for ERE, argues that employees have themselves become more conservative in their decision-making. There is a cost-benefit analysis for finding new employment, a trend that even pre-dates the global pandemic. Numerous surveys support this view. The EY Work Reimagined survey in 2021 found that 54% of employees surveyed globally would consider leaving their job if they were not provided sufficient flexibility over when and where they work.

As Schlossberg puts it, ‘people are asking themselves: Given how much it will cost to have this job…will it pay enough to survive? Will I be able to do anything with my life beyond just grinding to pay bills? Is there upward mobility? For employers with recruiting and retention problems, the answers are probably No a lot of the time.’

The question is, is your organisation ready for this type of assessment by prospective talent? And if not, what is the solution?

Companies must address their brand to reflect the concerns – and the desirability – of skilled workers. It is especially imperative for tech and digital – an article by Forbes claims that the industries most affected by a shortage of skilled talent are ‘knowledge-intensive’ – which includes tech as well as financial services, media and comms, manufacturing and more.

A more bespoke approach to recruitment is needed by any serious organisation that aims to retain their current employees and provide an attractive proposition to skilled new candidates. A talent shortage is a vicious cycle. It often leads to a growth in contingency recruitment to fill the gaps, but that cannot be a sustainable, long-term solution.

Companies that retain the services of recruitment agencies – especially those that are tailored for specific talent searches – are setting the strongest foundations for acquiring committed, long-term candidates. A recruitment agency that is hired on an exclusive basis will develop a deeper understanding of what the prospective candidate wants and how that aligns with the needs of the employer. It will allow your company to build a talent pipeline even outside of an active hiring process. Building a friendship with reputable recruitment agencies, known for a methodical and bespoke approach to hiring, can add gloss to the brand.

Continental Search Alliance recruits for mid-level to C-suite executive positions from scalable startups to the world’s largest tech firms, combining tech and digital expertise with extensive reach across EMEA and APAC.