We have already talked here about digital transformation and how all companies – sooner rather than later – must undertake transformation projects if they want to stay in the market. Related to this, one of the great challenges that companies face is attracting digital talent. A complex challenge for two main reasons: on the one hand, there is a shortage of professionals and, on the other, the values that these prioritize do not fit with traditional business models.
Digital talent is scarce
LinkedIn and Capgemini conducted a study in 2017 that found a troubling conclusion: the digital talent gap was widening in every country. The demand for digital talent – thus, in the full breadth of the word – still outstrips the number of professionals with the necessary skills, which is a real brake on business development.
According to this study, companies find a greater disparity between their needs and the capacities they possess in the areas of cybersecurity, cloud computing, analytics, web development, design and development of mobile applications, data science, Big Data and interface design.
The growing importance of these areas in the current digital environment in which companies have to navigate means that there is already talk of a “war” for digital talent. And in this context, it is essential that companies understand what these professionals need and demand to attract them.
The values of digital talent
Stability, lifetime employment, and good pay are simply no longer attractive factors. The sooner companies understand that their recruitment strategies cannot continue to be supported by these pillars, the sooner they will begin to hit the target of attracting talent.
And, then, what is it that the scales now tip? The Capgemini and LinkedIn study showed that when choosing an organization in which to work, digital talent primarily prioritizes organizational flexibility – which favors work-life balance – and a horizontal hierarchy with accessible leadership. Accenture, which has also conducted similar studies , notes that more than 2/3 of university graduates prioritize work environment over salary when choosing one company or another. Multidisciplinary, collaborative teams and environments that foster innovation are other important decision factors.
How to get digital talent?
Companies have two flanks to attack to meet their digital talent goals: attraction and creation. In both cases, the first thing they should do is be clear about their digital needs and start designing their recruitment strategies based on them.
In addition, in both cases also, they have expanded their vision of what Human Resources implies and understand that it is necessary to design an employee experience from the moment they are recruited and throughout the entire cycle of their trajectory in the company.
When it comes to attracting digital talent, companies have to make their organization more flexible, create collaborative environments and foster environments that allow error, experimentation, innovation and change. They must also provide digital talent with the tools and resources necessary to implement this change and with the support of company leaders so that the rest of the employees join in.
The LinkedIn and Capgemini study showed that, although companies were aware of their digital skills needs, their efforts to train their workforce are insufficient.
Almost 50% of the employees surveyed said they were not satisfied with the training that their company offered them, either because it was useless and boring, or because it did not help them acquire new digital skills. But in addition, the study also revealed that most companies had not increased – in fact, many had reduced – their training budgets.
The training of the current workforce is undoubtedly one of the first actions that companies must take, but it is also necessary that they create development plans for their employees and that promote an environment in which learning is not only prioritized, but reward yourself. And not just learning. Giving employees time and space, like Adobe or Spotify do, will help them develop all their skills and abilities and will generate a constant flow of new ideas and perspectives that serve to empower the organization.
All these difficulties are the consequence of various factors: the educational system, low investment in innovation… But the company must assume its share of responsibility. If homework hasn’t been done before, you can’t expect tech-savvy people to appear like mushrooms out of nowhere to solve problems.
Efrén Belinchón, Director of Technology and People operations, considers that the most complicated thing is for companies to be able to identify talent and take advantage of it, whether they have it or have to go out and find it in the market. And for this they need to know what they want and how they want it. “It is easier to obtain results with a team with limited capacities but that knows where it is going, than with a team with the best skills and abilities in which each one roams in a direction that changes every day” concludes Belinchón.