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Hiring and retaining the best technology talent

Hiring the right candidates is key to any business transformation but recruiting employees with the right skills is not always simple

Some of the leading chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) in the UK have shared their thoughts on how companies can hire and retain the best talent in the technology industry.

Industry experts believe that companies need to make sure their organisation is attractive and that all the necessary skills have been developed in house to attract outside expertise and talented individuals. With years of experience in helping their companies to perform and grow with technological expansion, these experts discuss what issues hiring the right candidates can bring and offer some advice for businesses faced with a skills shortage.

The CIO at Ascential, Sean Harley, believes that companies need to keep talent when they have found it. With some of the most talented individuals here in the UK, he says that finding people who share your company’s values and goals is the biggest challenge; therefore, you need to balance your immediate requirements with the need to get the right person in on a long-term basis. This is not about skill; instead, it is about attitude, culture and fit – if the wrong candidate is selected, all this could be jeopardised.

Once you have found this talent, you need to keep hold of it. Harley comments that businesses need to find out what makes this new candidate tick and that their real talents might not become apparent until they are involved in a new task that really gets them excited.

He goes on to say that when a company has hired well, the best talent pool is its existing one. This is why it is important to encourage, develop and communicate effectively with your employees, talking to them to explain how you see the team growing over time.

Ashish Gupta, former CIO of BT, stresses the importance of developing skills in house. Gupta comments that challenges are faced when trying to hire and retain talent, especially in key areas that are growing rapidly, such as big data, analytics and cybersecurity.

BT has increased the number of apprenticeship programs on offer and its graduate intake; in this way, Gupta believes it is getting the right balance between experienced hires and less experienced hires with the right skills base and approach to the company. Training the graduates by teaming them up with experienced staff helps to develop their skills in house.

Gupta also says that the industry has a problem with hiring and retaining talent. CIOs and colleagues he speaks to find the solution to this is hiring candidates with the right technical and logical aptitude before running a series of training schemes to help them develop these key skills further.

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