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Discovering talent during the skills shortage

A ‘skills shortage’ is one of the most talked about topics in the employment landscape

Finding the right people to join your business is rarely easy. Whilst many employers prioritise the hunt for the perfect skill-set, others also look for personal traits, cultural fit and a hunger to learn, when searching for their next recruit. There can be lots of boxes to tick.

This goes some way to explaining why research Gartner’s emerging risk study ranked the global talent shortage as the number one risk factor in the last quarter of 2018, up from third place in the second quarter of the year. Talk specifically to sectors such as tech, and the resourcing challenge is tougher still.

Unemployment levels generally are at a record low, and because there are many exciting companies to work for in this space – each offering attractive reward packages, development potential and the chance to achieve some real career highlights – this makes for an extremely competitive environment.

HR and hiring managers certainly don’t have it easy either. But as the world of work continues to evolve, the employment landscape does provide opportunities too. The answer perhaps lies in a move towards less conventional resourcing models, particularly in sectors where talent is in short supply.

The gig economy provides the chance for people to choose when and where they work, or how they use their skills. If a cybersecurity specialist is hired as an independent contractor or freelancer for example – instead of a full-time employee – it may offer them a level of flexibility they would otherwise struggle to achieve.

This type of work is becoming increasingly common and a highly sought-after situation for individuals with in-demand skills. HR managers – and the businesses they represent – therefore need to look beyond the traditional workplace infrastructure, especially when seeking people with the most competitive CVs.

It is important to acknowledge that some individuals now want to work in varied locations and/or from project to project. They seek the fluidity that comes with contract roles as opposed to permanent positions – they can complete one exciting assignment then move on to the next. And they know that such jobs sometimes offer more attractive remuneration packages and a favourable work-life balance.

Hiring contracted talent can benefit the business too. The budget required to resource people on a project basis, may mean organisations can afford a higher calibre of talent, and only for the duration they need it. Colleagues can learn from and collaborate with the new injection of skills, rather than being left to struggle when the right people cannot be found. And a happy, motivated workforce will bring morale, productivity and reputational advantages all round.

The traditional 9-5 still suits some businesses, of course. But for organisations that continue to lean towards the search for permanent 9-5 hires, there may well be work to do to get the right people on board. It is an employee’s market, meaning potential recruits could have multiple offers on the table. Employers therefore need to streamline their hiring strategy and on boarding process, so that lengthy decision-making doesn’t result in great talent being lost to the competition.

A ‘skills shortage’ is one of the most talked about topics in the employment landscape, and to reiterate an earlier point, there can be no disputing that resourcing is often tough. But talented, knowledgeable people do exist – it’s a matter of finding and enticing them into your team.

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