Fighting The Digital Skills Gap: How To Bring Digital Skills into Your Organisation

1 April 2021

The world is going digital, we can’t deny it, and we certainly can’t escape it. In almost every industry, you can imagine digital transformation is occurring; if it’s not already, then plans are certainly in place. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022 emerging technologies will generate 133 million new jobs in place of the 75 million that will be displaced due to this revolution. This means that digital skills are in demand more than ever before. With so many companies looking to build out their digital offering, including product development teams or engineers, there are currently far more jobs than there are qualified candidates. This creates a stumbling block for many scaling tech businesses and employers.

Whether it’s coding and knowledge of languages like Python and C++ or digital marketing, we’re in the middle of a digital skills shortage. Companies of all sizes need to access these skills, but talent is incredibly limited. Therefore, employers either need to adopt a more innovative recruitment strategy to stand out to the brightest digital talent or find those highly desired digital skills from within.

Here’s our guide to bring digital skills into your organisation during a talent shortage:

Prioritise Digital Training

It’s not just employers who know digital skills are hot right now; your employees are also aware of it. Therefore, it’s more than likely that you have some dedicated, loyal employees who would be more than willing to upskill and train to develop some of these skills. Through providing training opportunities and encouraging your team to learn new tech skills, you can develop the skills you need in-house, all while investing in your employees’ careers and building their loyalty towards you.

Similarly, if you advertise positions with the opportunity to learn and develop, you may be able to hire less experienced talent and train them up. This will give you access to more talent and ensure that they are trained to a quality you’re happy with, all while showing you’re committed to career progression.

As scaling businesses often need to rely on agility, it’s often even more critical that they provide opportunities to upskill and expand job roles and responsibilities. Providing on-the-job digital learning, internal training and mentoring with an experienced team member to create a positive people-centric reputation for the company and ensure your team can continuously adapt to changing trends and demands.

Advertise Digitally

As an RPO agency, we’re huge advocates of using programmatic advertising to support your recruitment strategy. Using digital platforms to attract digital talent just seems to make logical sense. With detailed targeting options available and less need for large budgets, programmatic advertising can be used by businesses of all sizes to enhance their talent acquisition efforts. Programmatic advertising can reach both active and passive candidates who have the right qualifications. Social media advertising for recruitment means you can target people based on skills, interests and experience, as well as targeting some of your competitors’ employees.

However, with online spaces so dominated by advertisements and many users becoming almost immune to them, employers need to create social media and digital ads that can cut through the noise. When competition for tech talent is so rife, it’s time to pull out all of the stops so that you can set yourself apart from your biggest competitors.

It’s no longer enough for employers to be present on social media. You need to be bold and intelligent if you’re going to connect with the best tech talent. This is where creative media campaigns come in. It’s better to think outside of the box and apply well-researched strategies to ensure you’re not only connecting with the right people but that these people will remember you. Digital applications also require a seamless candidate experience. With this in mind, it’s often a good idea to reach out to an RPO provider with expertise in digital talent attraction. You can benefit from their knowledge in both talent acquisition and candidate journeys.

Broaden Your Talent Pool

One of the best things to come from the last twelve months is that employers and employees alike have realised that jobs are no longer bound by location. Gone are the days of having to live within a commutable distance from the office; remote work is here to stay. This means that you can look further afield for digital talent, reaching talented people in other cities or even countries.

However, every business is currently in the same boat and have had their audiences broadened by the rise in remote workers. Therefore, it may not be such a simple solution to fixing the digital skills gap.

Instead, employers may have to broaden their talent pool in other ways. This could be as simple as being a bit more flexible in your candidate expectations and taking on those with less experience or individuals who have chosen to reskill. However, savvy tech businesses will see this as an opportunity to form more permanent relationships. For example, at the moment, graduates are at risk of facing high levels of unemployment. Teaming up with universities to offer paid internships or grad schemes that promise digital training may help you to access digital talent and improve your employer brand awareness amongst younger generations. These graduates should be able to pick up tech skills quickly – as generally speaking, they’ve grown up with the internet. Plus, it gives you a chance to train them to your standards, getting precisely the sort of tech talent your business requires to scale. In return, graduates will develop new skills and experience working with employers who they believe honestly want to invest in their future. It’s a win-win; they get skills, and so do you, but also, your employer brand improves significantly.

Celebrate What Makes You Unique

Your employer brand and EVP are reflected in every aspect of your candidate and employee experience. Think about what’s essential to the tech talent you’re trying to reach. For example, suppose you’re hiring digital teams, and your candidate experience is clunky. In that case, your application process is lengthy, and the website is both dated and slow. It’s not going to set a great impression. Similarly, if you don’t offer a degree of flexibility or the option to work remotely, you won’t match up to the competition.

In a fierce talent market, salaries can be matched for the right candidate, and location is no longer a factor if a company is embracing the remote working trend. So it’s time to ask what sets you apart as an employer? Do you have a shared mission that can resonate with talent? Do you encourage learning and development? Even the most minor things can make a difference.

Speaking with your existing teams to discover what they love about working with you; conducting this market research will help inform your EVP development. If you consider digital talent’s specific needs or interests, you can tailor your employer brand messaging and programmatic advertising to speak directly to them. Hopefully, your advertisements and social media activity will resonate on a more personal level than your competitors.

Talent Works help businesses of all sizes, from scale-ups and beyond, to access the best tech talent, including building out the product, digital and engineering teams, amongst others. With in-house sourcing, brand and insight, digital and creative teams, we’re uniquely placed to deliver a comprehensive approach to recruitment strategy from research to implementation. We build employer brands and create captivating visuals to help leverage them internally and externally, adapting the messaging to resonate with tech talent.

Contact our team to find out more about our flexible approach to RPO and how you can use our services to suit your business needs, from recruitment to brand awareness.

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