With IT professionals in short supply and high demand, forward-thinking employers are embracing alternative ways of filling gaps, staffing their projects, and bolstering their skills offerings

IT talent was already scarce before the Great Resignation, so when experienced workers started leaving in droves, employers found themselves in an (understandable) panic. We’re in the midst of a digital revolution, and without the right IT talent in place, organizations will struggle to remain competitive.

With the right approach, employers can fill the skills gaps that threaten them, and potentially bypass the need to recruit fresh talent.

employee retention: the untapped resource

When you find yourself facing a skills gap, what’s the first thing you do? Try to hire a top-notch candidate to fill the gap, of course. But if you’re floundering in the fierce battle for IT talent, there is another way.

Focus on retention.

Retaining IT talent is especially challenging right now, because there’s so much competition, and so many skill gaps in the market. But if you can make efforts to retain your people, you tap into a new range of possibilities.

Chances are, you already have some great talent. So stop letting them go. You might not think you’re letting them go, but they’d probably say differently. If staff retention is proving to be an issue , you need to look at why you’re struggling to hold onto your best people. What’s drawing professionals away from your company, and to the competitor?

We know that since the pandemic, a growing number of people are prioritizing their wellbeing and work/life balance over career ambitions. People still want to succeed and progress, but far fewer are willing to sacrifice their quality of life to get there. That means that if you want to prevent high levels of attrition in your workplace, you need to focus on the needs of your staff.

For some companies, that focus has led to an increase in home or hybrid working; for others, it has meant the introduction of ‘wellbeing time’, access to support services covered by company health insurance, or more flexible hours to fit around home and family life.

And don’t forget the importance of working technology: Randstad’s global IT & engineering professions report found that 50 percent of IT managers would choose an employer based on their use of the latest technologies – something to consider if your tech is due an upgrade! You’d be amazed at how much of an impact poor equipment can have on employee satisfaction and workplace wellbeing.

it pays to develop and upskill your staff

As well as showing an awareness of the needs of your people, and a willingness to attend to those needs, another great way to keep hold of key professionals is to provide them with training, upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

Employees want to feel valued, invested in, and factored into the future of a company’s goals. In fact, Randstad’s 2022 employer brand research report found that 75 percent of employees place a great deal of importance on the willingness of their employer to invest in reskilling and upskilling, and 72 percent would be more willing to remain with a company that offered this form of training.

Developing and upskilling your existing talent can be an incredibly powerful – and extremely cost-effective – approach to filling your skills gaps; particularly when IT talent is in short supply and high demand. But you’ll also need to match external market salaries if you plan to take this route – otherwise, your newly trained employees could be poached by a better paying competitor.

Offering training opportunities and flexible working options are important for talent attraction and retention, but a competitive salary is still important. Carrying out a market comparison each year can really help as you’ll know how much your people could command if they decided to leave for other opportunities (and what it would cost you to replace them).

how Randstad can help

As well as having access to the best project-based and permanent IT professionals the industry has to offer, our teams are experts in training and upskilling.

Through our partnership with Udemy, the world’s largest online learning platform, we can help to upskill or reskill your existing employees – reducing the need for new hires, and helping you remain competitive.

We’re also able to advise on the biggest draws for today’s job seekers – meaning we can give you an accurate idea of what your people will be motivated by, and what could make them seek other opportunities.

Get in touch to find out more.