Unprecedented talent shortages in the IT sector as well as other sectors requiring digital skills are currently the top-most concern for organisations. During the initial phase of Covid, most people were fearful of losing their jobs and attrition had drastically dropped. However, as economies started to open up, the backlog led to a barrage of exits. Many of the resignations were also due to people rethinking their life priorities.
Work from home, a necessity during the Covid times, has now become the preferred mode of work for many people and employers who wish to bring them back to office are faced with exit possibilities. On the other hand, realising that business operations enjoy certainty, almost every sector has started hiring aggressively. This has led to large-scale attrition, long lead times to fill open roles and skyrocketing costs of acquiring talent.
Fuelled by Covid, the demand for such professionals has dramatically increased and is expected to touch 150 million in the next five years, as per a LinkedIn analysis. Further, practically for every role digital skills have become a prerequisite. Therefore, HR and recruitment heads need to think differently and apply new approaches to find resources with the right skill sets.
The starting point in a hiring strategy is to look at the mix of resources being used, besides the variety of channels being tapped. Employers who are able to tap talent from around the world and have the enabling environment to help them perform have been able to tide over the talent crisis. Talent on demand is another approach that is being pursued in order to access highly skilled specialists. This approach supplements the internal workforce and also completes high-impact projects efficiently. But active participation and promotion of employer brands on Gig platforms would be essential for access to quality talent on demand. Employer branding and employee-centric policies have once again become central to the hiring strategy. Companies which had previously relied on employee referrals for hiring candidates have reactivated these internal channels for their talent needs.
Apart from hiring from external sources, upskilling employees based on the needs of different roles is being worked upon actively by many employers. Instead of employees finding greener pastures elsewhere, providing them learning and growth opportunities which lead to more attractive compensation would be most helpful in retaining employees and avoiding the pains of hiring. Adoption of digital platforms such as Skills Alpha is enabling organisations to map current skills against potential roles and chart custom learning journeys towards the aspirational roles.
Thus, dealing with the talent shortage situation requires strong focus on talent acquisition as well as retention through upskilling and creation of a congenial work environment. Those involved with hiring require new skill sets for being successful in their roles. They need to be able to adapt to the industry needs, develop influencing skills, work with data and analytics thereof and enhance networking skills. Those involved with retention should be able to constantly map employee expectations and develop innovative talent development models to meet business requirements.
The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions firm