Tech Skills Development

How businesses can attract new talent by setting the standard for continuous learning and development

In the latest blog from our tech skills development series, Stuart Martin, Chief Client Officer at QA, the UK’s leading technology skills and talent organisation, looks at how companies can win the battle for tech talent by demonstrating a commitment to learning and development.

Gartner has stated, “From now on in, every successful company needs to be a tech company.” It’s hard to disagree with this statement, given that technology now facilitates most of the services we use and the transactions we enter into. Indeed, new, intelligent digital technology is underpinning almost everything businesses do, from the automation of previously manual routine tasks to data collection, analysis and insight deployment.

With this comes a need for companies of all kinds to bolster the tech-focused talent within their own organisations, or risk falling behind digitally native, new-age players. To do this, businesses need a cohesive workforce strategy that not only focuses on upskilling legacy employees, but, crucially, helps them attract and win new talent and continue to grow.

The need for digital skills and a workforce strategy for tech organisations has never been greater. Without it, the economic challenges caused by a scarcity of need-fulfilling resources only grow each year, along with a reliance on expensive contractors or partners who don’t truly enable the organisation, and who deny them the ability to mature and retain knowledge and intellectual capital to compete and win. Building in-house capability is desirable – but needs a plan.

Top talent want learning and development opportunities

The reality is that successful talent acquisition relies on a brand reputation associated with a gold standard in continuous learning and development. Potential employees are asking not what they can do for companies – or not just that – but what companies can offer them that competitors can’t. There is therefore the need for organisations to demonstrate a commitment to learning and development to win over new generations of tech talent.

The problem for businesses is that, as KPMG puts it, "The demand for this skillset overwhelmingly outweighs the supply, driving the growing global technical skill shortage to its highest level since 2008. LinkedIn’s 2018 report on in-demand skills found that people with AI skills are nine times more difficult to find than typical candidates. The economy has created a bidding war for Tech Talent, increasing the cost of hiring."

How can companies attract excellent candidates?

How, then, can business attract new talent in this unforgiving environment? A combination of skills development courses, reskilling bootcamps, work-based learning and apprenticeships can demonstrate a commitment to the learning of employees, while also feeding new talent into the organisation with the skills necessary to handle evolving technologies successfully.

To attract top tech talent, companies will need to focus on the factors that strongly influence new generations in their choice of places to work, including:

  1. A commitment to diversity and inclusion
  2. Senior management accountability and transparency
  3. Developing a long culture of coaching and development

This last point is central to QA’s mission. QA is the market leader solution provider in workplace skills development for technology firms across the UK. As the biggest independent solutions provider for reskilling into tech UK today, QA already partners with many of the UK’s biggest tech brands to help attract, win and retain the best talent on the market.

At the heart of this promise is a dedication to providing a holistic range of skills development courses, bootcamps, apprenticeships and scalable training to continuously achieve business goals by leveraging technology through people.

Millennials and Gen Z in the future workplace

Millennial and Gen Z generations, in particular, have been shown to favour organisations that offer high-quality coaching and long-term investment in their own professional (and personal) development. With these demographics set to form the majority of workforces in the future, UK businesses must get ahead of the game to set the gold standard in continuous learning and development.

The numbers are there to back this up. The Institute of Leadership and Management has millennials comprising 50% of the UK workforce, while Gallup research has shown that 59% of millennials find learning and development opportunities extremely important when applying for new jobs. It makes sense, therefore, that employers need to focus on what matters most to such a large section of the workforce.

When it comes to retaining talent, these younger demographics might have a bad reputation for job-hopping, but the lack of quality learning and development opportunities is in fact one of the main reasons they choose to head for pastures new, and organisations can make moves to stem the Great Resignation by offering these opportunities as standard to new and existing employees.

All generations benefit from workplace learning programmes

Even leaving aside generational differences, the benefits of providing learning and development opportunities can and should be extended to all generations in the workforce. As Greenhouse puts it:

"By promoting this aspect of your values during the recruiting process, you’re also more likely to attract candidates who value continued learning and embody a growth mindset – which is an important trait in today’s era of rapid change and innovation. You can offer career development programs that help employees think through their next career move and then help them achieve that goal through learning – whether it’s a horizontal or vertical move."

By truly investing in a continuous growth culture, organisations can debunk the notion of a skills shortage and a Great Resignation. In the current business landscape, the ability to attract, retain and upskill the best in new tech talent is set to be every bit as vital as the quality of product organisations can deliver; indeed, it is the talent that will ensure the quality needed to stand apart from the competition.

If you’d like to learn more about setting the gold standard in tech skills and development, speak to a QA expert today.

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