While facing a future with increased use of technology, we are concurrently confronted with a lack of tech talents. Specifically in Switzerland, a recent study by ICT Switzerland indicates, that an additional 35’800 ICT specialists are required by 2028, to cover the demand. The current education system in Switzerland however will not be able to fulfill these requirements. The high demand can not be covered with new graduates and apprenticeships alone. Simultaneously, we encounter a gender gap in the tech industry. According to a study by honeypot.io, in 2018 only a mere 15% of the tech workforce were women. Furthermore, a study by Accenture and Girls can Code in 2021 discovered, that 50% of women are leaving the industry by the age of 35.
So how can Switzerland and any other country overcome these challenges? What needs to be done to ensure that the lack of tech talents can be covered? And how can we avoid that at the same time, the gender gap does not widen any further? This article discusses a possible solution.
The tech talents challenge
One of the major issues the tech industry is facing is its growth. According to the ICT Switzerland study, this occupational area is growing almost four times faster than any other industry. At the same time, there are not enough resources available nor is the education system able to cover these demands.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses even further. This is a result of a recent McKinsey study. The study points out, that companies, which were able to fill the tech talent gap, were able to implement Covid-19 responses more effectively.
However, these tech talents are not easy to find in the market. With the current situation, a lot of companies are requiring resources with the same expertise, skills, and seniority. In the recruiting process, they are searching for exactly these talents. As such they are in competition with larger and well know tech employers. Being aware of the situation, companies tend to focus on their usual approach to find talents. They ignore investigating in new opportunities and innovative solutions. And focusing on getting the „right“ tech talents, they even neglect the gender gap.
Building your own pool of tech talents and bridge the gender gap
So how could a company in dire need of tech talents face this situation? The answer lies in a combination of known concepts; changing the focus in the recruiting process from hard skills to soft skills and enabling the concept of lifelong learning.
As the pandemic has shown, within a very short period and influenced by causes outside of a company’s power, the need for talents can change immediately. To face these changes, the company might not be able to respond by solely focusing on getting the talent in the market. If they have been able to hire talents with the much-needed soft skills, such as the ability to learn, network thinking, communication, or even empathy, they will be able to find required talents internally. Giving their own employee the opportunity to learn on the job or attending courses while being employed, will empower both parties. Employees can apply immediately what they have learned and companies can benefit right away. It won’t only be the companies being able to adapt to the challenges in the market but even so the talents.
At the same time, this approach allows companies to close the gender gap in their tech teams. Many women have been able to gain the much-needed soft skills. Be it in either their work-life or while being the main caretaker of a family. The skills they learned and adopted are just what companies need to build their own pool of tech talents. By giving women the opportunity to learn the required tech skills, they will bring a wealth of skills, experiences, and knowledge to the workforce in no time.
The benefit for your company
The approach of combining lifelong learning and hiring with the focus on soft skills not only allows companies to face the challenging tech talent market. It furthermore allows resourcing talents in different and less considered areas. This approach provides an opportunity to increase diversity in the tech teams, which has proven to bring even more benefits for the company. Diverse tech teams are increasing product innovation by 19% and make better decision up to 87% of the time. Additionally, the company is able to react to market changes immediately, as they learned to adapt and be resilient.
The concept of combining hiring for soft skills and lifelong learning provides unlimited opportunities for both, the talents and the companies. A strategy worth considering for tech and non-tech companies.
Find out more about our Full Stack Developer Program, which allows you to win new tech talents and close the gender gap, here.