I recently joined a debate on my LinkedIn feed where an employer looking for data-centric digital talent criticised the government and different branches of education for failing to design a system fit for purpose in today’s dynamic digital age where the scramble for talent is becoming more and more acute.
I challenged this hypothesis and suggested that although the authorities do have a responsibility to be more agile and dynamic it is actually the employers who can make the most difference by being creative in their approach to identifying and developing talent.
My thoughts are that the digital economy is way too dynamic for the major academic institutions to be able to deliver in any meaningful tailored curriculums that will meet the ever-changing demands of the digital employer market. Clever and creative organisations will be able to win the ‘ war for talent’ by exploring different talent pools to the typical ‘university graduate’ or highly skilled profiles that are the main target for jobs in the ecosystem
To this end I have detailed a couple of ideas that might help beyond the education revolution that isn’t coming any time soon;
- Create apprenticeships
Lots of major employers have all recently implemented apprenticeship schemes realising that this could be a key source of talent and I wonder why I do not see smaller employers aren’t focusing their efforts on running such schemes as there are many upsides including bigger talent pools, more malleable and cost-effective employees and there is also support from the government which I suspect will come more available in the coming years;
Further reading: https://bit.ly/2HJ4Wpf
- Get out and see the talent
One of the things some employers do is actually go along to colleges, universities, job centres and community gatherings to talk about the benefits of pursuing careers in their respective fields and to talk about their respective employer brand propositions. Yes, it would take a bit of work to execute and run but there is plenty of talent that goes under the radar within these communities and the benefits could be exponential.
- Think about aptitude rather than skills/profile based hiring
A bright individual with a nose for data analysis is just that and s/he does not always come from the traditional academic background that many employers use as the backbone of their selection criteria. Some of the most successful people in commerce are not graduate but had a drive, determination and most importantly aptitude. Think about what kind of level of intellect your people require to do the job, create selection processes and training that allow you to find, hire and develop this kind of talent.
- Focus on employer branding not just posting job adverts
I often read job adverts posted by employers and it feels a little bit like the people are just trying to ‘find a body’ with a set of skills rather than identify great talent that will solve business problems. There doesn’t seem to be a coordinated effort to present themselves as an employer of choice looking for great people and there isn’t enough attempt to talk about why your company is the employer of choice. Ask yourself as an employer is my narrative compelling and is it out there!
Further reading: https://bit.ly/32cZfcN
- Look at other industries who hire people with similar skill sets/aptitude
Stakeholder management abilities, communication skills, analysis, client-facing, creativity – these are all skills required in the world of digital that aren’t exclusive to the world of digital! I am pretty sure there are lots of school and college leavers, engineers, accountants, project managers and people in FMCG that also possess these skill sets and with a bit of training/coaching can learn how to analyse data. This kind of profile of people will also bring new and different ideas based on their different experiences which may well add something to your skills base.
- Creating talent banks or benches – this is not a new concept
Lots of employers use the technique to identify leaders of tomorrow and consultancies use the technique to make sure they are able to deliver projects in busy periods. What if you used the technique to enhance your general workforce and hired apprentices as an example which you kept on the bench or could go back to when they have finished their education.
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