Towards the end of 2018 we saw demand for scarce technology talent in the UK continuing to rise, contractors stepping in to fill roles and salaries increasing.
Many of our clients have gone through growth phases this year and the highest demand has been for software and web developers and a focussed growth of digital marketing teams. This demand has increased as the year has gone on, and we are seeing the candidate market moving at an accelerated rate. We have seen candidates have the choice of multiple job offers, and many clients missing out on talent by taking too long with their recruitment processes. The demand is high due to a vast underinvestment for these technical skills in previous years and this has created a gap in the skills that employers today are demanding. Instead of addressing this issue, we have found many businesses have perpetuated the war for what little talent there is, by either competing on salaries, holding out for their definition of a ‘perfect candidate’ who either doesn’t exist or has several other job offers to choose from, or they contract in freelancers to complete projects. Contracting is great as it allows companies to cope with the ebb and flow of demand, providing a flexible workforce to fill a gap for specialist skills.
However, there has become an overreliance on contractors which is unsustainable and prevents investment in long term development of talent. We have argued that instead of taking part in the battle for talent employers must instead focus on putting a stop to the skills gap; do more to offer long term training and development and incentive programmes which will not only build up long term staff retention but help stop the “war” for talent.
2017 has seen employment rates rising steadily, despite this, it is estimated that unfilled vacancies cost the UK economy £18bn a year, which highlights the “growing importance of building a strategic recruitment function to hire quickly and efficiently, and find the right fit for each role”. These unfilled vacancies inhibit growth and hinder the potential of businesses. With the Institution for Engineering and Technology predicting that 41% of firms plan to recruit in 2018, these unfilled vacancies could continue to cost the economy billions.
In 2019 more must be done to fill vacancies and to fulfil the demand for talent in the industry. Businesses need to nurture existing talent and invest further in training and recruiting the talent coming forth from our universities, and this is something we hope to see much more of in 2018. Only then, can supply and demand of talent reach equilibrium and Scotland’s tech industry can continue to grow.
For the year ahead we hope to see more investment in talent and predict the continued growth of graduate recruitment and student work placements to fill gaps and get work done. There will be a continued high demand for specific developer talent but also more business analysis and project manager opportunities. Clients will continue to be selective but will also increase the efficiency of their recruitment processes.
Candidates will continue to have choice so there will be more wrangling, buy back and counter offers, meaning that some employers will suffer the frustration of thinking they have filled a vacancy only for that person to drop out in favour of another option. For this reason, employers will need to be careful to keep on top of their staff retention policies and programs and make sure they are motivating, enthusing and rewarding their staff as never before! In fact we believe we will see a rise in the currency of perkonomics – benefits and privileges brands use to retain customers – to help in the retention of employees.
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