Internal Challenges Of Recruiting Tech Talent in Europe

Software development 20 February, 2017 Fred Smith

The growth of the internet has been the enabling force behind huge shifts in how we go about our daily lives, manage businesses and conduct our personal and professional interactions. Due to the disruptive nature of the industry, the speed at which it has evolved, and the demand it has placed on organisations to maintain an up to date digital strategy, from a Human Resources perspective these factors have led to a digital skills gap.

A 2015 report conducted under the instructions of the European Parliament identified that the ICT sector is one of the top three which has a high number of ‘bottleneck occupations’ across the EU, i.e. positions employers have had problems in the past hiring the required skills and expect the same in the future.

As we head into 2017 hiring managers are facing a challenging year where demand for tech talent, particularly within roles that require software and web development skills, is at an all time high and far outweighs supply. This can force employers to become creative in their recruitment strategies and enables employees to have a strong upper hand when negotiating terms of employment.

This paper will be the first in a three part series that looks to examine challenges to find tech talent before suggesting how a standing remote team approach can offer solutions to many of these challenges.

Challenges of attraction & retention – Internal  

Getting noticed

In 2014 then EU Digital Agenda commissioner, Neelie Kroes called the EU’s global competitiveness as being “under threat’ by shortage of tech talents as she identified the number of digital jobs as growing 100,000 annually with the number of graduates with relevant skills not keeping apace with demands. Today there is an unprecedented volume and diversity of technology development happening. Only few of them are truly tech talents. The result of this is it can be a challenge for some organisations who don’t have the name of the likes of Google and Facebook nor the appeal of the VC backed start-ups pegged to be the next big thing, to stand out in the crowd when trying to attract and retain skilled tech talent.

Increasing costs

A cost that is often underestimated by businesses is that which comes with the on-boarding of new staff. Once demands for growth outweigh available connections within existing staff’s personal networks there are essentially 4 options.

      Engage recruitment agencies

      Develop an in-house recruitment function

      An RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) led solution

      A mixture of the above

Depending on the method employed the cost will run between 8-30% of annual salary. With agency spend being the highest and in-house sourcing the lowest, although often ineffective for niche skills, which leads to a necessity to engage in specialist agencies regardless.

Time to hire

Across the EU the average time to hire for a reactive job opening is between 10-12 weeks from sign off on headcount to offer acceptance. Following this, a technical talent has to work their notice before being able to join which is usually anywhere between 1-3 months, potentially longer in extreme cases. During this period, there is either no productivity or the labor is brought in from elsewhere. Either adding to another team member’s workload, diverting their responsibility from core duties or bringing on contract hires. All of which have a tangible cost associated.

These are initial challenges that we can be classed as internal and although can be difficult for organisations to manage, are factors that can be controlled. In the second piece of this 3 part series we shall go onto to examine external challenges which are inherent in the market.

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