by Samriddhi Srivastava, People Matters

Across the global tech sector, employers face hurdles when seeking to fill specialised positions. The painstaking process of advertising a role often results in either an absence of suitable applicants or, worse yet, no applicants at all. 

In 2015, findings from The Employer Skills Survey revealed that 33% of the advertised vacancies were deemed 'hard to fill' by employers. The United States is grappling with a talent shortage at its highest level in a decade. Specifically in the tech industry, the country faces a potential loss of $162 billion in revenue due to the scarcity of skilled tech professionals.

Singapore is similarly experiencing a surge in demand for tech talent due to the expansion efforts of major corporations like Zoom, Tencent, Grab and many others. The 2020 CIO Survey conducted by IT outsourcing service provider Harvey Nash and auditing firm KPMG disclosed that 65% of technology leaders across 83 countries identified hiring challenges as a significant setback for the industry. 

Hence, even before the pandemic, a digital transformation was already well underway. However, the current situation has exacerbated the already existing talent gap. This prompts a simple question: How can businesses navigate this challenge? To gain insights, we spoke to Ann Marr, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources at World Wide Technology in an exclusive interview.

She elaborated on the necessity for organisations, particularly multinational corporations, to pause and reconsider their strategy for talent acquisition. Additionally, Marr underscored the importance of expanding both the quantity and calibre of the talent pool to facilitate the recruitment of highly skilled tech professionals from underrepresented regions.

Here are the excerpts from the interview: 

Q: As the Head of Human Resources, how would you define the current tech talent gap and its impact on multinational corporations?  

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the demand for top talent remains a constant, often accompanied by fierce competition. The acquisition of talents is not merely a choice, but a strategic imperative to achieve and surpass organisational goals. This quest for top-tier employees serves as a driving force, propelling companies and individuals to innovate, excel, and remain ahead in their respective industries. However, the dynamics of talent acquisition are undergoing a transformation. 

The perceived gap between the demand for top talent and its actual availability is gradually narrowing because companies are looking at solutions from a different lens. For instance, investing in skills-based learning is another way to find tech talent. 

On the other hand, using non-traditional ways to recruit talent means you are exploring all options and giving opportunities to individuals who are highly trained but maybe have not had access to these opportunities. These alternative pathways provide a chance for highly skilled individuals who might have been overlooked due to limited access to traditional opportunities. This holistic approach democratises talent acquisition, enabling a more diverse pool of individuals to contribute their expertise to the industry.

Q: In your experience, what are the major challenges faced by MNCs in recruiting and retaining skilled tech professionals?  

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the art of talent acquisition demands a creative mindset that goes beyond the confines of traditional recruiting methods. While conventional approaches still hold value, they can often fall short in identifying the most innovative and diverse talents that can truly elevate a company's trajectory. 

To truly thrive, businesses should embark on a journey of exploration, seeking out new avenues that extend beyond the familiar. One potent strategy is to cultivate strategic partnerships with tech organisations that share aligned visions and goals. These partnerships hold the potential to serve as catalysts, propelling recruitment efforts to new heights. 

When businesses collaborate with tech organizations, they tap into a wellspring of benefits. First and foremost, these partnerships provide access to a network of individuals who are deeply embedded in the tech industry. This network can encompass not only prospective employees but also mentors, thought leaders, and influencers who can contribute invaluable insights and perspectives. Furthermore, engaging in strategic partnerships opens the door to knowledge exchange. 

It's a two-way street where both entities stand to gain from each other's expertise.


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