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Attracting and Retaining Top Tech Talent in the UK’s Competitive Landscape

01/05/18 Martin Crapper Managing Director

Identifying talent to maintain competitiveness is the most important job that an organisation does. Employers must attract and retain the best people, which presents them with many challenges.

An in-depth study by BPS World, experts in Recruitment Process Outsourcing, found 96% of UK businesses rate their succession planning highly. A further 64% said their talent pipeline is either very good or excellent. However, more than two-thirds are concerned that their employee turnover rates are too high, according to the ‘Challenging Talent' report researched by BPS World.

The study explored respondents’ biggest hiring challenges including:

  • How they rate their engagement strategies and interview processes
  • Their views on the global talent pool
  • How they feel about skills gaps in their industry

Respondents were also asked to identify what they see as the biggest hiring challenges for their organisation over the next decade. The findings cited strong competition for the best talent, issues affected by Brexit, and meeting salary expectations as the top three challenges.

In an economy where there are more jobs than skilled people to fill them, and there is tolerance of people in posts who are not performing to an acceptable level, we asked Redline Group’s Managing Director Martin Crapper how do we identify, attract and retain the right talent in such a challenging skills market?

“In a challenging skills market, where uncertainty is now a permanent reality of boardroom decision making, business leaders in the Technology and Engineering sector need to make practical and strategic considerations that will help them stay one step ahead of their competitors.” says Martin.

Martin continues: “Redline Group has worked within the high technology arena for over 35 years so we really see the long-term changes and challenges of today’s skills-scarce market, and the changing employment expectations of a new generation.”

“The impact of technological changes is affecting mid-skilled technology and engineering jobs Emerging technologies such as artificial technology (AI) and robotics,  block chain, predictive analytics, biometrics, autonomous vehicles, robotics, bitcoin, intelligent process automation, machine learning and the internet of things are all set to be major disrupters to the employment landscape over the next ten years. 70% of senior managers spoken to in the report saw each of these emerging technologies as relevant to their business.”

“these charges are equally creating thousands of new roles, but the education and training to fulfil all of them are not yet meeting requirements. In the UK many employers have become reliant on recruiting international talent for their hard-to-fill roles, these options will change (possibly for the better) after Brexit is finalised.” 

“Engineering in the UK and overseas is also facing the prospect of a generation of engineers retiring. This represents a huge amount of expertise and skills simply dropping from the sector. With jobs in engineering, technology and IT rapidly evolving, certain skills are really feeling the pinch. This includes:

  • IT jobs such as GPU programming skills 
  • Big data scientists. These roles were rarer two years ago however there is now a very strong demand for big data scientists. Candidates are developing skills in this area as a specialism. 
  • Virtual reality engineers 
  • IoT, sophisticated software engineers, and those with very specific and technical data and security skills
  • Blockchain, Software engineers and Software developers with cryptography. Demand is being fuelled by organisations increasingly seeing the potential of Blockchain. 
  • Architects, particularly network architecture

In such a disruptive landscape, employers much pay strong attention to their overall succession strategies; they need to focus on their talent pipeline. Organisations must look at all elements of their leadership, structure of business, purpose, technology, diversity and employee engagement.

Engineering and Technology organisations who have particularly aggressive growth strategies will find it difficult to source the right talent without a knowledge-led recruitment partner. The Challenging Talent report found that although some organisations manage their recruitment internally, most are now finding that it is not cost effective as it does not deliver the best results.

“At Redline, we often find that it is an eye-opening exercise for our clients to get an impartial view of their recruitment strategies” says Martin.  “A consultancy approach will always present new methods of looking at recruitment challenges which help overcome long-standing seemingly unsurmountable challenges.”