According to the survey, sentiments in Southeast Asia are that hiring tech talent is difficult, time-consuming, but critical to business success. In response to this trend, specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters has issued a guidebook, 5 Lessons in Tackling the Tech Talent Shortage.
Combining insights from business leaders, HR experts, hiring managers and tech professionals, the guidebook shares key learnings on attracting and retaining tech talent – from creating innovative recruitment and retention strategies, providing learning and growth opportunities within the organisation, to zooming in on the instrumental role of tech leaders.
Based on a survey conducted in April 2019 by Robert Walters with nearly 400 technology professionals and hiring managers across Southeast Asia, 68% of respondents who were hiring managers took three months or more to fill an open tech position on their team. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest, tech hiring managers rated the difficulty level of hiring talent on an average score of 7. Business productivity and innovation took a hit as seven in 10 hiring managers interviewed shared that the shortage of tech talent negatively affected their speed of product development.
Nandita Nandakumar, Associate Director of IT Commerce at Robert Walters Singapore said: “The development of skillsets has not quite kept pace with the breakneck speed of technology. Singapore, which has traditionally focused on skillsets for areas such as engineering and finance, is faced with the challenge of finding and having the tech talent required.
"The guidebook sheds insights on how companies can overcome the hurdle, and can apply to all companies that seek highly sought-after talent. Forward-thinking companies who move fast to embrace the mindset change in talent management by investing, training and supporting talent will be better positioned to secure and retain them.”
Companies are advised to review their recruitment strategy – be more proactive, discard conventional notions, and refresh the recruitment process. They are urged to begin early to reach out to and educate potential candidates through increasing the awareness of their employers’ brand and ensure a ready pipeline of quality and motivated talent.
To complement existing sourcing methods, companies can consider non-traditional avenues such as seeking overseas talent or tech talent in other industries to reach out to untapped pools of talent. A review of the recruitment process, such as shortening it or investing effort in engaging the candidates, can help jobseekers feel more valued and appreciated, Robert Walters advises.
Incorporating more flexibility in the benefits package, based on individual preferences, can be an effective tool to attract and retain tech talent. The survey showed that more than half (57%) of tech professionals interviewed would agree to a smaller increment if offered the right benefits. The top three benefits favoured by respondents when choosing a company are flexible hours (58%), family insurance (49%) and remote working options (46%).
A learning culture
Identifying high potential candidates and developing a strong learning culture are beneficial in helping talent shine. Companies are urged to consider candidates who show high potential, such as a good aptitude for learning quickly and working in teams, being comfortable in using technology to create solutions, and having experiences or skills useful to the team.
Setting aside resources and opportunities to help tech talent grow in their roles will help keep them motivated, learn about the different areas of tech, and pick up on skills that they are less familiar with. Tech professionals surveyed cited training workshops on technical and soft skills, cross-functional project involvement, and job rotation opportunities as among the training opportunities that interest them most.
“A strong learning culture where talent are encouraged to learn by sharing and teaching provides an energising environment where employees feel recognised and appreciated, while they benefit from the additional exposure,” observed Nandakumar.
|Source: Robert Walters website.|
To enable change, leaders need to walk the talk to attract, motivate and retain tech talent. Business leaders who believe in the value of technology in accelerating the business, and incorporate it into the culture and direction of the company will set the tone. In hiring management candidates to lead the team, companies are encouraged to look beyond technical abilities, for one who has a good understanding of the current technology landscape and strong stakeholder management skills.
The five lessons mentioned in the report are:
- Go the extra mile in your recruitment process
- Bring the meaning back in benefits by ensuring they work for your employees
- Remember: the whole is greater than the sum so think about your team holistically
- Think 360° learning and develop your talented in a well-rounded manner
- Start from the top and lead change by setting the right example
Robert Walters is a leading specialist professional recruitment consultancy and focuses on placing high-calibre professionals into permanent, contract and temporary positions at all levels of seniority. The Singapore office specialises in placing candidates on a permanent or contract basis in the following disciplines and industries: accountancy & finance, banking & financial services, legal, human resources, information technology, sales & marketing, secretarial & business support, supply chain, procurement & logistics as well as technical healthcare. Established in 1985, the group has built a global presence spanning 28 countries and regions.
Get more information on the e-guidebook