Managing Through Digital Talent Scarcity

An ongoing global lack of digital talent continues to be the number one limiting factor that constrains enterprise-level adoption of microservices-based development. This shortage creates particular pain for the U.S. where estimates place the number of unfilled computer science positions at 1.4 million by 2020. Only 400,000 computer science graduates will have the skills needed to apply for those openings. Technology giants, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, are taking a “grow your own” approach to the shortage, making billion-dollar investments in local campuses across America to build the digital talent they need.

To complicate matters further, the digital technologist that tops today’s talent list possess not only outstanding digital expertise but a wide range of “soft skills” as well. Collaborative, team-driven IT organizations need technologists who can problem solve and communicate. In the digital environment, advancing projects toward completion is as much about collaboration and communication as it is about individual skill sets.

However, there are specific cultural and organizational integration strategies that can help level the playing field. For example, helping digital talent understand, during the hiring process, the IT organization’s mission, vision, values and culture goes a long way to assuring a candidate’s “good fit.” Digital talent that learns the ins and outs of the competitive landscape will appreciate the business advantages available to companies with IT organizations that embrace change and pivot accordingly. Valuable digital talent seeks a professional home that takes risks, has an entrepreneurial approach to its work, and supports a “safe-to-fail” environment. Those qualities can do more to cement the digital talent’s loyalty to the company than compensation alone. In addition, “mainstreaming” digital talent into the IT organization, rather than keeping these individuals isolated in a skunk works operation, helps to build loyalty and a sense of belonging.

One effective way to manage through this persistent shortage, is to seek out talent from trusted partners with a deep inventory of digitally prepared individuals. For example, a relatively new concept called Partnering with Intent™ centers on a purposeful approach to digital talent sourcing. As companies’ digital transformation rapidly shifts business priorities, the kinds of digital talent needed evolve as well. Partnering with Intent helps ensure that a few key partners who are aligned with their clients’ mission, vision and culture, as well as their talent requirements, deliver “employee-like” individuals who are culturally additive and possess the required digital skills. Partnering with Intent also enables IT organizations to quickly and easily ‘restack the deck” with different combinations of digital assets as needs change. (For more information about how Partnering with Intent can transform digital talent building and retention, download the white paper.)

Today’s digital talent seeks out IT organizations that encourage risk-taking, constantly strive for innovation and have a “safe-to-fail” culture. The majority of digitally skilled employees (72%) prefer entrepreneurial cultures with agility and flexibility. Competition for digital talent is high and few IT organizations can afford, from a productivity standpoint, to have this precious commodity walk out the door. That’s why so many IT organizations are adopting a more flexible approach to work responsibilities – a collaborative approach that empowers IT professionals to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished with technology. Entrepreneurial organizations often become “destinations of choice” for digital talent, which can leave competitors struggling.

To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, “Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation.

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