Using talent tech to save tech talent

In his new column, Roy van Elden explains how investing in talent technology may be just the solution for organizations to get ahead of the growing tech skills shortage.

By: Roy van EldenSenior Manager, IP Development, Korn Ferry Institute

The global demand for tech talent far exceeds the supply. Specifically, when we look at software development, cloud computing, data analysis, and cybersecurity, there is a significant lack of technology and data skills. Recent Korn Ferry research found that by 2025, there will be 190 million jobs focused on these skills. With 41 million tech professionals in today's workforce, that leaves a gap of 149 million open roles companies will struggle to fill.

Although the prospect of a global recession has slowed down hiring, an economic downturn could very well be a catalyst for the challenges ahead. A recent study found that the potential for a recession, in addition to work-from-home policies and inflation, has led to a significant drop in employee engagement: 30% of workers surveyed say they’ve become less engaged over the past six months, with 18% admitting that their efforts had dropped.

What’s more, Korn Ferry research discovered that 38% of organizations worldwide are struggling with an increase in burnout among their tech teams, while 72% of US-based tech employees are thinking of leaving their jobs in the next 12 months. This is amidst a backdrop of a dwindling US workforce, as employees across industries continue to quit in droves—4.1 million Americans handed in their notice in September, according to federal statistics. And these challenges don’t go unnoticed: 64% of IT executives see talent shortage as the biggest barrier for emerging technologies, the same research found. 

While these statistics may be cause for worry and discomfort, the good news is that, given the current global trends in human resources, the solution may lead us to a more radically human world of work. The skills crunch, of course, is not unique to the tech industry. Markets across the globe are facing a growing dichotomy between talent supply and skills demand. But tomorrow's opportunities nip at the heels of today's challenges, and in 2023, tech leaders can attract, retain, and engage high-performing talent by leveraging the very thing that defines their industry: technology.

Traditional hiring for the technicalities of the job is a thing of the past.

Facing constant disruption, organizations can no longer afford to hire people to fill seats. Instead, to future-proof their business, they will need to bring on employees who can be developed, and with the right training, can move through the company to meet business needs as they evolve.

This, though, requires organizations to both visualize the skills employees will need and develop the journey to get there. And for employers looking to retain their high-performing talent, the promise of a strong development path—and a transparent policy in place to make it a reality—can outweigh the endlessly inflated salary offers that will only engage employees until a better offer comes along.

If current trends are any indication, organizations will need to reinvent their talent management strategies to create a truly employee-centric growth journey that is unmatched by any competitor. But to do this, they will need to invest in emerging cloud-based talent platforms and other new technologies that provide a seamless employee experience from the start of their career and beyond.

One platform, one seamless journey

Employers looking to revamp their talent management strategies first need to acknowledge that the beautiful career journey they think they have created for their employees often feels more like mazes with no end.

Numerous software platforms and applications claim to make navigating the maze easier or better. But with an overkill of providers around learning, payroll, skill development, benefits, productivity, collaboration, and so much more, it can be hard to perceive these platforms as enabling rather than confusing and downright hindering—coming back to the question: where to begin? For employee centricity, this means one platform for career development.

There are several providers out there which offer a seamless journey, but not all are created equal. Most of the cloud-based providers typically offer great user experience (UX) design, which is to be expected, given the tech-heavy focus and character of the organizations providing the tools. Other areas in which an organization will quickly find value are the analytics a platform provides, the skill development suggestions it offers employees, the career pathing available, and overall customer service.

Korn Ferry research shows that, apart from the above, the ideal cloud-based career development platform provider will offer a harmonization of talent and work-related language across business units. Currently, we often observe that language and career architecture design across the organization can be an obstacle to practically making the horizontal and diagonal moves happen. This is especially true for mid-size and large organizations; the lack of alignment across business units, in terms of career pathing, forms barriers.

When it comes to career development, this harmonization of language, at the very minimum, ought to be consistent. This will, in the end, offer the most value and growth to employees.


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