Are hi-tech companies missing a trick as they look to recruit staff?

Torbay Weekly

A recent survey of the South West tech sector commissioned by Tech South West revealed that over half of tech companies in the region are finding it impossible or very difficult to recruit.

This is perhaps par for the course given the meteoric growth of the region’s tech sector, which has seen an increase in Venture Capital investment of over 500 per cent since 2016 and a corresponding boom in job roles to fill.

Tech companies are also increasingly forced to compete with national companies for homegrown talent, as remote working makes it easier for people in the region to work for national or London-based employers.

Given these circumstances, are tech companies in the region doing enough to maximise the talent on their doorstep?

Train4Tomorrow is one programme tackling the issue, offering fully-funded training to career changers or those looking to upskill, with guaranteed job interviews at the end of the process.

Graduates of the programme enter the workforce fully-trained, but some tech companies involved with the programme believe tech organisations are not taking full advantage of the opportunity this scheme, and others like it, provides.

Sam Snowdon, CMO at BIT Group Bluescreen IT, said: “It’s vital that companies are proactive in working with educators, local authorities, and programmes like Train4Tomorrow to ensure the right talent is being developed along the pipeline. Employing people with passion, tenacity and potential, and supporting them in upskilling, is a fantastic way to build a skilled team, rather than expecting to find jobseekers with years of experience from the usual recruitment sources - in the current climate, that simply doesn’t work.”

Developing an effective talent strategy to overcome the perceived difficulties of recruiting fresh talent could be key to overcoming these challenges.

Magdalena King, Technology recruitment specialist at King Recruit said: "Many tech companies try to find a fully experienced employee who dovetails seamlessly into a role. However, the competition is high amongst tech companies, tech talent is in demand and the process can be very time consuming and costly. Companies might be more successful with allowing themselves more freedom to take on less experienced candidates, ensuring they have robust talent strategies in place to support the new hire and develop their skill set."

The UK Government struggling to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the country. £6.4 million has been pledged by the Treasury to support new STEM education initiatives.

Charlotte Collyer, Digital Skills Partnership Manager at the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “It’s vital that companies re-evaluate their recruitment strategies. Working together across businesses, government, and the education sector is key to tackling the skills shortage."

If you’re looking to recruit highly skilled tech talent, find out more about upskilling your employees or recruiting from the Train4Tomorrow programmes here: train4tomorrow.org.uk, or by getting in touch at skillslaunchpad@devon.gov.uk

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