Many organizations complain about the difficulty in finding and retaining skilled technology professionals, especially in the software development, data science and cyber security ranks. But in many cases the firm has only itself to blame, relying on ineffective hiring and retention practices. According to the “IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report” from Foote Partners, an IT workforce consultancy in Florida, “The upshot is 2018 is shaping up to be a much-anticipated year when employers are finally beginning to take stock in how poorly prepared they are from a talent perspective. The hardest truth they must face is that the human resource management function supporting technology professionals at most companies has for years been unable to get in front of the unique demands of the technology workforce. They’ve been barely getting by for years with short-term fixes.” Here are five top challenges organizations give themselves.
People management systems and practices have become frighteningly ineffective
Even ad hoc work-around solutions are failing, the report notes. “And here’s the rub: employers cannot aspire to capitalize on blockchain, artificial intelligence, the next generation of IoT and the rest without first climbing out of the deep hole they’ve been digging for years. That means replacing HR management systems and practices that lack the power, agility and flexibility necessary to do competitive combat in a labor environment substantially different than what has existed heretofore. The next few years will test employers’ people management capabilities will like never before.”
The rapid changes in technology systems and software applications are placing unprecedented pressure on hiring managers, the report indicates. There are many factors at play here. First, there are simply too many tech job titles for the HR function to stay abreast of. There is high staff churn in key technology roles, especially among the most experienced tech workers. Nearly every organization cites a difficulty finding and hiring skilled tech professionals that are a good ‘fit.’ And all of these pressures are forcing many organizations into an overreliance on consultants, contractors and temps.
Confusion about pay
There is constant uncertainty about how much to pay tech professionals, especially with new jobs and the “Swiss Army knife” hybrid positions, the report says. Foote Partners recommends an Agile Compensation and Tech People Architecture approach that ties compensation to the ‘big picture’ of the job role. “It’s about how key human capital management elements such as job definition and design, skills demand and acquisition, compensation, incentives and recognition, professional development and work/life balance plug into an overall optimized operational model. The model is tuned to new technologies, business strategy, organizational goals and culture and performance philosophies, and it promotes flexibility and scalability, like any disciplined architecture approach,” the report explains.
Job Definition/Design Chaos
One of the top challenges is trying to manage independently created tech jobs that don’t fit in very well with established tech roles … and which are themselves ill-defined, the report says. “If these new blockbuster technologies existed independent of one another it would not be nearly as frightening from a labor demand perspective. But they don’t: they’re all part of one gigantic dynamic mesh. This mesh will demand an unprecedented level of talent that will place a stunning labor strain on employers regardless of whether they are developing, supporting, or consuming these pervasive groundbreaking technologies,” the report says.
Job Path Uncertainty