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Attracting talent in tech: what should your business be considering?





Posted by Justine Woolf on 08 October 2019

Attracting talent in tech: what should your business be considering?

Measuring pay | Global talent | Talent | Organisational Design | Job evaluation

When it comes to attracting the right talent, technology and digital roles are the ones that are often creating headaches for many employers right now. The increasing tech focus for most organisations is demanding a skill set that in many cases doesn’t yet exist - or if it does, it is like gold dust to find. Skills sets in demand vary from digital customer interfaces and big data to working knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, as well as the increasing trend for data scientists. 

This particular fact is especially true in the FinTech sector, where new roles being developed are starting to require skills that have not ever traditionally been recruited together in one person, for example needing someone with a detailed understanding of regulation that is combined with technology, or recruiting for a person with a sophisticated level of numeracy combined with impeccable communication skills. As well as this challenge, the pace of change in the sector as a whole is also creating a mammoth mountain to climb as organisations now require innovation and skills that are not being taught traditionally in universities, demonstrating a worrying misalignment between academia and modern industry.

These issues play out daily for HR and reward professionals when supporting their tech and digital colleagues to fill vacancies whilst also then trying to adapt existing pay frameworks to cope with the increasing pay demands created by the scarcity of skill in this area. 

This challenge, however, does look different depending on the type of organisation recruiting. An established organisation, for example, that has traditional pay frameworks in place may find that they have to be ‘creative’ or break their existing rules and structures to accommodate the pay requirements of these sought after roles. This in turn can sometimes create a sense of unfairness and inequality amongst their other employees and can generate precedents in pay practice that can be hard to defend or alter in the future. 

On the other hand, new start-ups seem on the surface to be able to be more flexible. Although they may not be so tied by structures however as they are often less likely to constrain themselves with frameworks, they are still having to consider other challenges, such as having to look at their reward strategies carefully to then ensure they don’t unintentionally create a pay practice that they can’t sustain going forward. 

Whatever your sector, size or the age of your organisation though, the following considerations are vital when attracting this new age of tech talent to your business:

Invest in internal skills
Harness the power of the people you have internally rather than going straight to external recruitment. Development and opportunities can create a blossoming team and you may have a hidden gem in your mist. Just remember, it is sometimes what’s on the inside that counts. 

Build up a pipeline for the future
To attract the best talent you want to be ahead of your game and this means strategically aligning with universities and colleges. This can help you snap up the stars of tomorrow. Other avenues are also to create industrial placements in your organisation. These can help shape up a potentially golden future employee as well as diversifying your workforce and skill sets. 

Encourage diversity
The FinTech sector particularly attracts mainly white males, and tech depts alone are often a major contributor to gender and BAME pay gaps. What can your organisation do to break the mould and, as part of the overall deal, make your digital and tech roles more attractive to women and ethnically diverse employees? 

Think about the total deal
Pay is important to us all, but what else is meaningful to people that doesn’t create pay inequity? One very valuable commodity that is underused as part of the reward deal is time. Flexible and agile working have a lot to offer employees, yet this is often seen as an add on. The rewards you offer really can be the key differentiator for your employer brand and this is a key consideration for attracting any talent. 

Make it a strategic board issue
Dealing with skill shortages and pay inflation can’t be dealt with in isolation. This all needs to part of a coherent reward strategy and the board need to be aware of the challenges it creates across whole organisation. This process should include questioning if you need a different pay stance for tech roles compared to the rest of the organisation, such as a job family framework that will facilitate more flexibility in pay than a one size fits all approach. 

Consider a range of data sources
We all know recruiter data should be taken with a pinch of salt and can often be the driver of inflated salaries. But at the same time traditional pay surveys aren’t always as relevant or timely when it comes to unique skill sets. By using a range of data sources that reflect a robust approach of industry surveys you can make sure you attract talent that is right for you. 

If you are looking for support and insights into your team or need help defining the right pay structures for your organisation, get in touch with Justine or one of our team on 020 3457 0894

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