Analysis: The state of the talent market

Markus Åberg, People Plan Specialist at Academic Work reviews the current talent market, in which almost every company is looking for tech skills.

When almost every company is looking for tech-talent, the terrain that we are all searching in looks quite tough. How did we end up here, and how can your company face the current state of the talent market?

This text is an opinion piece. The analyses are the writer’s own.

The term “The war for talent” was first coined in 1997 when it became obvious that the shift towards skilled knowledge work was happening faster than the education systems could supply the talent market with sought-after skills. The skilled knowledge worker has ever since been in increasingly high demand in all parts of the modern world.

More than 20 years later, the same problem combined with the increasing pace of change, makes this challenge even more obvious.

A view from the sideline

Every year I meet hundreds of hiring managers from a wide range of different organizations who share their struggles finding and retaining the talent they need to build their business. I thought I would share my perspective and useful guidance, especially for businesses in tech.

New technology realities

The management consulting firm McKinsey estimated in their report “The future of work after Covid-19″ that hundreds of millions of people would see their jobs disappear in the next ten years due to the rapid pace of change in automation and digitalization.

For the past few years, every company globally has been looking into how new technologies will impact their industry. One by one, they have realized that they will need a substantial number of employees skilled in modern technologies to stay competitive.

“We are struggling to hire software developers, or any role in Tech really.”

Every company in 2022.

To keep up with evolving technology, a skills shift has been necessary. Skills that, just a few years ago, seemed fine to purchase on-demand from a consulting firm are now deemed so critical they need to be kept in-house. The companies that used to hire people with the most advanced technological skills were mainly IT consulting companies, high-tech companies, and some of the largest corporations.

Today – it’s everybody!

And the crisis we just lived through did not slow down the pace of change in this regard. The revised estimate on how many jobs will disappear before 2030 is adjusted by another +25% due to the pandemic.

Mismatch of talent

Still, on a regular basis I run into heads of companies that still haven’t understood the severity of the situation.

“I can fit an interview with that candidate in the middle of next week” doesn’t cut it anymore. Next week this candidate will have interviewed with two other employers, and already received offers.

It is also understandable that many hiring managers get a bit desperate and stretch the truth a bit just to get that candidate to accept the job offer.

An approach like this tends to result in failed hires, meaning employments that ends in the first 12 months. This often costs upwards of 1 million SEK when all factors are counted in. And rarely is this because the company felt they picked the wrong candidate – it is because the candidate felt they should have chosen a different employer.

How to adapt to the changed talent landscape

These are some recommendations that could benefit most companies.

First, make it your top priority to quickly book meetings with interested candidates and give them a smooth and professional interviewing/hiring experience.

Take care of your current employees. Make sure they feel at home and that they are being appreciated for their efforts.

Invest in good leadership – Do not risk losing your best people because they can’t stand how they or the company is managed.

Create a strategic people plan that reflects your short- and long-term business plan objectives. Plan ahead who you will need to hire but be prepared to make necessary changes along the way. Be open-minded to creative talent solutions. We know that companies successfully can upskill and reskill motivated people to fill the skills gap.

Markus Åberg, People Plan Specialist, Academic Work

Markus Åberg is hosting an expert seminar on this subject at the international tech conference Techarenan Summit 2022, April 26 at the Waterfront Congress Centre in Stockholm.


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