How has COVID-19 impacted the Tech Talent demand?

Stefanie Stanislawski

By Stefanie Stanislawski

Tech talent is highly scarce, but today much more than ever.

Even before the reality of COVID-19 reached everyone, companies were forced to create formal training and skilling programmes for workers in response to the lack of talent. According to Bersin, a Human Resources expert, in many cases, it can be six times less expensive to carry a process of “upskill” on teams than to outsource.

It is clear that the coronavirus exploded digital transformation on a global scale. And who better than the teams of technology experts to lead these transformations?

So, if tech talent was already scarce, we expect it to be even more so. Even in many cases, skill gaps have become more evident during the pandemic, forcing all companies, fast and slow, large or small, from different industries to use technology to get in line with the new demands of the market.

Demand for tech profiles

It’s funny, but the ICT profiles most in demand haven’t changed much in a couple of years. They remain profiles of Cyber Security, Big Data, Software Engineers, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Cloud, Robotics, IoT, or Blockchain.

Despite the many efforts that have been made by governments, companies and other institutions, tech profiles remain insufficient to meet the full demand worldwide. These profiles require a great deal of technical knowledge, which is not always acquired in universities, but with experience in the field.

Tech profiles are nowadays fundamental and indispensable for all types of companies, from all kinds of sectors. They are very cross-cutting in nature when acquiring that function of serving the business. They are no longer just being sued by technology-based companies, but by many others who want to incorporate technology and digitization into their strategies because of a purely competitive issue or even to survive in today’s market. With all that we are currently living, it is inevitable that companies of any kind will need some of these profiles to reorient their strategies towards an increasingly digital and automated model.

new roles

A clear example is the cybersecurity profiles. 

Any company that manages and/or stores information, in some way, confidential, is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. And now these attacks are becoming more frequent and threaten the security of our companies. They don’t cater to sectors or sizes. Cybersecurity will, therefore, be one of the main contracting areas by 2020.

This expansion of technological needs has meant that apart from technical knowledge and experience, business knowledge and more soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication or strategic vision, and even people management are available. They have to be able to find technical solutions to business problems, taking a global view.

Within this boom in demand, we can separate three groups that we believe will be those with the highest growth, and therefore, the highest wage inflation in 2020.

Impact of demand on organizations

Wage inflation will have a direct impact on the competitiveness of companies. Those who can acquire this talent at the stroke of a chequebook will continue to compete and will be able to take their projects forward, creating a kind of “bubble” in which companies with fewer resources will be harmed.

Those who cannot compete in wages will have to look for other differential ways to attract these professionals. Their demand is so high and their profiles so scarce that they will move quickly from one company to another looking to improve. They will have more where to choose and logically go where they feel better and more valued.

Companies must, therefore, go beyond the economic aspect and offer the employee the possibility of further development and training. So investing in #upskilling will also serve as a powerful talent attraction tool.

Finally, frankly, there is no forecast that this demand will stabilize in the coming years. Salaries will continue to rise as long as the pool of candidates is scarce and there are still projects that demand them. And there is no shortage of projects now that we have to adapt to a new paradigm. Therefore, we have to be aware that our best asset in this talent war will be to bet on the training of our teams to adapt to the new challenges and as a measure to attract talent, not only locally, but also globally.

What can companies do to attract and retain this kind of talent?

The scarcity of these profiles in the local market is a structural problem, involving not only companies, but also universities and schools, and even government.

It is a problem that grades such as mathematics, physics, or engineering, to say the least, continue to be considered difficult and inaccessible and that students are not encouraged to enter those careers that have a bright future in today’s market. The adoption and development of new technologies are often not accompanied by the necessary speed in training programmes, which must be more agile and provide the market with more specialised professionals in less time.

Traditional training at universities and schools will require time and effort from universities, companies and government. Meanwhile, going to a global talent pool and investing in upskilling can be two strategies to apply in talent management.

For example, at Catenon we have long been committed to innovation projects based on data technologies for the identification and attraction of professionals, to reduce, among other things, wage inflation by accessing a much wider pool of talent than traditional sources such as professional networks do not.

This way, through our area of Catenon IT, we offer global and specialized recruitment allows us to have a more complete vision and serve as a reference to our clients to choose a competitive salary and define a strategy for the short, medium and long term.

So, without a doubt, being an institution that puts innovation and diversity ahead will help attract the best tech talent. 

On the other hand, incorporating upskilling into talent strategies is mandatory. In companies, there are already profiles with great potential, who know the business, and who lack this more technical knowledge. An excellent solution is to provide them with the tools, knowledge and skills to adapt to new demands.

In any case, investing in employee career development can mean great benefits for organizations. Employees who feel supported and empowered to pursue their career goals are more likely to stay where they can develop their skills and potentially lead the organization in the future.


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