The tech sector is booming, as businesses seek out innovative IT solutions to spur on growth, and consumers increasingly rely on digital technology for every aspect of life. But many in the industry are discovering they are unable to scale to meet these demands. Specifically, what’s holding them back is talent or more specifically accessing globally distributed talent.
However, as we explore in this blog, there’s an abundance of highly skilled professionals out there. The problem is that the tech sector has too often been looking in the wrong places. There’s a habit of looking too close to home—both in terms of geography and diversity. It’s time for tech companies, so used to driving innovation elsewhere, to think outside the box when it comes to talent acquisition. A hiring strategy that embraces remote talent acquisition could be the answer.
The rise of remote work tech companies
Remote working is seen, rather hopefully, as a short-term solution at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet now, Gartner has forecast that 51% of knowledge workers will be remote by 2022.
Many organisations offered remote working options before the pandemic, but these were rarely widely adopted or standardised. Unsurprisingly, tech companies were early adopters of remote working. For instance, one 2019 report singled out the tech industry as offering the most opportunities—with software developer as the 6th most common job title to be advertised as being remote.
But we should not ignore the challenges of remote working in the tech industry. Perhaps the biggest difference is that workloads are as high as ever. Both in the consumer and business spheres, society is now dependent on digital technology and the highly skilled workers that make that possible.
The best solutions for these challenges come from remote working itself. Yes, remote working provides a better work/life balance, boosts employee wellbeing and satisfaction, and can improve productivity. However, there’s another substantial benefit that often gets overlooked. Remote working allows for remote talent acquisition.
Talent acquisition without borders
Remote working revolutionises hiring. When employees no longer need to be in the office at 9am on Monday morning, it means you don’t need to hire people who live within commuting-distance. In fact, you don’t need to hire people in the same country, or even continent.
This upshot is you can hire from a far wider and deeper talent pool. Remote talent acquisition is essentially global talent acquisition. Although time- and language- differences will remain a barrier. More than this though, it provides an opportunity to radically transform processes and philosophies around hiring, people, and culture. In particular, it allows you to address two related challenges that the industry has faced for a while:
- Digital skills shortage
- Lack of diversity
Digital skills shortage
Digital skills are in greater demand as the world becomes more reliant on digital technology. And there’s no doubt that this issue is larger than any one organisation. There is a macro, society-wide impact of a digital skills shortage. To fix this we need big solutions from big players (think governments with legislative power).
A global study commissioned by Salesforce reports that if the skills shortage is not sorted out within 3-5 years, there will be significant impacts on product development, delivery and innovation, and customer experience and satisfaction. So, there’s a lot of incentive for this to be resolved; but no sign that the right buttons are being pushed just yet. Individual organisations in the tech industry need to act now. In the short term, a digital skills shortage means increased competition to attract top talent.
Remote working can provide short-term answers. By looking beyond borders you immediately have a far wider talent pool to advertise to. For instance, an organization based in a rural area, where there may not be a wide supply of digital skills, can access the talent pool of a large city like London or Berlin.
Banish diversity problems
It’s not a secret that there is a lack of diversity in the tech industry— particularly women and minorities are underrepresented and overlooked. Many people have been working hard to change this over the years. Most companies remain stuck in traditional hiring practices, which means that real change is never implemented.
Remote working allows organisations to extend the talent pool by reaching out to people from different backgrounds. And it should provide an opportunity to establish new pathways into the industry too—which in turn will have a substantial impact on the digital skills shortage.
Interestingly, a global study commissioned by Salesforce proposes four ways to combat the skills shortage, which all help to bridge diversity gaps too. These include:
- Promoting tech careers as a platform for fair progression, meaningful, lifelong learning and enjoyment.
- Executing far-reaching programs that smash institutional barriers such as poor access to skilling and racial and gender inequality.
- Resetting recruitment to focus less on traditional education and more on skills, opening digital roles to a wider, more diverse talent pool and delivering a more positive socio-economic impact.
- Creating non-traditional pathways into the tech industry.
Delivering more equal opportunities for everyone is a win-win situation for employers and employees. Research from McKinsey found that companies that had greater gender diversity were 21% more likely to have financial returns above the national average for their industry. It was even more advantageous for organisations with greater levels of ethnic diversity (33%).
Enable Remote talent acquisition with talent.ai
talent.ai is at your side to ensure that your remote talent acquisition strategy ticks all the boxes so you can benefit from a cohesive and talented global workforce.