How companies can turn in-house to face the tech talent challenge

María Balbás

Recent reports from Salesforce highlight the disconnect between the tech skills that companies are looking for and the skills candidates have and use.

If that’s the case, how can businesses avoid the significant resource investment needed to find the right candidate for the job? With the right upskilling programmes in place, companies may find they already have the right talent in-house.

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By diversifying employee skillsets through in-house digital skilling, company output can be seamlessly adjusted to meet shifting market demands and economic headwinds. It can also increase employee engagement, retention, productivity and loyalty.

But how can companies achieve a successful internal skilling programme?

Comprehensive role-based skills auditing

Effective skilling programmes begin with a thorough audit of existing skills within teams.

By identifying present competencies and skills gaps, companies and their skilling partners can design bespoke skilling pathways to meet their business needs, building on their existing talent and in alignment with the roles needed to achieve the organisation’s goals and transformation projects.

This can have hidden surprises: a skills audit may even identify talent that can be pivoted from non-tech roles into tech teams.

Targeted development training is an increasingly important aspect of digital skilling programmes, helping with streamlining business operations and supporting workers across entire organisations tackle company innovation goals.

Determined by role type, technology, and level, they focus on specific position responsibilities and enable personalised and relevant learning for employees.

Invest in power skills

To create teams that can adapt effectively to evolving working environments and ongoing digital advancements, tech training should go hand-in-hand with investment in power skills, such as communication, empathy, and collaboration.

For example, communication ensures that newly learned tech skills will not be kept in a silo, but the advantages of new technology can be understood business-wide.

By fostering positive cross-company collaboration, tech benefits can be integrated seamlessly with colleagues across departments.

Developing a comprehensive power skills programme can also promote the flexibility, resilience, critical thinking, and problem-solving that is vital for those hoping to engage with the challenges of today’s fast-paced digital transformations.

Boosting employee engagement and productivity will not only foster the environment necessary to tackle tech challenges but will also enhance overall organisational performance.

Integrate with DEI initiatives

Businesses can also find it effective to combine digital upskilling programmes with company diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to fully unlock the potential of their talent when facing the digital skills gap.

For example, it is no secret that women are significantly under-represented in the tech sector, currently holding only 26.7% of tech-related jobs.

By investing in upskilling programmes tailored to address this sector's gender bias, businesses are not only helping to reverse these statistics but unlocking an untapped source of tech talent.

Such programmes should be tailored to the specific barriers women face in the tech workplace.

Research shows that women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men, many of them citing a lack of career growth opportunities.

By offering sponsorship, mentorship and networking opportunities for women, female employees can be empowered to advocate for the next step in their tech careers and continue to drive forward businesses’ digital transformations and commercial growth.

The solution within

By turning in-house and developing bespoke digital skilling programmes tailored to unlocking the potential of existing employees, businesses can overcome today’s digital obstacles without having to engage with the unprecedentedly competitive tech talent market.

This has significant business benefits, from savings in resource investment to talent loyalty.

With digital skilling, the answer really does lie within: businesses must just ensure they take the right steps to initiate a programme’s success.

María Balbás is executive VP, YNV Tech Talent