The Battle for IT Talent is On — Are You Ready?

September 30, 2015 Harry West


The evolution of technology has drastically changed the role of IT today. They’re no longer just “those guys that set up your computer” —  technology teams are an integral part of an efficient, competitive, and innovative business. And companies are fighting a battle on 2 fronts: demand for IT talent is at an all-time high, and the demographic of these professionals is changing. The “gig economy” is taking hold and changing the way IT professionals want to work.

To find out how this war for IT talent is affecting businesses and what issues matter most to executives and IT staff, we partnered with Wakefield Research on the “Talent Wars and the Gig Economy” survey, which included 400 respondents in the US and UK, including 200 IT executives and IT staff at companies with 500+ employees.

The C-Suite and IT staff agree — recruiting and retaining IT talent is a significant challenge in their organizations

An overwhelming 90 percent of executives and 82 percent of IT staff surveyed said recruiting and retaining IT talent is a top business challenge within their organizations. The survey also revealed that retention is likely difficult due to poaching; more than half of the IT staff surveyed admitted recruiters attempt to poach them an average of 6 times each month. This constant battle for IT talent is costly, has a negative effect on productivity, and can hinder a company’s ability to innovate.

Ready or not, the gig economy is here

The future of work has empowered many highly skilled workers to take non-traditional career paths in today’s gig economy. In our survey, 83 percent of executives said that by 2050 the economy will shift toward gig-based work over full-time employees. Better pay and benefits aren’t enough to entice these workers anymore. What they really want is the lifestyle of a flexible and individualized Worker Experience. In fact, 81 percent of the IT workers we surveyed said they’re more likely to leave a job because of a lack of flexibility than because of unsatisfactory compensation.

We also found that IT management may be in denial about the stronghold the gig economy has on their field. The C-Suite estimates just 28 percent of their workers have engaged in the gig economy. They also feel that gig workers are less reliable and less knowledgeable that traditional workers, which doesn’t make sense, considering they also fear that they’re losing many of their top talent to gig work. Executives are seeing the future of work as a bad thing, when they should really be embracing it.

Win the talent war — make the gig economy work for you

The future of work is about embracing mobility and creating a flexible, collaborative culture, so that you can attract those talented individuals that you want on your payroll. And you can take advantage of the growing gig economy to fill in the gaps. Crowdsourcing, for example, gives you access to some of the world’s top IT talent. Many organizations are winning the talent wars by using crowdsourcing as a way to scale innovation. And despite what many executives still wrongly believe, there is no lack of top talent in the global crowd; Appirio’s crowd of more than 850,000 members is home to the best designers, developers, and data scientists in the world. It’s even become commonplace for large companies like Honeywell and Booz Allen Hamilton to use the crowd for app development projects. Just remember, every revolutionary idea will eventually become the norm. The future of work is here and you should be excited about it.


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