In recent years, there has been a massive increase in the job market for tech talents. One of the main reasons is, every company is becoming technology-oriented and adopting new technological operations to improve its services. Management consulting firms are also looking for a way to hire tech talents. As consulting firms want to manage tech-related problems like cybersecurity issues faced by businesses today as it is steadily increasing. Consulting firms are aiming to take care of the management and IT related matters entirely for businesses. Consulting has become more than giving advice. Consulting firms need to be theoretically and statistically correct when providing solutions to their clients.
Problems faced by IT consulting firms:
Almost 61% of IT managers say they need more tech talents to their tech business operations in 2019. According to Modis France (IT consulting firm), 41% of IT consultants face difficulty in finding the right talent with the required technical skillset. This difficulty has arisen as there is a vast gap between the available talent and the type of expertise needed in the job market.
According to Gartner’s research, World’s largest tech companies are trying to fill technology roles like computer and information research scientists, system managers, analysts, software architects. These unfilled positions are costing millions in lost productivity for companies every year.
So, what’s making it difficult and creating this huge gap?
Earlier hiring tech talents were easy, as their task mostly included working in backend and only need tech skills to achieve goals. Now, companies are looking for tech talents that can handle the management and tech side of their business. E.g., Candidates should possess the necessary soft skills and management skills to attract clients. Also, they should have all the specific technical skills to achieve the client’s project requirements.
But it is getting difficult to find IT talents with excellent soft skills. IT firms have a hard time finding talent with the right level of communication, problem-solving, observation, and adaptability skills. Even if the consulting firm finds the ideal tech talent for their client, the real problem comes with attracting talent.
When it comes to recruiting IT talents, the candidates have some expectations and requirements to be filled. The candidates are expecting advancement in career, salary, the ability to innovate, create new project ideas in their job. Nearly 39% of IT talents expect their job to have flexible hours, 23% prefer working remotely, and 11% of them are looking for training programs to help the talents update themselves regularly.
However, majority of IT talents are more concerned about salary and compensation than the stability and the longevity of the company they work. Also, due to the shortage present in finding the talent with specific IT and soft skills, the candidates are expecting a salary that is higher than the average market salary.
How are companies facing this problem?
Companies always expect the employee to follow their organizational principles. But the shortage of tech talents in the industry has made talents more powerful than the company in the hiring process. The companies want to avoid this and regain their status back in the recruitment. So, the CIO (Chief Information Officers) in the organization tries to upskill their current workforce with appropriate training, increase in pay, and other options like outsourcing, automation, and getting help from IT consulting firms to solve the problem.
To overcome this situation, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies are looking for IT consulting firms to help them. So, these consulting firms will help with the projects the client or companies need. One of the most significant advantages of using IT consulting is that the companies don’t have to spend the same amount of money or resources they pay for an employee. Organizations use IT consultants as freelancers, short term, or long-term periods depending upon the project’s specific technical needs.
Importance of IT talents in consulting field:
As you know, IT talents have become essential to consulting firms. Part of a consultant’s job is solving business and organization’s problems. So, IT talent search has become part of the consultant’s business. In 2019, the consulting industry was worth 284 billion US dollars, and the IT consulting service contributes 48 billion US dollars, with an average estimated growth of 2.5% every year. Also, there is a sudden shift from traditional management consulting to tech management consulting. Consulting firms are quickly equipping themselves with the right IT technicians to capitalize on this market.
How IT consulting firms hires their IT candidates?
Earlier, hiring a management consultant is easier for consulting firms. They employ the consultant based on their ability to solve business case study, creativity, and whether the candidates are highly numerical while making important decisions. This is not the same case for hiring IT talents. Since the field they are looking is specific, the IT talent must have high software, hardware, and soft skills combined. IT talents are going to be crucial in helping the consulting firm’s client with advice on the technical background.
Also, there is a huge scarcity for the IT talents. So, when the consulting firms struggle with hiring candidates, they outsource to IT recruitment agencies.
Tech staffing companies helping consulting firms:
One way the consulting firms hire their talents is by sourcing the recruitment to technology staffing companies. According to SIA, IT staffing industry is a $ 10.2 billion market in US alone. This need has created IT staffing companies specializing in finding the right IT candidate for the firms.
IT staffing companies help consulting firms to hire IT talents for long-term or short-term placement, emergency hires for critical positions. After the recruitment of IT talents, they will be working as tech advisors or IT project managers for consulting firms. This acts as an opportunity for Consulting firms to grow their advisory team in technical background.
What IT consulting firms expects from its IT candidates when hiring?
IT consultants as communicators:
IT consultants are not the usual IT technicians who typically sit at desk and do coding for software. They are going to be the ones who interest the consulting firm’s clients and provide the necessary IT advices. IT consultants will act as project leaders involved in strategy, communication, and reporting for IT projects.
So, firms are looking for tech talents with excellent communication skills and capable of explaining sophisticated technology-related topics to clients and project teams. They must help to navigate the project through difficult situations, make changes when required, and report the progress of the project. Help organizations to align with their goals. In the end, they should be a consultant with all management skills and an employee with specific technical skills to run an IT project.
IT consultants as strategist:
To be a successful strategist in the field of IT. The tech talent must be well versed with a variety of tools and platforms present in the technological environment. It can be a SaaS tool, project management related software, hardware, and so on. Without understanding the impact or influence of these platforms and tools, they could not make an important decision for the IT projects.
For IT leadership positions like CIOs, CTOs being strategically strong is very important. Therefore, the talent needs to have experience in strategy development and execution. Also, implementing and providing solutions by using necessary IT tools to support the project.
How IT consulting firms are attracting candidates?
In the tech industry, the unemployment rate is below 1%. There are more IT jobs than actual IT talents. So, companies must adopt a fierce hiring strategy as war on talents keeps intensifying. Hiring alone is not the main problem, the average tenure of the employee is also an issue. In the tech industry, the average employee turnover is very high, 1 to 1.1 years on average. So, the candidate will likely leave a firm earlier than expected and generate hiring costs again.
To keep up with the competition, firms are trying to fulfill what tech talents expect from them, which is:
- Competitive pay:
Of course, firms can’t avoid this, and they hate to pay more than they expect. But this is the only way to attract the candidate you want. If the company expects a talent in a niche field, then the salary can go even higher. Because companies don’t have a so many alternate candidates to replace.
- Seeking career advancement:
Money keeps your talent happy, but they will want to shine in their field of expertise. When the IT talents are not making progress at work, they start looking elsewhere, and this is what any firm should avoid in order to reduce hiring process and costs. Employee advancement doesn’t necessarily has to be a promotion. It could be adding them to an employee stock option scheme, making them leader on an IT project, granting a bonus on successful projects. These options would make the talent to perform better and maximize organizations profits. It’s a win-win situation.
- Providing work flexibility:
According to EY, 74% of tech workers want flexibility in their day to day job. It could include flexible office hours, work from home, sick time and vacation days. At the same time, organizations must remain flexible in their hiring process and understand how aligned is their expectation with the candidate one. It is the only way to spend the money on the right candidate rather than replacing the wrong candidate.
- Improving your talents with new skills:
According to a study by Udemy, 46% of employees leave their job because they are bored at work or unable to learn new skills. The tech industry is disruptive and prone to technological changes often. Therefore, it is crucial to equip candidates with new skills, or they will leave the job to advance their skills.
Retaining tech talents:
There is another grey area, which is making the tech talent stay longer in the firm with them. In a 2017 survey conducted by UK tech news, 42% of tech talents are actively seeking a new job with a better salary, and 75% are expecting to change employers by next year. It happens because 59% of tech professionals think they are underpaid. Therefore, hiring and retaining tech talent has become an enormous problem for consulting firms.
Hiring and retaining tech talent is more crucial than providing a higher salary package and incentives. It’s about making them feel valuable to their company. The talents should be happy and feel comfortable in their work environment and among their team. Firms should help tech talents achieve their career goals, because when tech talents are more focused on their career and personal development than their company, it generates turnover. This would increase employee retention and employee loyalty towards the firm.
Making these small changes in organization will create a huge impact on how employees feel about their firms in a positive way. This will also make it easier for IT consulting firms to make it easier to attract tech talents and will improve the chances of them staying longer at their firm.