One of the dominating trends regarding employment in the year 2022 has to do with a highly candidate driven market. This is quintessentially an outcome of the ‘Great Resignation’ which has been a looming threat ever since the pandemic hit and is only set to grow. With employee wellbeing and work culture becoming trending topics as organisations look to hire and fresh talent look to be hired, serious investments in building an attractive employer brand will play a fundamental role in overcoming the talent crunch across the country. This severe talent shortage takes a different turn especially in the IT industry in light of the startup revolution across the country and the massive drive in digitalisation across all companies which are now on the lookout for digitally skilled professionals.
In a recent interaction with Michael Page India, Neha Jain, Director and Ankit Agarwala, Managing Director point out that attrition rates within the IT industry are at present 30% higher than they used to be. They go onto add that among the several reasons which are usually attributed to a talent shortage that has already been written about an length, an interesting trend has been the eruption of over 200 unicorns and ‘soonicorns’ (soon to be unicorns) that have been scaling and hiring rapidly leaving little to no room for traditional companies who are now struggling to both hire and retain talent. As companies are faced with this spree of losing talent, they are starting to ask themselves some hard questions about whether they really need this kind of talent or whether they should seriously draw upon their institutional knowledge and make do with stronger process orientation and average people. On the flipside of this is the fact that the Indian IT Industry is looking to hire around 450,000 people in H2FY22 who among experienced employees will include a large number of fresh hires.
The Skills in Demand:
As per Quess data, the most demanded IT skills in FY21 were IT Infra (15%), Testing (12%), Java (10%), SAP (9%), Database and Data Analytics (8%), among others. In the year 2022, Vijay Sivaram, CEO, Quess IT Staffing notes that organizations will increasingly focus on software development (Full Stack Engineers), Data Analytics and Data Science (Big Data, SQL, statistical programming languages), Cyber Security, Low Code and No Code Development, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, RPAs, UI/UX and the technologies used to develop the Metaverse.
Trends that will have an impact on hiring in the IT industry:
When asked about the dominant trends that will impact the hiring landscape, Giridhar GV, Executive Vice President – Global Human Resources, HGS elaborated on the following points:
- Emphasis on Soft skills along with IT: While talent skilled in cloud computing, Data Analytics, AI, XR will create a strong talent pipeline, talent with soft skills such as analytical ability, problem solving mind-set, design thinking, adaptability to change and result oriented outlook will become the need of the hour for the organizations
- Diversity, Equality and Inclusion: Diversity and Inclusion will shift from a “good to have” notion to a “must-have” outlook. As employees are increasingly becoming cognizant of the factors that build their environment and impact their communities, they will be aligning themselves to the organizations that empowers them to bring their whole-self to the workplace.
- Greater Focus on Learning and Development (L&D): While L&D has always been a critical area of focus for organizations. The pandemic has given a new meaning to L&D initiatives at the workplace. The new set of protocols have forced companies to create innovative measures, processes and strategies, around how employees learn and develop across the industries and sectors. Putting together a comprehensive L&D strategy is the only way our industry can fight the existing skill gap.
Migration of Talent to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities:
An interesting topic of conversation that has come up when it comes to upskilling fresh talent for hiring organisations, several recruiters have pointed out that a lot of the talent shortages can be overcome if the IT professional from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities are upskilled by employers or have greater access to learning opportunities prior to hiring. With remote recruitment processes a key feature of all organizations these days, an expansion of the talent pool to include these cities has been a key trend.
'The pandemic has broken the geographical barriers of hiring, and companies are now seeking talent from smaller towns to address the existing talent crunch. State governments have realized this as well and are actively working to usher in social and economic development. More and more people are moving to towns in search of a higher quality of living. The reverse migration trend is definitely here to stay. Further, data from the Monster Employment Index further indicates that hiring activity in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities has witnessed an incline in the last months,’ says Sekhar Garisa, CEO, Monster.com.
Critical strategies to overcome the challenges of attrition:
Sivaram highlights five foolproof strategies for organisations looking to hire and retain their digitally skilled talent:
- Conduct ‘Stay interviews’ to prevent attrition: A step ahead of exit interviews, stay interviews follow a proactive rather than reactive approach; they are a two-way feedback session to let key talented individuals know that the company appreciates and values them.
- Moving from employee engagement to experience management: Outside of the stipulated engagement activities planned in the calendar year, every employee touch-point needs to be an engaging experience.
- Develop employee programs that circle around learning, benefits, and culture: Holistic development programs help employees envision a sustainable future in the organization, rather than just a short-term tenure.
- Talent attraction is a key strategy always: Use the effective 4C approach to attract talent; career, communication, celerity, and compensation. Set up well-defined career paths, communicate the role and expectations clearly, ensure your ‘time to hire’ is optimized, and offer a compelling compensation – both monetary and non-monetary.
- Create micro-engagement for employees: Personalized engagement activities that relate to the employee, have a deeper effect than mass activities planned org-wide. A healthy mix of the two can drive higher engagement and retention rates.
In the face of a candidate driven market and high rates of attrition, talent leaders have to take account of the situation at hand, the skill shortages that need to be closed and accordingly invest in building an attractive employer brand that can compete at the level of startups in hiring digitally skilled digital professionals.