At a time when the demand for digital talent far outstrips the supply, most companies across Asia have yet to firm up their strategies for attracting, engaging, and retaining people with the digital skills they need, according to a new study by Korn Ferry.
The study, which gathered responses from hundreds of organisations across China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, found that candidate scarcity is a massive issue in acquiring digital talent today, with 83 percent of respondents citing it as the top challenge encountered when searching. Unsurprisingly, the scarcity of talent has led to a premium on it: 70 percent said they have difficulty meeting candidates' reward expectations.
The findings show, however, that despite the challenge, many employers still appear to be holding back on changing their rewards strategy. 55 percent are not offering higher pay to digital talent, and 65 percent do not offer sign-on bonuses. While the study did not examine why, almost half the respondents said they are undecided about the effectiveness of their rewards strategy in attracting and retaining digital talent.
As an alternative to hiring, organisations are apparently looking at upskilling to obtain the talent they need. Only 49 percent of respondents across Asia said they are looking at recruitment to support their digital initiatives, compared to 75 percent that are looking to upskill employees with digital skills.
Again, however, the numbers show that employers are not necessarily acting on their own conclusions. For most of the countries covered in the study, less than 15 percent of organisations have talent management programs designed specifically for digital talent. The exception is India, where 38 percent of organisations have such programs; after that comes Malaysia with 14 percent.
Mirka Kowalczuk, Vice President, Client Success and Delivery Services, Korn Ferry Asia-Pacific, said that companies need to support their external recruitment efforts with internal actions.
She suggested: “Companies can start with building programs for current digital talents, which will help to instil a continuous learning culture to help their workforce stay relevant and enhance their employee value proposition that attracts and helps retain digital talents. More importantly, they will need to go beyond and ask themselves critical questions such as—how will jobs evolve? What new skills will be required? Who (regardless of the current role) can be trained with new skills?
“From these insights, an effective talent management program will evolve to focus not only on current talents and high potential performers, but also become more strategic—by looking at future needs with a long-term vision.”