How to Find Tech Talent in a Shortage

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MapRecruiters in the IT space are feeling the strain of a skills-based talent shortage. More and more IT professionals with specialized skills are needed, and there’s not enough talent to go around.

Although tech talent may be hard to find, recruiting the best is possible by leveraging the power of big data and analytics. Predictive analytics use statistics, data, and algorithms to determine future outcomes and plan for workforce needs in a changing industry. They’re powerful, yet underused tools.

In a survey of 480 large companies published by Bersin by Deloitte in September 2013, only 4 percent of the surveyed companies had the capability to perform predictive analytics on their workforces, and just 14 percent had performed significant talent analytics at all. Among the small percentage of companies that do use analytics, more than 60 percent don’t know how to use the data to make effective recruiting and HR decisions.

Adopting data-driven strategies won’t happen overnight, and it will require some adjustments, but doing so can boost your IT recruiting game.

Here are just a few of the many ways to use analytics to beat the talent shortage:

1. Assess Needs

The fast-paced nature of the tech industry is one of the most significant factors driving the talent shortage. Old technology advances quickly, new technology emerges, and certain concepts, ideas, and trends take off. You might only need a few team members for one project today, but you may find yourself needing many more hands in the future as the project grows.

Predictive analytics can help foresee changes in talent needs, giving you time to shift your focus when recruiting before there is a critical need for certain IT skills. Data can indicate which segments will grow and require more talent, and, based on past patterns, can help determine when employees will leave and gaps will need to be filled. Analytics can even identify signs that indicate new hires will jump after a short period of time with the company.

Using analytics can help you prepare and avoid these workforce changes and challenges before they become serious problems.

2. Switch Up the Process

Analytics can help turn the traditional recruiting model on its head. Instead of looking for in-demand talent when you have open positions, imagine if you hired these skilled professionals based on their availability in the market.

Using the insights gained from analytics that predict your employer’s specific future workforce needs, you can identify which skills and talent will be most needed. Then, you can analyze the overall patterns for those specific skills to help predict when the talent will be abundant or in short supply.

Don’t wait until you absolutely need that talent — by that point, it could be too late. Hire the talent you will need most when they are in the job market. You will hire some employees before you have open positions, but bringing talent onboard before a shortage could save time and money in the long run.

3. Find Hidden Talent

If you’ve exhausted your local talent pool, analytics can help. The data can help to identify emerging talent markets, clusters of qualified job seekers, and areas with few IT opportunities to help you better target the professionals for whom you’re looking.

Other methods can help discover professionals who possess the niche skills you need, despite their location. Recruitment tool JobsTheWord, for example, creates algorithms for the perfect candidate, and then finds professionals who fit those algorithms by utilizing big data. The company also offers a free tool called MapUp, which shows talent supply data in the form of a heat map.

Using these strategies, you can locate skilled professionals wherever they are.

4. Know the Competition

Analytics can also give you an inside scoop on your competition. The data can help determine when they will be looking for talent with certain IT skills, so you can prepare for increases or decreases in competition.

Using the data, you can also predict turnover from your top competitors, allowing you to be ready when skilled professionals enter the job market.

How else are analytics helping recruiters fill advanced IT roles?

By Tim Cannon