Everything you need to know about building a future-proof workforce
10 Jan 2023
Tackling the technology talent shortage means embracing flexible working, diverse teams and focusing on well-being.
The technology talent shortage has reached a critical point. The shortage is not only affecting smaller firms, but even major tech companies are struggling to find the talent they need. It is clear that this is an industry-wide issue that needs to be addressed. A vital solution is to create a future-proof workforce.
A business that wants to future-proof its workforce must accommodate modern flexible working practices, hire a diverse team, and take employee well-being seriously. This will help to address the talent shortage, as we will discuss in our article Finding The Best Global Talent next week, and it will make the business more agile.
A flexible workforce means that businesses can scale up or down rapidly and reduce their fixed overheads. This is especially important in today's uncertain economic climate, where businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Flexible and remote working
In order to create a future-proof workforce, it is essential for businesses to understand what talent wants and how to work with them. The trend towards freelance work is growing, with the size of the freelance workforce in the US tripling between 2014 and 2017. IT workers in particular are more likely to leave their jobs, with a 10% lower intent to stay in their current roles compared to non-IT employees, according to recent research. This may be due to a desire for greater flexibility, feeling under-valued by the company, or seeking more challenging work.
By understanding the needs and motivations of their employees, businesses can create a more attractive work environment. Overwhelmingly, people say that working remotely at least some of the time makes them more productive, according to Gartner. Remote work also makes them happier and leads to better mental health. Unsurprisingly, 40% of employees said they would quit if their employer insisted on fully on-site working.
To attract and retain the necessary IT talent, Gartner recommends that CIOs embrace remote and flexible working, provide opportunities for continuous learning and development, and create a positive culture and employee experience. By doing so, businesses can build a future-proof workforce that is equipped to handle the challenges of the rapidly changing technology landscape.
Tackling diversity and well-being
Diversity is also important in creating a future-proof workforce. Women make up 49% of the workforce in the UK, but only 19% of tech workers. Similarly, African Americans make up 4.9% of tech workers in the US, compared to 13% of the overall population. Businesses can benefit from the different experiences and perspectives that underrepresented groups bring, and that is true not only for gender and racial diversity, but also for sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and social class.
Even skillset diversity can be beneficial. IT developers, for example, are stereotypically considered to lack skills in explaining technical issues to non-specialists. If that is a problem, then adding a communications specialist to the team might help. Diverse teams can help challenge default assumptions and find new approaches to problem solving, while bringing the added benefit of creating a more positive culture and employee experience, which can help to retain top talent.
In addition to embracing diversity, it is also important for businesses to focus on the well-being of their employees. Research has shown that up to 83% of developers have experienced burnout, with 81% reporting that the situation has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. By prioritising the well-being of their employees, businesses can create a more positive and productive work environment.
Adding Elastic Teams
Even so, many developers are seeking a freelance life not because their employer did not treat them well but simply because few workplaces have the constant stream of high-quality, meaningful work that they are seeking. Research has shown that developers feel more productive when their work puts quality ahead of quantity.
That’s why many of the most talented developers are joining Elastic Teams. These are groups of developers who are vetted, tested and managed by the Elastic Team supplier. We wrote about the concept in our previous article, Working With Elastic Teams, but suffice to say they can be made available on a project basis to handle complex tasks.
And this could be the final piece of the future-proof workforce puzzle. With talent harder to recruit than ever, companies can deploy elastic teams to fill the gaps. That means they can concentrate on keeping their permanent staff happy and engaged, while still having skilled help to call in when specialised talent is needed.
In today's competitive talent market, it is more important than ever for businesses to focus on creating a workforce that is agile, diverse, and equipped for the challenges of the future.
If you're interested in finding out more about working with Elastic Teams, get in touch today.