Identikit Of Digital Talents: How To Identify And Develop Skills
44% of people in former technology roles transitioned from non-IT occupations. To reinvent his career, he had to learn to master a more comprehensive set of new skills, but the rewards came in terms of mobility and income. This means that the potential can outweigh the lack of specific experience. By embracing this philosophy, recruiters can build new approaches to overcome the digital skill gap.
And who knows if Steve Jobs urged young people to be curious and courageous by overcoming the mold with his famous quote, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” he could never have imagined that this appeal, a few years later, would also be perfectly suited to those on the other side of the fence: the recruiters.
Those involved in Human Resources today know well how much “hunger” for digital skills exists in the labor market. Therefore, a new action strategy is needed, an original approach that allows overcoming the skill gap by creating teams of digital talents ready to embrace corporate objectives, which must be led on innovation tracks.
Potential Vs Experience
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, the widespread use of advanced technologies could make 85 million unsuitable jobs disappear and, at the same time, create 97 million jobs adapted to the new context. While giant steps have been taken in the digitization process since the pandemic outbreak, closing the digital skills gap will still take time.
Just think that, according to what was detected by DESI 2022, only 54% of Indians aged between 16 and 74 possess at least basic digital skills and, with around 9 million IT specialists registered in the EU in 2021 (0.8 in India), we are still a long way from reaching the goal of 20 million specialized operators by 2030 needed to respond to business needs.
But if the experience is lacking, one can focus on potential, considering that technology is undergoing such a rapid evolution that technical skills acquired just a few years ago could already be obsolete to govern today’s information systems. LeLet’shink about Artificial Intelligence algorithms that, day after day, develop new and increasingly complex functions.
And it is this potential that HR experts need to look to know if they seek to engage the most valuable digital talent. Analysts at the McKinsey Global Institute are convinced of this and argue that, instead of obsessing over finding the perfect candidate who faithfully meets all the job poposition’sequirements, focusing on potential could be easier for recruiters.
This, of course, does not mean welcoming everyone but, starting from the assumption that technical skills can be learned, giving more weight to transversal skills or” “ft skills,” “such as the ability to solve problems, the predisposition to change, the analytical mentality, being multitasking, to give more space to candidates with more significant growth potential.
McKinsey awareness, of course, starts with knowledge of numbers. A recent study released by the institute shows that people can acquire new skills and that unconventional hiring in the tech sector is not so atypical. With 87% of senior executives globally rating their companies as unready to address the digital skill gap (even before the pandemic drove millions to remote work and eCommerce), it is well understood that a change of mentality in recruiting digital talent, which values potential rather than experience, could be the right way forward.
More Courage In Hiring
While data shows that digital talent can come from a wide range of backgrounds, some employers remain cautious when hiring. Given the sheer speed of technological advances and the fact that tech operators are more mobile, caution can be counterproductive, McKinsey experts argue. As technical skills can be taught, it makes sense to look for the type of mindset and relevant soft skills the role requires.
Digital tools, including options that include gamification methods for pre-employment testing, can help with these types of assessments. Removing the stringent requirements of a college degree can also be an advantage. In the dataset analyzed, significant shares of workers who transitioned into technology occupations did not have college degrees. This is true for 10% of Network Technicians, 15% of IT Security Analysts, 21% of Network Administrators, 24% of IT Support Specialists, and 26% of IT Maintenance Workers.
The Power Of Training
Given the mobility of tech professionals, employers need to build a value proposition to retain them, and the opportunity to learn is one of the most critical components. Learning must be permanent (lifelong learning). Because acquiring digital skills is an ongoing process, it can take the form of structured face-to-face courses for specific groups of employees or digital content modules that employees can access on their own. Opening the field to all employees, especially people who want to reinvent themselves, is an intelligent tactic to activate digital talent and stay ahead of the curve.