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The right skill for the right job: How enterprises can ace digital skills recruitment

The pace of innovation and the deployment of new enterprise technologies mean that the hiring needs of businesses are constantly changing. If they want to capitalise on new, cutting-edge tech solutions, they need the knowledge and technical capabilities to deploy, optimise, and maintain them. And in the face of a shortage of critical skills in South Africa and across the world, businesses need to get smart about how they search for and secure skills.
The right skill for the right job: How enterprises can ace digital skills recruitment

Effective recruitment begins by understanding the critical skills landscape. Enterprises need to take a proactive approach and rethink how they recruit new talent in networking, security, and 4IR technologies, and how they can contribute to creating new education and employment opportunities.

IT jobs are en vogue

According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.6tn in 2023, an increase of 5.1% from 2022. Digital business initiatives are fuelling this growth as leaders turn their attention to the digital economy and how they can participate in it. But participation is a non-starter if businesses are not technologically strong, something that requires the right skills. Therefore, talent acquisition needs to be a priority.

Specialisation is also an important factor to consider. A company cannot digitally transform, or even function properly, with just one IT person handling everything. For example, cloud computing is one of this year’s biggest business and IT trends, and the mark of an innovation-driven enterprise. Because of that, many businesses are building teams of software engineers and cloud architects to create custom software and products.

Confronting the skills shortage head-on

South Africa faces a shortage of critical skills, with the pressure felt most in sectors like IT and finance. Expensive tertiary education and low salaries mean that recruiters and HR departments struggle to find the talent and expertise they need. In the case of IT, we lack professionals in fields such as software development, technical and business architecture, and data analysis and warehousing.

In response, employers are shifting gears, placing more value on technical certifications and experience with new technologies than on traditional, tertiary qualifications, though the latter is still valuable. Now is the time for the public and private sectors to invest in digital skills training. But inclusivity must also be prioritised when it comes to hiring processes. A multitude and diverse collection of minds, viewpoints, and backgrounds are the ingredients of a dynamic and innovative working environment. The real potential for this lies with the current generation of young professionals, which is why digital acceleration and upskilling programmes are so important to close the skills gap and empower everyone to participate in a globally connected, digital economy.

Enterprises also need to consider how their working environments and conditions can affect talent recruitment and retention. Today’s professionals are inclined to workplaces and employers that take their overall wellbeing into account, by offering incentives such as flexible work schedules, and promoting cultures of respect and collaboration. Many professionals seek roles that give them the space to grow and take on more responsibilities, which is where multinational and digitally transformed companies have the edge. But regardless of whether you’re an SME just starting or a leader in your industry, you stand to benefit from a targeted approach to hiring and clear skill acquisition goals.

Optimising your recruitment strategy

To attract professionals with expertise in a specific IT field, organisations need to refine their recruitment processes. Some steps to consider include streamlining the process, improving job advertisements, identifying passive candidates, and even considering and then onboarding internal ones. Who knows, the talent call may be coming from inside the house.

Organisations can take their recruitment strategies a step further by using virtual technology to connect with graduates and professionals. Platforms such as the Cisco Talent Bridge Matching Engine are designed to match the needs of employers with the talent that’s available and eager to start working. This makes it easy for recruiters to identify candidates, and gives candidates access to job openings that mirror their skill set and expertise.

This is applicable across the IT sector, regardless of whether you’re looking for someone proficient in cloud technologies, networking, or security. And remember, businesses that accommodate remote workers and embrace hybrid work models are better positioned to source talent from around the world. Hybrid work models help with talent retention, as surveys have shown employees are less likely to look for new roles.

With all this in mind, enterprises can meet their IT and networking needs with a recruitment strategy that works for them. Thanks to an evolving digital skills landscape brimming with potential, businesses can make great strides in both creating opportunities for young professionals and jumpstarting their own digital transformation journeys.

17 May 2023 13:18


About the author

Hani Raad is managing director for Sub Saharan Africa at Cisco