Covid-19 is a crisis of a nature and scale that employers have never had to face before and they are having to adapt quickly to deliver an effective and human response. Post-Covid, the challenges facing companies show no sign of letting up; if anything, they will intensify as the UK emerges from lockdown.

Proxime has developed a practical IT Recruitment Response Framework to help employers navigate the ‘next normal’ and plan ahead. Please share with anyone you feel would find this helpful.

The speed and scope of the crisis continues to pose extraordinary IT recruitment challenges for leaders in today’s corporate businesses. Right now, we are seeing a marked polarisation and disconnect between companies’ expectations and the reality of what is happening in the market, resulting in critical roles remaining unfilled.

A recent report by the BBC, ‘UK sees spike in IT job advertisements as lockdown eases’1 , has highlighted that the number of active job postings in the UK topped a million in just one week, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). The article goes on to state that: “Large tech firms IBM and SAP previously predicted that by 2020, there would be one million unfilled jobs in the IT sector, because people aren’t being trained with the skills to take on these jobs.”

McKinsey has also highlighted the need for organisations to build employee skills critical to their new business models: “To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now”2.

In another BBC report, ‘World faces staggering jobs challenge, says Microsoft president’3 , Brad Smith commented that there are “a quarter of a billion people set to lose their job this year.”

These issues have been compounded by a deluge of applications from job seekers from the hardest hit sectors, such as travel, hospitality, retail and engineering, who are casting their net more widely than the norm, but lack the necessary skills to be credible candidates.

A large proportion of employees currently furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme could be back at work by September and regrettably others will face redundancy. In the meantime, non-furloughed IT employees face burnout as they work ‘crazy hours’ to get through their increasing workloads.

All the while, the cohort of experienced candidates who are currently employed are reluctant to move. Some have been offered a share of the job retention bonus to incentivise them to stay until January (positive retention). Others are nervous about joining a new employer due to the potential risk of becoming furloughed in the event of a further lockdown (negative retention).

The list of challenges facing companies today is seemingly endless. Covid-19 has accelerated the trend for digitisation, compressing delivery timescales for IT projects. Workflow is stalling due to remote working. Furthermore, interviewing candidates and recruitment decisions have become more complex and fragmented as a result of multiple decision makers operating from distributed locations.

It’s time for employers to take control

With the current VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) business environment, the desire to create greater certainty sits right at the forefront of every board agenda, every client relationship and every employer’s mind. To achieve this, companies must remain agile, with the ability to traverse a number of vectors simultaneously.

Recruitment strategies to help you navigate the challenges of Covid-19

At Proxime, we understand what employers are going through: the challenges; the pain points and the opportunities to pivot their approach to IT recruitment. That’s why we have produced a practical 6-step IT Recruitment Response Framework to assist employers in navigating the post-pandemic era.

IT Recruitment Response Framework

  1. Plan – Don’t leave change to chance. Recruitment is a strategic activity, not merely tactical. Create a new recruitment plan for a new landscape, detailing the skills and timelines that will drive value creation in line with your company’s revised business models and future needs. Make sure you have a Plan B if you can’t recruit the ideal candidate, setting out alternative skill sets and incentives.
  2. Process – Put the recruitment critical path right at the centre of your transformation planning and create a structured approach to your recruitment process. Ensure that all key decision makers are on-side from the start. Involve line managers so that they can see the importance of recruitment in the context of the wider business. Build diversity and inclusivity into your recruitment process.
  3. Personal – See the world through your candidates’ eyes. Your employees and candidates will remember what you do and say long into the future. Communicate with authenticity, care and empathy. Protect your company’s reputation.
  4. Package – This is not a buyer’s market. Make each role compelling, regardless of the level or nature of the post, in order to secure the best applicants from a shrinking talent pool – especially when they are currently employed. Remember that candidates have other options, so be sure to highlight exciting future projects on the horizon as well as valuable opportunities to train and upskill.
  5. Performance – Set new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Basic outputs such as time and attendance simply don’t cut it in the current environment. Create a dashboard of meaningful metrics, comprising leading (not just lagging) indicators, such as qualified applicants, back up talent ratios and training.
  6. Partner – Talk to a specialist IT recruitment partner that is familiar with the nuances of the current commercial and IT environment; one that will invest the time to fully understand your particular business needs and job roles and can resolve and resource your project requirements at pace.

Results not résumés

This is not the time for employers to throw their budgets at job boards to see what sticks, only to have to scour through the CVs of countless unsuitable candidates. Your time is valuable and you need results not just résumés. It takes an experienced and dedicated team to deliver the right placements – and a proven approach.

Explore. Engage. Evaluate.

In today’s challenging times, confidence comes through adhering to a proven process. At Proxime, we have evolved a three-stage recruitment process whereby we explore, engage and evaluate to meet your specific business needs. Click here to view our approach.

Let’s start a conversation

We know from past crises that companies must act quickly to build up critical IT workforce capabilities. Talk to us about your most pressing challenges. We’re here to help – and to add real value to your recruitment process. Teams are built in the mind before they are committed to paper so we invite you to discuss your thoughts with us at an early stage. Then, let us put our IT recruitment experience to your advantage, so we can help you minimise your recruitment risks and maximise your opportunities. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Call our specialist support team on +44 (0) 1932 856333 or email us at support@proximesearch.com.

Watch this space for the National IT Recruitment Survey

The roles played by employers and recruiters will prove critical as the UK economy transitions from lockdown. In September, we will invite the UK’s most influential companies to participate in an important National IT Recruitment Survey, in order to understand employers’ attitudes, perceptions and expectations as they emerge from the crisis. All participants will receive a full copy of the research findings in an exclusive independent report.

Citations

1 Russon, M.-A. and Haigh, J. (2020). UK sees spike in IT job ads as lockdown eases. BBC News. 17.07.20. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53438262

2 To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now. (2020). McKinsey & Company. 07.05.20. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/to-emerge-stronger-from-thecovid-19-crisis-companies-should-start-reskilling-their-workforces-now

3 Jack, S. (2020). World facing “staggering jobs challenge.” BBC News. 18.07.20. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business53444823