IT firms are looking for more added value from recruiters and candidates alike. And the need to recruit masters of several trades rather than just one is lengthening the recruitment process and causing employers to emphasise education in delivering the next generation of talent.
“With organisations coming out of the recession, there are still budget and headcount restraints, as well as market and outsourcing consolidations, mergers and acquisitions. In our sector, mobile-specific skills can be in short supply,” says Debbie Cole, Technology Recruitment Manager at T-Mobile.
Meanwhile, employers are being more specific in the skills they require, Scott Simons, Director of Global Recruitment Services at Networkers International, said. “Whereas a few months ago they wanted one of four skillsets, they now want four of four skillsets. The interview process has got more rigourous as well having more stages.”
Sej Butler, European Recruitment Manager at IBM, says the IT solutions provider’s priority is to bring the right mix of skills into growing areas. “A particular hot skill for IBM right now is in business analytics and optimisation. The world is becoming more integrated, more interconnected and more intelligent.”
For Nick Cole, Head of Resourcing, Orange UK, the focus is on making sure the mobile communications provider has the right people in the proposition development and sales fields. “Our key demand areas are within project management and testing (both IT and networks). In terms of most highly prized skills, proposition development is essential to ensuring Orange has the ability to innovate faster than the competition and anticipate future market demand”, he says.
The speed with which technology moves is reflected in the changing requirement of firms operating in the sector. Martin Thomas, Head of Recruitment at BT, said: “Keeping up with the pace of change continues to be a challenge ; some of our key challenges are in recruitment for new technologies such as cloud computing and services to support digital television.”
And IBM’s Butler says UK colleges and universities must ensure that graduates get the skills the sector needs. “The industry needs the right sort of people coming out of our academic institutions with the right competencies in addition to the technology skills. Education curriculum need to be revisited to engage more students into IT.”
But Linda Kennedy, Vice-President of People at Orange UK says, universities and colleges face their own challenges in keeping up with the sector’s needs, as education programmes can be outdated by the time a candidate comes to the market.
For NES, the solution has been to develop its own IT training division, says Keith Butler, Managing Director at NES IT. “We are working with one client within the financial sector to train 10 graduates over 12 months in both business and IT skills, and the appeal of combined training and recruitment solutions is expected to grow.”
Ultimately, says Kennedy, the sector’s future depends on training the next generation of IT talent. “Government programmes such as Young Britain, which focus on training and developing skills at an early age and providing youngsters with qualifications where they may otherwise not be in a position to attain them, will help.”