As we stand on the brink of embracing a revitalised ‘normal’ after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the gap between the supply and demand of technology (‘tech’) workers has never been wider. The world is experiencing a global shortage of tech talent, including in the UK - and the ‘war’ to find and retain these sought-after professionals is on.
This is according to Brendon Boyce, CEO and founder of Sharesource, who clarifies: “Global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company first coined the term ‘the war for talent’ in 1997, after carrying out the original study; and in 2001, the authors of the study followed it up with a book of the same name. At the time, McKinsey was referring largely to senior management roles, but today we can apply this phrase – ‘the war for talent’ - to the quest to attract and retain employees, especially senior, in the technology space.”
Sharesource is an entrepreneurial company that operates globally and exists to equalise opportunities for tech talent in developing countries.
“We build remote teams for tech companies and our goal or ‘why?’ is to equalise opportunities for tech graduates in developing countries, by matching them with tech businesses in Australia, the US and the UK which are making a disruptive social or environmental impact in the world,” explains Boyce.
Janette Chester, UK Business Development Manager at Sharesource, notes: “As the Sharesource UK representative, working with local companies, I have seen an explosion of hiring opportunities opening up in recent months, and it certainly appears that there is a shortage of talent in the tech space in the UK.
From my research and experience, it seems that 70 to 80 per cent of UK tech leaders are struggling to find top talent. In addition, many tech leaders report that hiring is taking a long time. It is not always easy to find the calibre of candidate you are looking for - it certainly seems that the market is candidate-driven at the moment.”
Boyce corroborates this: “I recently attended an excellent course at the London Business School which hosted a number of international entrepreneurs,” he explains.
“The delegates came from 31 countries across the globe: including, but not limited to, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Columbia, Canada, Australia, Israel, South Africa, Lebanon, Singapore, Denmark and Switzerland. The topic of tech talent shortages was discussed frequently, allowing me to appreciate that it certainly is a global issue and not only one experienced in the UK. In all the conversations, it was very clear that, at all levels in the technology space, we are experiencing a tight market, and that the gap between supply and demand is real: in the UK but also, all over the world.”
Chester points out that, in the face of this global tech talent shortage, there is a strong argument for offering remote talent management to solve the issue. She adds that, while many companies adopted the so-called ‘hybrid’ or fully remote working model only during the onset of the pandemic, Sharesource had already built up significant experience in more than one country.
She explains: “In this new paradigm of remote working, I would pose the question: What does ‘remote’ actually mean today? When a UK business has team members working in the office and some at home, in the same town or country, they are all part of the same team. Similarly, some of our Sharesource employees work in countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam for companies in Australia, and yet they are all part of the same organisation.
I would therefore like to propose that the term ‘remote’ should not distinguish between workers in the same town and/or country, and those working in a completely different country if at the end of the day they are all working for the same company, and for the same goals. I have also noted that with different companies competing for the same tech talent, the issue of the hybrid / remote working model remains an emotive and hotly-debated topic. Notwithstanding, many tech candidates appear to prefer remote working.”
“Certainly, jobs that involve intellectual capital can very easily accommodate remote working. In essence, Sharesource has helped to take the term ‘remote working’ and widen the geographical parameters of the conversation,” agrees Boyce.
“At Sharesource, we have been involved in remote talent management for almost a decade now, so the requirements during the onset of the pandemic were not anything new to us: we believe we were most definitely ‘ahead of the curve’ here. The bottom line for me is that companies should not have to suffer a shortage of tech talent if they can adapt their mindset to one which includes remote talent, casting their ‘talent net’ more widely and leveraging the resulting opportunities.”
Chester endorses this, adding: “Leveraging a global mindset and talent pool to help alleviate the shortage in the tech space is a viable solution today. Sharesource offers access to candidates who are equal to their colleagues in the UK in terms of skills, competencies and experience – technically and in terms of language and communication.”
“On the issue of talent remuneration,” adds Boyce, “it should be noted that the hiring of these prized tech skills is deemed by some to be expensive. My 20 years of experience in talent management globally, as well as current tech employment trends, reflect that employers must not only pay competitively but also provide other compelling reasons to attract people to come and work with them.”
Also from experience, Boyce points out that companies that win in the talent war are those that have a global mindset.
“Sharesource enables this mindset because our international tech team allows us to tap into a global - rather than a local - talent pool. We are furthermore aware that in today’s high-turnover job market, investing in your employees is the best way to set up your team for success and keep retention rates high. We do just this: we invest in our employees, offering them market-related remuneration, and just as important, enabling them to grow and maximise their potential.
A strong affirmation of the value added by a remote Sharesource team based in the Philippines comes from client Cardihab, a digital health platform for cardiologists and cardiac teams caring for patients after they have had a cardiac event.
"Sharesource has been an incredibly important part of our team,” says Helen Souris, Cardihab CEO. “Their skillset, their knowledge about the software and the development processes that they bring to the day-to-day activities is really quite important, to make sure our product meets both our customers' expectations but also regulatory requirements. Furthermore, one of the key assets of dealing with Sharesource is the broader team support, management and leadership provided to their team members whom we work with,” Souris states.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Cardihab,” notes Boyce. “It is a company that is quite literally involved in helping to safeguard people’s lives, using medical software - and moreover, proving the power of remote working. This is a truly ground-breaking, innovative concept on so many levels.
At Sharesource, we are truly proud that, in addition to assisting with providing solutions to the tech talent crisis, our model creates a positive impact on society by equalising opportunities in the countries where our employees are based,” he concludes.