Recruiting for digital transformation: 5 steps to fill skills gaps

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Whether a business analyst, data scientist or solutions architect; digital business has created demand for numerous new roles.  However, companies face a tight labour market, and this can compromise their plans if they struggle with recruiting for digital transformation.

According to a 2023 survey by Gallup and Amazon Web Services, 68% of UK businesses have struggled to recruit the digital workers they need. 45% of the respondents attributed this to a shortage of qualified candidates.

But with a balanced and pro-active approach, companies can plan ahead to fill future skills gaps when recruiting for digital transformation. Our experts explain how below.

Audit existing skills before recruiting for digital transformation

Personnel development should be considered from the very beginning of a digitisation strategy. Audit skills to determine current - and future - gaps that will be created as part of digital transformation, for instance from the introduction of new systems and processes.

Approach training strategically

Once you’ve identified skills and competencies you'll need, you can assess whether it is possible to upskill existing team members with additional training; or whether the gap can only be filled with additional heads. It’s always valuable to include training in your strategy as digital changes quickly, and so additional skills requirements will be an ongoing issue.

The first ecommerce managers in retail organsiations often came from marketing, IT or merchandising positions and trained on the job as they already understood retail processes well. Employees who already know the company well can be extremely valuable, for instance as they understand existing processes, data sources etc. With a training offer aimed at making employees fit for digitally transformed operations, companies benefit from both company-specific experience and digital competencies.

Reap the benefits of automation

Companies should also investigate whether technologies can replace or reduce the requirement for technical skills. Automation, including using AI, could permanently replace certain skills requirements, for example for standardised processes such as reporting.

Investing in such technologies can not only be more cost-effective in the long term, it also reduces your recruitment headaches.

Eliminating simple activities allows companies to focus their job profiles more on driving innovation. Such positions are more attractive to highly qualified applicants, which creates better conditions for companies in the competition for talent.

Outsource work to close short-term digital skills gaps

Digital transformation regularly creates temporary personnel requirements, particularly for highly technical skills during systems adoptions and roll-outs. Finding people willing to work on temporary contracts or a freelance basis is not always possible, and flexibility also comes at a cost.
This is the time to consider external service providers, who can often provide resources at short notice, for small amounts of time per week, and also provide a blend of skills as project requirements change and progress.

Inviqa’s clients will often engage us as experts to help them use new systems, but then retain us for the longer term on a Business-As-Usual (BAU) contract. We can provide flexible resources to support their systems; charged for on a time-and-materials basis so they only pay when they need our skillsets.

It’s also possible to use external resource tactically while you recruit to permanently fill gaps.

Align recruitment strategy with skills needs

Finally, once you’ve considered the previous four stages to close your digital skills gaps you can assess the roles you need to fill the rest based on the audit conducted in phase one.  On this basis, you can plan to create and recruit for new permanent and attractive positions that combine the skills still required.

It’s unlikely that any one of training, recruiting or engaging third-party support alone will be enough to fill all of the gaps. However, with this mix of different measures, companies can better deal with changes in the labour market and de-risk the execution of their digital transformation plans.

Want to know more? We are happy to help. If you need technical support with your digital platforms or advice on digital transformation we can help. Our experts use a proven assessment tool to check the digital maturity of your company and help you to develop a personnel strategy that will support your digital roadmap or transformation plans.  Contact us now to discuss your challenges.