Written by:
Alex Liggatt

Post-COVID IT job market brings familiar challenges

The work-from-home trend – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – has blown the jobs market wide open with opportunities to source more candidates from around the globe. But, even so, some jobs remain tough to fill.

I’ve just been reading some facts and figures from the 2021 State of the CIO survey which makes for interesting reading.

Despite an increasing talent pool, the 812 IT leaders who responded to the survey reported that they are still finding it difficult to acquire skills in cybersecurity (21%), AI/machine learning (20%), data science/analytics (19%) and DevOps, DevSecOps and agile (12%).

In terms of bringing cybersecurity specialists into the business, they reported that they struggle to find the right candidates in the first place, and then battle to convince the C-suite that cybersecurity is a valuable investment.

While increasing cybersecurity protections was one of the three main business drivers for IT budgets this year – alongside transforming existing business processes and improving customer experience – incredibly, boards are still not convinced it should be a priority.

Alex Kraus, vice president of consultancy Metis Strategy was quoted as saying “there’s often not a positive ROI on security investments” in general, unless “you have prominent data breaches that rattle boards and C-level executives” to help convince them that improving cybersecurity is essential.

Out-of-the-box hiring

Employers are beginning to think outside the box in order to attract top talent – sponsoring university courses, building stronger employer brands and attending local tech events, among other activities.

These firms are beginning to reap the rewards, but Jo Abernathy, CIO of healthcare insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield says that you do need to be wary of making too many younger hires.

“You don’t want every employee in these disciplines to have virtually no real-world experience, so it’s not a silver bullet,” she said.

Kraus’ top suggestion for finding the right candidates for hard-to-fill roles is “rigorous prioritisation” and to focus on the areas that are most important for your business in the next year.

That seems to be a good place to wrap up this blog – to think about what hires will help you achieve your key business objectives in the next 12 months.

If you’re struggling to find candidates in the data science space right now, just like the respondents in the survey, get in touch with jbradley@revoco-talent.co.uk in our dedicated data division to see how we can help.



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