iTWire recently reported on this high demand and lack of supply issue and it was clear that more jobs are being created in IT data security than any other IT field.
iTWire interviewed Sudeep Dharan, chief technology officer for Acendre.
He has a view that it all comes down to two things.
First, longer-term workforce planning to anticipate needs then find the best staff and second, to engage and develop those you already have – there may be some hidden gems there.
Q. How can organisations with growing tech teams needs plan ahead to attract and retain the best talent?
Looking at modern job trends, average tenures are lower, preference for flexible work is higher, and businesses are struggling to accommodate. Organisations need to proactively adopt workforce planning -not recruit to fill available jobs.
The war on tech talent in Australia is extremely competitive, with an increasing number of organisations looking offshore to fill critical skill gaps. Attracting the best tech talent requires significant effort and resources, and the approach needs to be targeted. Even the best recruitment efforts can fall flat if an effective onboarding strategy isn’t there to support it.
In short, you always need to be looking for the right talent and grab them when you find them – it is a buyers’ market.
Q. Once talent is acquired how do you keep them?
The keys are adequate training and development – these need to be in place to improve employee satisfaction and ensure they are retained for as long as possible.
It is important for organisations to approach training as a continuous process and ongoing investment. As technology evolves, so must the skills of the tech teams. Millennials will not stay if there training is stagnant.
Supporting and sponsoring training events not only proves to staff their employers are actively invested in their professional development, but also serves to benefit and protect the organisation. It ensures staff have the adequate skills necessary to tackle organisational challenges.
Q. In the “old days” people wanted to work for a certain company. Is that still true?
These days’ people work for a company that excites, challenges and rewards them – not necessarily the oldest, largest, apparently most desirable, etc. In fact, often high-risk start-ups are highly valued for the fast pace.
Conversely, organisations inherently desire employees who are aligned with their strategic plans. But this cannot be achieved without sufficient engagement with organisational missions, values, and visions.
It is critical that onboarding programs clearly iterate company values and take employees that want to work for them.
Then you have to work hard create employee satisfaction, regularly promote and check-in on that through processes and activities like reviews, team-building days, and flexible working conditions. It helps to ensure that the staff tasked with driving performance for the organisation are the right cultural fit moving forward.
Q. What are some of the challenges businesses face when hiring local IT talent, and what can be done to overcome this?
Australia suffers from a severe cyber security skills shortage, significantly higher than other countries, such as Mexico, Japan and Israel. Even with the enticement of higher wages, it is difficult to acquire local talent when there’s a vacuum of skills left to be filled.
The shortage is not only a burden on other employees and their workload, but it is also jeopardising the security of their data. The Australian government's recent $1.9 million pledge to universities to combat the shortage is a welcome start. But it doesn’t exactly solve the persisting and prevalent crisis that exists right now – today!
Some have suggested taking advantage of US President Trump’s immigration ban to poach cyber experts. Whilst this approach may seem drastic, it does bring to light an important opportunity for businesses.
Offering visa support and accommodating for contractor-based team structures are great initiatives organisations should be considering when looking abroad for talent. With similar shortages being felt in the UK and Canada, it’s important for Australia to remain competitive in their recruitment approach, with the active support of the government.