It is time to tackle the Telecoms Talent Gap - here’s how
Competition for the best tech talent has always been hot but with the pandemic causing big career shifts for many, it’s never been harder or more expensive to find and retain top talent.
With the gap between supply and demand intensifying this digital talent gap is especially painful for telecoms. The sector has always struggled to compete when attracting new talent, with big tech firms offering much higher salaries or a purpose driven mission, or both.
This difficulty in attracting new talent has been compounded by one of the biggest economic knock-on effects of the pandemic: people quitting in their droves. Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, thousands are leaving their jobs, many without plans to return. In fact, a recent report from McKinsey showed that 88 per cent of digital talent switching jobs will leave the telecoms sector altogether.
Against this backdrop, ‘wait and see’ is not a good talent strategy. Now, more than ever, it’s time to reinvigorate your employee proposition and become as attractive as possible to candidates. How to do this is far from simple, but there are key areas that telecom companies should focus on.
Transform the way you work
Digital transformation is moving at pace across almost all industries. Our recent research project, The Telecoms Renaissance, revealed that digital transformation is a top priority for telecoms businesses over the next three years. Virtually all of the 200 telecom executives surveyed (97%) planned to make immediate investments to their back-end infrastructure within the next 12 months. On average, £16 million will be spent on new technologies and introducing new services for customers.
Whilst the industry is focussed on developing new services and competing for new customers, what are they doing to transform their ability to compete for talent?
Competing for talent isn’t just about filling roles, it’s key to financial success. Analysts have pointed to the transformation of people and talent strategies as having the biggest impact on overall business performance. With that in mind, telecoms businesses need to look at how they’re hiring talent, retaining good people and delivering training and development opportunities.
But it’s not just about transforming the processes underpinning talent sourcing, it’s also important to take another look at how you’re positioning your business to potential employees.
Create a culture of innovation
Only a handful of tech businesses can pay over the market average for talent. So in a market where some salaries are impossible to beat, the focus must be on offerings that are not as easy for other companies to copy.
Culture is one of those offerings.
Let’s be clear though, culture is not only about Friday drinks and foosball tables in the common room. Culture is like the DNA of a business. It runs through everything that you do and it determines the likelihood of growth, success and future organisational health. It’s about how the work is done, how people collaborate and the way in which new opportunities are identified and acted on.
Traditional telecoms organisations have been plagued with legacy thinking that has limited innovation - both in terms of new product and service development and in the way people work. Flexibility and agility needs to be taken seriously. This includes rapid decision making and project management being applied to all departments. For Telness Tech that means having a 24 hour feedback rule, the right tools (like Asana for project management, Kahoot for quizzes and Slack for collaboration) and a PBX service to ensure our clients can reach the right people when they have the time to chat.
Without the right processes, creativity will be stifled and new possibilities won't be explored.
Getting culture right is vital for retention but it’s just as appealing for new talent who’ll be attracted by a positive and flexible working environment.
Look to other sectors for new potential
Tech talent can be found in any sector and in any country but are you really exploring these options?
Throughout history many companies have been reluctant to offer jobs to people in other locations or from other sectors - believing this to be a challenging way to work and worrying about how long training will take. Now, with the pandemic redefining the way we work and introducing a new raft of options for the future of communication, all those legacy problems can be left behind. This opens up a pool of talent that is geographically diverse and offers new skills from other tech sectors.
As part of a growing cohort of ‘Teltech’ businesses, Telness Tech has successfully hired from other industries. We look for industries that have undergone disruption by a wave of challenger brands (such as how fintech disrupted financial service) because we know people will have a similar mindset.
Bridging the talent gap isn’t a one-off
There’s no doubt that finding talent is tougher than ever. However, by prioritising their talent offering, telecoms can compete on a level with other sectors.
What’s important is that this isn’t viewed as a one-off. The problem of a talent gap doesn’t go away once new roles are filled. Those organisations looking to bridge the tech talent gap must adopt a strategy for talent acquisition and retention, one that focuses on long-term success not short-term resource crunches.