We have been forced to rethink how we work, where we work, and why we work as a result of recent events. Additionally, rapid changes in the workplace and Brexit have worsened the skills gap. In this article, our CTO Mark Skelton explores how flexible resourcing can help tech leaders stay on track.
Following Covid-19, record numbers of people left their jobs, a phenomenon that has been dubbed "The Great Resignation." As a result, nine out of ten organizations (88%) are suffering from an acute shortage of digital skills, negatively impacting productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness. Furthermore, many organisations are flying “data blind” about the skills they need for transformation according to Gartner.
The reality is, that companies increasingly struggle to find people with the right skills, in the right numbers, at the right times.
For the IT sector, the rate of change is one of the most critical it faces. IT teams have struggled to keep up with the new relevant technologies, and the UK’s education system isn’t generating enough staff with the right skill sets quickly enough. And as found by the Open University, UK businesses (56%) state this growing skills gap has already affected their business negatively.
Those day jobs, after all, are likely to have ramped up in volume and pace, with the switch to hybrid working over the past couple of years. Dealing with raised tickets and issues as entire companies get forced into unfamiliar digital territory, is almost a full-time job on their own.
As organisations try to adapt, the evidence is clear – IT needs help. We must explore, now, what the overriding pressure points are, how to plug the resultant gaps, and what the future of IT is likely to look like.
Overstretched and underprepared
The skills gap isn’t complex to comprehend; organisations are understaffed to deal with the demands they are facing. Moreover, they often do not have the time to allocate to train staff and keep up to date with all the new tech, on top of looking for new employees to remedy the situation with a permanent workforce.
Compounding the rapid evolution of various digital platforms, and their increased adoption, there is also the need to consider changes to markets, sectors, consumer habits, client demands, budget limitations, and customer relationships.
It’s understandable why an existing cohort of IT professionals within an organisation would struggle to keep up with everything, on top of their traditional day-to-day duties. To expect a new full-time employee to hit the ground running across all of those considerations, as well, is a stretch too far.
As a result, many leaders have turned to alternative strategies to fill the skills gaps. For example, upskilling the next generation of talent, cross-skilling existing staff, and re-imagining traditional recruitment with initiatives to encourage career switchers or career returners back to the workplace.
However, many of these strategies will only impact business operations in the mid-long term. In the short-term, companies still need to fill immediate skills gaps to advance digitalisation.
Flexible resourcing is the answer
As a result of the inherent risks, and organisations’ revised financing models, many are realising they can cover the costs of external services, such as flexible resourcing, much more efficiently than hiring a new full-time employee.
Flexible resourcing mitigates many of the challenges presented by the broader skills gap.
The process of flexible resourcing includes hiring the number of people and the skills you need at isolated intervals, for specific projects or, individual strategies. Consequently, pinpointing the requisite level of skill and expertise for that siloed purpose increases the likelihood of a successful outcome, in a more cost-effective way that doesn’t weigh down payroll long-term.
What’s more, we don’t know what is around the corner considering the current state of global uncertainty, and having flexible resourcing allows businesses to scale up and down resourcing as business performance and needs change.
In addition to the above advantages, what clients most enjoy from this prospect is the lack of maintenance required as part of the arrangement. Talent that’s incorporated into the organisation is managed externally as part of the process, which frees up existing internal resources to focus on the longer-term strands of the company.
To this end, a flexible resourcing service must be built on a ‘right first-time’ deployment, bespoke to each specific need, and inclusive of all vetting, onboarding, and management.
Done properly, results include effective problem solving and solution support via highly skilled engineers, tailored engagement support, access to qualified FTE and partner resources, and an adaptable working relationship throughout.
Releasing pressure now, and in the future
Flexible resourcing is a signal toward future IT.
Its flexibility from an operational and budgetary standpoint is, of course, more pronounced in these uncertain times, but the rationale remains the same in any scenario. Why take an expenditure gamble on one set of skills for a range of unforeseen projects and situations; when you can expend less on a range of skills tailored to each situation as it arises?
Not only does flexible resourcing account for IT fluctuations, but HR evolutions, too. Even in advance of the IR35 regulation, businesses began to release key contractors in fear of failing compliance, which has undoubtedly contributed to the tech skills gap.
Using a flexible resourcing approach and engaging with correct terms can lessen the risk posed by IR35 and other legislation it doesn’t always bypass the risk entirely but by framing and engaging correctly, you can use an external flexible resource service hired for a specific engagement with fixed deliverables or milestones. Businesses can ensure this is a ring-fenced service, as opposed to hiring additional people, which can help a business to stay compliant within IR35 whilst also delivering against project and timeline pressures.
To have a dedicated external team of specialists to fill that skills gap to with time-specific dynamic business changes and challenges is not just the holy grail, it’s quite possibly the future of IT as an organisational function.
Do you have enough people and skills?
Need to deliver a specific project, find new skills in your team, or, simply need a trusted resource to take care of business-as-usual? Telefónica Tech has credible, skilled resources ready to help, today.