Mind the gap – how recruiters could solve the IT skills shortage

It’s a vicious circle – a perfect storm that’s been brewing for a few years now.

As ‘digital transformation’ continues to change the business world, the number of IT-related jobs has massively increased, while the number of people with the skills to fill them has dried up.

Recruiters know only too well what that means, as they struggle to find the talent for the vacancies they list.

Long-term, the only solution is to teach the required skills – whether that’s through the education system or retraining existing staff for new roles. But that takes years, and in a continuing age of austerity businesses are reluctant to invest heavily in staff training if they think it’ll help them find another job (which in such a market, they could easily do!).

So how can recruiters address the IT skills shortage right now? The answer might actually be staring us in the face: contracting.

The changing face of British business

In many sectors, the business model is already changing. Increasingly, specialists are brought in on a project by project basis, rather than being taken on full-time. It’s estimated that around a quarter of the UK’s workforce is now made up of contractors. And there’s no reason why IT roles should be any different.

So rather than searching in despair for candidates that are as hard to find as the proverbial hen’s teeth, perhaps try persuading your clients of the benefits of using a contractor (after you’ve made sure you have some ready and able to take on their contracts, of course!).

They save time
Contractors come straight in and get on with the job in hand – great for busy companies, and there’s no hassle sorting out admin and pensions etc., as they’re responsible for their own.

They cost less
A contractor is, by definition, a temporary solution with a finite timespan – so the business can easily control expenditure on their time.

The legal side’s taken care of
Due diligence, screening and checks are all part and parcel of hiring full-time staff – but with contractors, that responsibility falls to the recruitment agency.

Other companies have saved big
It’s worth pointing out some of the global brands that now swear by contractors too – McDonald’s, PepsiCo and FedEx are just three.

Contracting is more popular than full-time
The option of contracting is very appealing to those with in-demand skills; it offers flexibility, the freedom to pick and choose, the potential to earn more and a greater variety of work.

Couple that with the fact that the average 25-year-old now spends just three years in any job before moving on and 87% of graduates saying contracted work would be their ideal career path, and actually contractors could be the future. And become the long-term solution, as well as the short-term answer, to the IT skills shortage.

Need help setting up your agency to work with contractors? The Back Office team brings years of experience and all the support you need. To find out more, just call us on 01260 280 290. 





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