Every business needs IT employees — but top tech talent has the ultimate say on which companies they're willing to work for.
"All of us as organizations are going after the same talent," Ashish Parmar, SVP and CIO at Tapestry, said during a panel at the Forbes CIO Summit on Thursday. "We're trying to attract, retain, [and] get them interested in us."
Through 2029, organizations can expect demand for tech talent to continue to rise. Demand for software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers, for example, will grow between 21% and 26% through 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Facing a constrained talent market, IT departments are thinking outside the box on how to source and hire tech employees. But selling the workplace's business values and showcasing a strong CIO can be just as helpful in sourcing in-demand IT skills and talent.
The IT talent market is already scarce, and being too picky about candidates for certain roles can ultimately hurt the business, according to Parmar. Placing too much emphasis on preferences for a candidate, as opposed to what an organization really needs, distracts from filling certain roles.
Parmar recommends having conversations with candidates about the value of working at the company. Companies should demonstrate to IT candidates how the organization's values play out in the workplace and the unique value of working for that company.
It falls on tech leadership to demonstrate those values to potential candidates early on. The role of the CIO or equivalent tech leader is as a coach, guiding and developing each employee to their full potential, Parmar said.
Seeing members of leadership willing to be vulnerable about downfalls attracts candidates because it builds psychological safety and trust. In turn, having room to feel comfortable and fail breeds innovation among the tech staff.
Updating skills and tactics for a modern workforce
Based on interviews about what motivates individuals to get into IT roles, Andrea Gallego, managing director, partner and global GAMMA CTO at Boston Consulting Group, said impact and a value-driven occupation is what employees look for.
"What are we doing to change the world and to impact our people is really what's going to win some of that talent over," Gallego said.
The tactics used to scout and interview employees could also use an update. Gallego recommended digital disruption in the hiring process because employees, especially those pursuing tech, are largely digital natives.
"A lot of us need to update our job architectures and realize what is the right job architecture and job setup for my organization and my team," Gallego said.
Four in five businesses are pursuing some time of initiative to address skills gaps in the tightening market for IT talent, according to data from CompTIA.
Two-thirds of companies expect to hire more IT and tech roles in 2021, according to the CompTIA data. More than 40% expect new efforts to upskill and reskill current employees to keep up with current skill demand.
Updating the jobs can start with a skills survey, according to Gallego. It provides a baseline of abilities across the department to then create growth paths toward upskilling tailored to business needs.
"You can upskill your people and you create a sense of loyalty when you help them grow," Gallego said.