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Competition for Digital Talent

3 Apr 2018
Claire Anderson

Competition for Digital Talent

Scotland is an incredibly exciting place to be for a digital professional. Scotland is home to a flourishing start-up culture, ever-growing tech and creative sectors, and fosters a culture of innovation. The possibilities are endless for the next generation of digital specialists.

As demand grows, however, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the recession culture of shrinking staff and a lack of investment is creating a skills gap. Recruiting within the digital sphere is becoming an ever-trickier competition for talent as the effects of the recession bite back on our new growth industries. A 2017 report from Skills Development Scotland highlights this in stark terms – we need more digital and technical professionals in our marketplace to help grow the economy, and once we have them we need to be able to retain them and not lose them to the world’s other major tech hubs.

To build your business you need to attract the best talent, and to do that you need to focus on what matters to them and what drives them as professionals and as individuals. This also involves learning how to sell your business and your employer brand. Your employer brand is key to attracting the best available candidates – below are some points you should be considering.

Salary and Benefits

You should be under no illusion that, no matter how much your employees love their job, they all have bills to pay and hopes and dreams to pursue outside of work. Therefore, money is always going to be a crucial factor in their job satisfaction and you have to make sure their remuneration is commensurate with others in their field. It’s important to have your finger on the pulse of what your competitors are paying their staff to ensure you don’t lose talent to a slightly higher salary. This is something we can help with – we can conduct an audit of your current salaries (which is useful for retention strategies) and share our knowledge in the sector.

Another important factor to consider is employee benefits. Things like pension contributions, sick pay, and holidays are all benefits that can give your business an edge over your competitors. Smaller things which may not seem important at first glance, such as some drinks on a Friday or giving employees the day off on their birthday, don’t cost much monetarily but say a huge amount about your business and your values.

Culture

“Culture” in the workplace is a nebulous concept, but for millennial and younger candidates it’s a key factor in the attractiveness of a place of work. While you’re planning your recruitment drive try to figure out and define what your company culture is. Why do you love coming to work every day? What makes the organisation tick? How do you include others in decision making processes, ensuring ideas and creativity are free-flowing? Answering these questions, and others like them, will allow you to confidently state what your values are and how they drive you and your team.

Being able to properly articulate your culture is critical. When a potential hire comes in for an interview it’s not something they will be able to judge in any effective way. If you can explain in real terms what makes your company special, you are half way towards a signature on a dotted line.

Competition for Digital Talent

Training and Development

It is a bit of a cliché to say that the digital world is ever-changing, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Candidates in the field will know this better than anyone, so they’ll be looking for an employer who will prioritise and support their continual development. Ideally you should have a budget set aside for this, but however you plan to support your employee’s development you must reassure the candidate that you will help them grow and expand their skill set. Showing that you’re prepared to invest in them, in terms of both time and money, can make a world of difference to a potential employee.

CSR

You can read more about why CSR is important in one of our previous blogs, but to summarise – it matters. Digital professionals are (and this may be a generalisation) socially aware, hugely on-trend, share the millennial/21st century attitude towards the world of work. They are going to be looking closely to see if your business is going to coalesce with their own personal brand.

Work-life Balance

Making sure your employees have a good work-life balance is one of the best ways of ensuring you attract the widest range of candidates. Consider if you can operate outside the standard 9-5 hours, offer part time or flexible working, working from home, and so on. This will foster an atmosphere and culture where employees are entrusted with the duties of their role and given the freedom to complete them without unnecessary restrictions. Also, it will give you access who an entirely different talent pool; people who are returning to work, those finishing further studies, people living further away, or anyone for whom the normal working hours doesn’t suit their lifestyle. They can all bring immense value to your business if you can offer them an environment to thrive in.

The digital industry has a plethora of challenges ahead of it. Correctly positioning your employer brand will be critical to your recruitment success. Our teams at Eden Scott and TalentSpark are experts at helping organisations appeal to the best in their industry. If you would like to chat informally about how you can improve your recruitment or retention strategies please get in touch on 0141 410 1009 or via email at Claire.Anderson@EdenScott.com.

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Claire Anderson
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