How the UK skills shortage affects IT recruitment agencies
7 MINUTE READ
With the ongoing skills shortage in the UK, IT recruitment agencies are having to rethink their tactics in order to attract the most in-demand tech professionals on the market. With qualified candidates becoming increasingly hard to find, IT recruiters are now under greater pressure to meet employer demands.
So how does the UK skills shortage affect IT recruitment agencies? How do they cope with such a shallow talent pool?
Current state of the IT job market
Not all skill shortages are created equally and some industries have a greater lack of suitably skilled candidates than others. The tech industry is one of the worst affected. This means specialist IT recruitment agencies are feeling the pressure more than generalist agencies.
According to a recent study published by Robert Walters, 89% of UK employers are expecting a shortage of skilled tech professionals over the next 12 months. The report indicated that while a growing number of young people are now entering the field, the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis is causing ongoing challenges for employers.
Junior-level hiring dropped significantly during the recession, and this has created a skills bottleneck at the mid-level today. There are an insufficient number of professionals with the required experience available to meet demand.
According to the report, the most sought out skills are in specialisms such as cyber security, business intelligence and data-related roles, as well as software development. As most of these roles require a certain level of prior experience, the skills shortage is being felt most at the mid-management level.
What does this mean for IT recruitment agencies?
From one perspective, the current market situation is a blessing for agencies. The rapid rise in demand means the IT recruitment industry is set to become the greatest of all the sectors by the end of the decade. On the other hand, the state of the market is causing a talent headache.
There’s no getting around it. The skill shortage inevitably reduces the success rate of some IT recruitment agencies. As a result, clients often start to rethink their relationship with them. Agencies have a lot of explaining to if certain vacancies haven’t been filled after months on end.
There is another frustrating problem that IT recruiters face. Candidates that used to be more than suitable for certain roles can suddenly become underqualified if technology changes and requires something else from them.
How agencies are tackling the problem
Handling the harsh reality of the skills shortage is a difficult task. But there are definitely things IT recruitment agencies can do to remain successful in sourcing the right candidates.
Building an effective SEO strategy
What did you do last time you were looking for a solution to a problem?
Unless you happen to be Amish, chances are you went straight to Google. This is what virtually all candidates do as the first step in their job search. The internet has empowered them to make more informed decisions when weighing up recruitment agency options. But only agencies who are actually visible on Google will make it to the consideration stage. This is why we have poured so much time and effort into our SEO strategy. Venturi now rank on the first page of Google for more than 20 keywords related to technical recruitment. This means we receive more qualified CV submissions than other agencies.
Exploring inbound marketing
One of the most powerful tools for attracting new candidates is content marketing. High-quality, long-form online content engages candidates on a deeper level than a typical interaction on social media. Consuming this content gives them a flavour of what the agency is about and how they operate. Remember, most candidates aren’t always ready to speak to a recruiter on their first visit to the website. They will conduct their own research, acquiring as much information as possible before they make a decision, ensuring they choose the agency that is the right fit for them.
Our blog and podcast give us a distinct advantage over other IT recruitment agencies in terms of our ability to attract and engage elite technical candidates. Our content is specifically tailored toward high-achieving tech professionals who aim to climb the career ladder into leadership and management positions.
Casting a wider net
Successful IT recruitment agencies are now thinking outside the box when it comes to finding the right candidates. They are expanding their search beyond those individuals who tick all the boxes. When perfect candidates are basically non-existent, imperfect candidates who can learn quickly and have good attitude are highly sought after. Most companies are investing heavily in training to bring these candidates up to speed in their new role. IT recruitment agencies now work closely with employers to determine which skills are absolutely essential and which can be learned on the job.
Paying more attention to passive candidates
Good IT recruiters know that it pays dividends to stay in touch with a strong network of passive candidates (i.e. candidates that aren’t actively looking for roles at the moment). An aggressive sales led approach doesn’t work here – all it does is put candidates off. The right approach is to engage with these candidates by sharing helpful articles and resources as a “keep us in mind” type of thing. When the time comes for those candidates to look for a new role, the recruiters who stayed in touch will be the first that spring to mind.
When there are limited resources, an IT recruiter is only as good as their contracts. The people can provide insight, referrals and help give a headstart over other competitors Obviously networking has always been considered a key recruitment trait, however modern social media methods are becoming less effective by the day as the shrinking talent pool is disengaging. Recruiters who think they can sit behind a computer and message all day long don’t have the personal touch which is built from phone and face to face meetings. One phone call or meeting is better than a thousand messages. Taking the time to nurture 10 personal relationships offers much more long-term value than 100 social media connections.
We believe a recruitment agency should be able to do more than source great candidates. That’s why we offer a full range of services designed to help you find and hold on to top technical talent.