Teeming with potential and bursting with creativity, Manchester is an ideal location for digital and tech companies to make their home, it’s simply a matter of figuring out how we can nurture the talent that is already there in a practical way, and increase the skilled pool of workers in the city. From networking to retraining to crossing the cultural divide and discovering the previously overlooked talent just on your doorstep, there are a number of innovative ways to address this shortfall and continue to develop the Manchester Talent Pool in the face of our current skills shortage.
Network Network Network
It can’t be undersold how integral networking is to those working in the tech industry today, despite how sick you probably are of the word. For both employers and workers alike, it is hugely important to regularly attend events and social functions where you might be given the opportunity to speak with others in your employment sphere, in which case you can see first-hand the level of talent available and on the other hand, be seen. Networking events such as MancML have shown massive successes in this area, regularly selling out venues in the city and attracting a variety of attendees from employers to skilled tech candidates. An equally important facet of networking today is online, especially with the prevalence of networks such as LinkedIn. It’s more important than ever for prospective employees to keep their online resume up-to- date and, for employers too, there’s a whole world of talent out there on the other side of the screen!
Trust in Recruiters
Decent recruitment consultancies can be invaluable in helping you understand the tumultuous recruitment landscape and keeping a steady eye on the pool of talent throughout the year. Cathcart Associates have built an enviable reputation with some of the most exciting companies in the North West and offer much more than just a service for sending CVs. They can essentially be a sounding board, with the ability to give you information on everything from salary reviews, candidate availability and competitor analysis to advice on best practice when it comes to hiring. Cathcart also has an extensive database of both current and former candidates, and are among the first to know where and when there are skilled workers on the market in Manchester.
Adjust your targets!
If your organisation is having trouble targeting skilled workers as a result of the shortage, why not try to adjust your targets? Did you know that women only exist in the majority in 11% of digital tech companies?
The current skills shortage could potentially be alleviated greatly by encouraging more women into the sector. Just last year, a Manchester coding school received funding to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech, a positive sign for the tech industry in Manchester and the world over in general, and yet further proof that the tech industry is no longer quite such a boys club!
Lack of skill? Build more!
As an employer, the search for new talent can become exhaustive and the current skills gap is frustrating for all involved. However exciting the Manchester tech scene is, it is a constant necessity for those within the sector to continue to foster the creativity and exciting potential of the city. Manchester's tightly knit tech community has benefited greatly from the opening of digital incubators such as Sharp Project, SpacePortx and Innospace which all host a variety of events and meetups throughout the year. Projects like this and anything at all which encourages involvement with the tech industry in Manchester and works to build up skills among workers and foster the already burgeoning creativity of the city are invaluable to any tech scene just like Manchester’s. It’s vital that companies and organisations that want to see a narrowing of the current skills gap should increase investment in training and broadening of employees skills.
To work in the tech sector, job seekers should know that you don’t necessarily have to be a coder. There are many other roles out there in the IT sector, and generally the skills learned along the way are highly transferable from one profession to the next. Keeping in mind how many positions are available with so few people available to fill them, it could be a potential boon to both employees and job seekers to invest in retraining skilled workers in the areas that are currently most lacking.
The onset of the skills shortage may even foster a complete turnaround in how we view employability and the careers market, with apprenticeships possibly providing a solution to the skills shortage. Given that the education system as is isn’t meeting the needs of employers at the rate it needs to, apprenticeships could hold the key with the government pledging to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020 with funding from the apprenticeship levy.
Manchester Digital last year announced it would be recruiting 20 new apprentices to help plug the gap, and with many others likely to follow their lead there is reason yet to be optimistic about the future.