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How To Manage Labor Shortages in Tech When Recruiting Is Not Working

Digital Talent Shortages Are Keeping Execs Up at Night. However, The Situation Is Not Hopeless. 


Digital Transformation is hard, mandatory, and accelerating. 

  1. Hard Business transformations of any kind are difficult, and digital transformation is a special kind of tough 

                  70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives
  2. Accelerating 2020 was a year of adjustment for many companies, and 2021 onward is about focusing on growing in the new realities. Almost every company is doing more, faster, now. 

                  80% of companies plan to accelerate their companies’ digital transformations 
  3. Mandatory You do not need to be a tech nerd or an industry luminary to see the need for digital transformation now. You just need to benchmark your financial results. The gap between the digital haves and have-nots is wide and growing. 

    Digital leaders achieved 1.8x higher earnings growth than digital laggards 

(Thanks to BCG for summarizing the situation well in their recent report.) 

To make things worse, digital talent is in short supply. 

Digital Talent is: 

  1. Harder to Find Than Ever According to Gartner, talent availability is the leading factor inhibiting digital adoption. Labor shortages are now the biggest concern of tech executives, surpassing cyber threats in a recent tech exec survey
  2.  Harder to Keep Than Ever Resignation rates in tech are at an all-time high. To make matters worse, it is the highly skilled group ages 30-45 that is the most restless. This type of experience is particularly difficult to backfill. 
  3.  Expensive to Rent Anecdotally, demand for skilled digital resources is at an all-time high in the consulting market too. Employee costs are rapidly rising here too as the big firms duke it out for talent with big tech, competitors, start-ups, and even their clients. The result is consulting rates that are rising faster than inflation, with little relief in sight. 

What can busy executives do to grow their tech talent? 

A tough situation, but not hopeless. 

One strategy is to invest in the talent you already have. Increase the digital capability within the loyal employee base you already have. Harness the industry and business knowledge you already have, to support digital-led business strategies. 

We have helped over 100 businesses grow their digital capability over the past two years. Here is what we have learned.  

Business executives, managers and team leaders get it. They want to work for a digital leader. They want to contribute to a digital vision. And they want to feel confident in doing so.  


They tend to like: 

  • Business discussions, with digital as the ‘how’ 
  • Learning new concepts to grow 
  • Tools to help with decisions and planning 
  • 1:1 coaching and advice  
  • Tackling more advanced concepts as they grow and learn 
  • Support to get it done once they have a plan 

They tend to dislike: 

  • Big bang immersive approaches taking a lot of time and resources 
  • Too many concepts too fast (firehose) 
  • Tech jargon and gibberish 
  • Taking too long to act and get results 
  • Handing decision making over to consultants 


Taking A Step Forward 

If you want to make an even larger impact in your industry, you must increase your organization’s digital capability. You already know that. We recommend that you actively build the digital capability in your team as a part of that.  

To build your digital capability, you are going to need an honest assessment of where you are now.  

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” 

~ Richard P. Feynman 

You can see the importance of this step by looking at our lessons learned list above. Number one is – they want content and topics that meet them where they are. 

To take a first step towards finding out how ready your team is to grow their digital capability, take our free, 7-question by completing our Digital Capability Quiz.