[Market Paper] Tackling the North American Talent Gap

As businesses in the United States and Canada attempt to win in the race to digital-first, there’s a problem on the horizon. In fact, there’s already a crisis. The amount of unfilled computing jobs continues to grow, and the amount of qualified graduates is creating a shortfall. AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, continued movement to cloud technologies — there’s a growth of new positions and an increasingly small amount of qualified talent to fill them. Hiring locally is becoming a fierce seller’s market so the need to look elsewhere for top talent is clear.

A crisis in the making

There are almost one million unfilled software development positions in the United States, but the number of new graduates in required disciples is currently under 500,000 per year. This means that the US is at risk of facing an unrealized output of over $160bn if software engineering shortages continue at a similar pace.

The competition for recruiting the right talent is insanely competitive and expensive, and most companies are left with underskilled or less motivated developers than they need to achieve their strategic objectives.

Close to, if not at the top, of these objectives is transformation — made more pressing by the pandemic as organizations seek to diversify their offerings to cater to an ever more digital space. Agnostic of industry, their customers are living in a digital world. To go digital-first refers to the practice of putting emphasis on a business model that prioritizes digital processes internally and digital offerings externally. But there simply isn’t the qualified talent available to bring these products and services to market at the speed to keep up with nimble, innovative competitors.

Industries in flux

North American tech leaders believe the digital skills gap is becoming a digital skills crisis. Ultimately, it’s a case of supply and demand — there’s an imbalance between the need for a digitally competent workforce and the availability of people trained in those specific skillsets.

Organizations from banks to retailers to healthcare providers are becoming digital businesses.

While the need for technical expertise is clear, high-level soft skills are also necessary to leverage that technology to craft real-world solutions. Even prior to the pandemic, the pool of qualified people to fill software engineering jobs was already a challenge for North American companies. A challenge exacerbated by freedom of movement restrictions and regulatory measures stemming the influx of skilled workers — which is particularly the case in Canada.

Entering a seller’s market

On the one hand, the demand for engineers with the right skills is skyrocketing. On the other, larger and more well-known enterprises have an edge in attracting the best people. In essence, the tech giants and other major players have a monopoly on top talent. Because there are fewer skilled people to choose from, local salaries have increased enormously, with the largest and most prestigious companies pricing smaller and medium-sized ones out of the race.

Then to exacerbate this issue, retention is a nightmare. The smaller companies who do manage to obtain elite skills have to constantly look over their shoulder as the major players poach their best developers with higher compensation packages and pricey perks. Put simply, an already fierce battle for talent is intensifying — but there exists a way for North American organizations to navigate these new waters.

Read the full article at: https://thescalers.com/market-paper-tackling-the-north-american-talent-gap/

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Emilien Coquard

Emilien Coquard

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