Today’s economic and hiring landscape is like none before. While inflation is high, interest rates are on the rise and layoffs at social media companies like Meta and Twitter make headlines, we also see strong employment numbers and economic growth from quarter to quarter.
Economic upheavals serve as punctuation moments in the world of work — catalysts that change how companies invest in and use technology. And when the role of technology in business changes, so does the way companies engage with tech talent. By taking a look behind us, we can contextualize the nature of these changes in today’s business landscape and plan for what’s next.
“After the dot-com bubble, we saw outsourcing of technology projects getting quite high,” says Ashwin Bharath, founder and CEO of Revature. “After the next financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008, companies moved the ownership of their technology in house to better control costs.”
Ten years later, the Covid-19 pandemic forced industries that were slow to fully “go digital” to make that change almost overnight, resulting in technology permeating every aspect of business in nearly every industry. Bharath says, “It’s a very interesting time.”
Debunking the Skills Gap Myth
If every part of the business is using technology, that means every part of the business needs tech talent — and those positions historically are not easy to fill. The unemployment rate for IT professionals is persistently low, and IT workers are known for low retention rates, creating an environment where tech roles are often unfilled. These factors have led to the perception of a skills shortage.
In reality, “we don’t have a skill gap or a talent gap,” Bharath says. “We have an opportunity gap. Talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not.”
We see the results of this skills gap myth in the demographics of the tech workforce. While the tech industry continues to evolve, there is still a lack of representation of minorities in today’s workforce. Data shows that Black people are underrepresented by 50% in American tech careers, and Black people’s shares of tech employment fall short in 92% of America’s largest cities.
These overlooked tech workers need to be connected with the right opportunity and the right training to close this gap. This shift in how we recruit and invest in tech talent will create a sustainable pipeline to support the next wave of economic growth that will follow the current economic downturn, creating a more diverse tech workforce moving forward.
Reaching New Tech Talent
So, if the talent is out there, how do companies reach them? Innovative hiring practices and the development of new hiring and recruiting strategies within the tech industry are critical to building a more diverse workforce.
Start by reevaluating your recruiting and hiring practices to include a broader, more diverse talent pool. This would be not just a “nice to do” gesture but a viable solution to the talent shortage.
For example, Revature in July 2021 partnered with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community, to provide resources and opportunities for employment in technology positions across the country for students at historically Black colleges and universities pursuing careers in tech. Such ventures and partnerships can be one avenue for many companies that are trying to fill key tech roles and increase the diversity of their staff.
But such initiatives need to be priorities for companies. Following the racial and social tensions of 2020, corporate America responded in an amazing way, says Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “There is an openness to doing something,” he says. But there needs to be accountability to drive results. “When you tie it to the bottom line, it’s got to get your attention.”
In addition to broadening your reach for a more vast and diverse talent pool, companies also need talent strategies that will help retain and develop those workers.
“We need to support and engage this new tech workforce quickly to create a sense of belonging,” Bharath says. “You need to start living and breathing differently.”
Revature focuses on building workers’ skills, which leads to employee loyalty and improved performance while also providing companies with a reliable source of skilled workers. This is a model that Bharath co-founded over 15 years ago, providing him with a unique point of view on the topic of creating high-performing cultures.
As we look beyond today’s economic landscape and toward the next wave of economic growth, talent enablement partners like Revature can help organizations staff up with high-quality emerging tech talent, engage current employees, reskill and upskill teams, and help organizations of all sizes chart their unique paths to a sustainable tech talent pipeline — all while creating a more diverse tech workforce.
Continuous investment in talent drives strong retention rates while helping business leaders plan for the future with a reliable team that performs.
It is now time to put talent first. As finding, training and retaining tech talent continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing employers, look for ways that will help you build a sustainable talent pipeline of diverse, high-performing talent, such as Revature’s Talent Enablement as a Service.
To learn more about how Revature’s Talent Enablement as a Service can benefit your organization, chat with our experts at https://revature.com/hire-talent.