The Digital Tech Skills Gap

Globally, as digital transformation explodes, the requirement for digital skills has increased dramatically but resources are scarce, expensive and difficult to secure. In fact, growth in the UK over the next 5 years is anticipated to require 1,4 million digital professionals. As in South Africa, this figure is about three times the number of computer science graduates produced by our Universities which presents us with a poor pipeline if the digital sector maintains its growth at the current levels.

Furthermore, there appears to be a gap between what current technology educators provide and what the industry demands.  The industry is transforming so quickly that the skills set produced is often at odds with the graduate’s knowledge base.  The need and demand for informal education is clear, as is the smart move of gaining experience on a project basis after completing short courses.

We expect a severe shortfall in digital talent around the world by 2020, when, according to a Gartner study, 30% of tech jobs will be unfilled owing to digital talent shortfalls. According to recent BCG research, even today, the biggest perceived technology challenge is not data security or the need to invest but a lack of qualified employees.

According to Linkedin, the top skills required in jobs advertised on LinkedIn are tech related.  So, whilst not detracting from the fantastic networking tool that is LinkedIn, as an experienced headhunter, it is hard to fathom why employers continue to utilise this ineffectual approach to recruiting top digital talent. Agile tech talent with the rare blend of emerging tech and business sense are not looking on job platforms for a job.  They are really good at what they do and possibly open to new opportunities should they be approached by a professional headhunter with an enticing proposition.

According to Capgemini Consulting, 77% of companies consider missing digital skills as the key hurdle to their digital transformation.  This requires investment and a move away from traditional sourcing methods.

Consider the following in the war for digital talent:

  • Invest in the development of digital skills (despite the skills shortage, only 46% of companies report that they are doing so)
  • Align training efforts with your digital strategy
  • Allow HR to assist in driving digital skills development
  • Innovative recruitment strategies such as gamification
  • Employee exchange programs
  • Investing in incubator startups
  • Align with a professional headhunting firm as a trusted partner in the sourcing of the best digital talent available.

Executive Headlines, is a boutique local search firm and African partner to Global top 10 search firm, IIC Partners

To assist you in the search for key digital transformation talent and to support your strategy, call Janet Labberte (Managing Partner, Cape Town +27 83 229 8770) or Carilyn Oxley (Managing Partner, Johannesburg +27 83 601 2500)