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Finding, keeping, and developing tech talent: Mission impossible?

Great tech talent is more than a nice-to-have – it’s crucial for any modern organisation. But how can you get hold of these sought-after candidates? And once they are in your organisation how can you nurture their skills and retain them for the long term?

We scoured the latest McKinsey research (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/tech-talent-tectonics-ten-new-realities-for-finding-keeping-and-developing-talent) to find out what sets the winners in the battle for tech talent apart. It turns out that those companies who set hiring goals on skills needs and who look ahead using relevant trends to map future skills are more successful. Crucially, leading organisations take a highly precise approach, identifying specific skills so they can target the right people and build effective training programmes.

In this blog, we examine the hiring practices that could help your organisation to engage and cultivate tech talent effectively. (Spoiler: It’s not mission impossible but it does take some hard work and forward planning!)

1) Think quality, not quantity.

The need for tech talent is so high that it’s easy to focus on quantity over quality, but that shouldn’t be the case. A single highly skilled developer could be as productive as multiple newbies and under hiring for a role can be a false economy. The most effective IT organizations work around small hubs of high-performing, highly motivated people who have the space to effectively show off their skills. These tech superstars act as ‘anchor hires’ and paying a little more for them can attract others who are earlier in their careers and want to work with the best of the best.

2) Focus on adaptable learners.

Technology evolves constantly and the speed of change is only accelerating. Most tech professionals are used to learning on the job as their specialism adapts and grows. This means you won’t always find the people who have all the skills you need right now. But as long as you find people who are committed to continual learning, you can still tap into the support you need. It’s also vital to create a work environment where learning is encouraged and celebrated – where people have the time and resources they need to build on their skills and can follow a flexible career path.

3) Get your tech talent involved.

Noone knows tech better than techies! So it’s important to make sure they are a central part of the process alongside your HR team. Connecting with great talent should also include opening up recruitment channels inside the tech community, such as at developer conferences and hackathons. It’s also important to remember that not everyone follows a traditional educational or career path in tech, so keep an open mind and focus on skills and adaptability.

4) Move fast.

The hiring market moves fast in the tech world, very fast. Jobseekers know they are in demand and are often juggling multiple offers. This means that a quick recruitment process is not only expected, it’s essential. If you take too long, your perfect tech hire will be long gone. ​