By: Frik van der Westhuizen, CEO of EQPlus
Any organisation looking to capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) must be able to rapidly upskill and reskill while acquiring resources virtually on demand. In an ideal world, this means tapping into the existing employee base. Practically, this is not always possible resulting in decision-makers turning to the outsourcing of certain roles.
Adding to the complexity of the environment is the dearth of specialist skills. To mitigate against this challenge in the future, the South African government has prioritised educating students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. This points to the broader need to have people equipped with skills related to these disciplines entering the workforce. It is something that governments and companies around the world struggle with.
Take software development and engineering as examples. According to statistics, there will be an estimated 1.2 million software engineering job openings in the US alone. More significantly, companies globally risk losing $8.5 trillion in revenue due to a lack of skilled talent. By 2030, the worldwide talent shortage for developers and engineers will reach 85.2 million.
Rethinking the hiring process
In a post-pandemic environment where traditional business rules do not always apply, companies can find more innovative ways of addressing the current skills shortage. While the priority will always be to upskill and reskill current workers, the hiring process must be revisited to inject the organisation with a level of agility.
For instance, the classical approach of reviewing a CV and putting significant weight into where graduates studied can be reconsidered. In this way, candidates who attended a coding boot camp might be more qualified than those who went through the traditional university degree process. Hiring based on credentials on paper is far too traditionally minded when it comes to rapidly resourcing for the 4IR. Yes, higher education qualifications are still important especially as they show potential employers that candidates know how to research and study. But they should not be made out to be the holy grail they are today.
What this change will do is provide candidates who are self-taught and have significant practical experience with a level playing field when it comes time to be considered for technical positions.
Sourcing for talent
Even before the pandemic, Gartner cited staff shortages as one of the most significant emerging risks to face modern organisations. Add the rapid digital transformation efforts embarked on by companies over a short space of time, and it is hardly surprising that even today filling the skills gap is critical to remaining competitive.
Companies therefore need to look at all potential sources to integrate talented people into the business. Forward thinking service providers already adopted a new way of thinking to accommodate this phenomenon. For instance, EQPlus has proactively positioned itself and its commercial methodology to resonate with this fast-approaching reality.