With digital transformation accelerating and business models shifting, it’s imperative for HR to recruit for the right digital skills throughout the business. But how do you know what to prioritize?
HR leaders typically rely heavily on fulfilling skills needs outlined by business leaders. But in fast-changing conditions, those leaders are often unsure what digital capabilities they need — now and in the future. To adequately serve the business, HR must employ a dynamic skills strategy
“In today’s ever-changing and always challenging talent market, it is essential for organizations to take a data-driven approach to evaluating both current and future skills needs,” says Ashley Tatum, Vice President, TalentNeuron™ at Gartner. “This ensures that both the talent acquisition and development pipelines are set up to ensure the right talent is in the right place at the right time.”
Analyze data for critical skills
The challenge for recruiters is that everyone is chasing at least some of the same talent, which drives up salary requirements and leads to critical roles remaining vacant. Data on employer and competitor segments can help unravel where the real competition for skills lies so you can hone your searches.
Gartner TalentNeuron™ job-posting data shows that big data skills are sought more often than any other digital skills across organizations that are either:
– S&P 100 companies
– Technology giants Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google (FAANG)
– Tech startups with a valuation greater than $1 billion (“unicorns”)
Big data skills are in high demand among all three groups, often for roles that use predictive and descriptive analytics. Other aligned skills and applications, like those required for machine learning and artificial intelligence, are also highly sought after.
Labor market intelligence can provide HR leaders a valuable independent input to validate and influence the needs analysis business leaders conduct — and help prioritize both learning and development and recruiting investments. Plus, by tracking skills that are rapidly increasing in demand among leading companies, your organization can determine which skills you may be missing or need to prioritize in the future to develop digital capabilities.
Three tactics to develop and acquire critical skills
A dynamic skills strategy uses labor market insights to determine demand, supply and availability of talent. You can direct your recruitment and development efforts more effectively if you know who you’re competing against for specific skills, and where the talent you need already resides.
In general, data insights can help you diversify the tactics you deploy to develop and acquire skills. Among your options are:
1. Focus on skills potential, not credentials. Traditionally, credentials, such as certifications or even job history, have guaranteed a reasonable fit when filling open roles. But role titles and definitions haven’t kept up with the fast evolution in tasks and responsibilities — a trend exacerbated by COVID-19, which has resulted in increased remote work and accelerated digital transformation. Instead, focus on acquiring the critical skills needed to drive competitive advantage and be open to looking beyond traditional sources of credentialed talent.
2. Target the total skills market by tapping into talent with “adjacent” skills. People with the skills necessary to perform a role’s duties may never have held that specific role or a position with that specific title. Look to tap talent with related skills — especially so-called “stepping stone” skills, which bridge the gap between domains. Identifying these complementary skill sets can help you surface nontraditional internal and external candidates.
3. Locate global talent pools, and source by talent location, not business location. Looking for talent beyond the location of the business seems less radical amid the workforce and workplace changes prompted by COVID-19. For example, hybrid workforce models offer new opportunities to leverage remote work, gig work and other workforce models to install skills when and where they are needed to drive positive business outcomes.