The objective of this paper is to discuss the key challenges for recruiting the workforce in high technology industry. The paper would discuss the case of technology-oriented industry like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. Amazon is an e-commerce company. However, the paper would focus on the problems of high technology resources like engineers. There is always a demand of high skilled engineers in the industry and it is expected that this demand would further increase as the high technology organizations continue to hire more and more talented people (Kuvaas & Dysvik, 2010).
There are various factors that employees consider when the join any organization in technology industry. Nevertheless, the following things are definitely what employees would want from their ideal role in technology industry:
- Better work/life balance
- Better remuneration & benefits package
- More freedom to get involved with wider business strategy initiatives
- More scope for meaningful and continuous career development
The organizations in technology industry are willing to give high salary packages to employees. The companies like Google and Facebook are cash rich company and they would not find it difficult to give industry best packages (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010). The key challenges or barriers for the organizations in technology industry to recruit the right set of people can be discussed in detail as:
Specific skill set requirements
The high technology company needs the people from a niche. These companies do not need ordinary engineers but they need engineers who can think out of the box. There are number of universities in Australia and abroad that have multiple types of engineering programs. However, these companies need the students from best of the universities (Rodriguez & Patel, 2012). The companies in this industry segment look for niche skills like algorithms, data mining, artificial intelligence, etc. These are the skills that are always in huge demand and due to the requirement of these specific skill set, the companies in technology industry find it difficult to address their recruitment needs. The organizations in this industry prefer the people or graduates with good degree. Whilst experience and employability skills has its importance in securing an employment, it could be argued that graduate candidates with the same experience and employability skills have the tendency to secure employment with candidates without a degree.
Lack of awareness about the labor market
The organizations in this industry segment are still relatively new. Somehow, the old generation people still have the perception that retail, sales jobs are best. In terms of information and awareness, it cam be said that is a set of people who have limited awareness or knowledge about the labor market in technology industry. Learning about the labor market and the skills that are in demand is essential if we want to progress and flourish. Many students don’t get enough guidance and might, therefore, set unrealistic goals and expectations. Wilson (2014) highlighted that the first step when choosing the sector is to decide whether employees have the skills and the enthusiasm to work there. Next, they have to check their skills and the possibility to develop them. Furthermore, looking for the right employer that would want to invest their time to train them and if the both sides are happy to continue employment. This process and limited awareness can create a mental block for people to get attracted towards IT industry.
Demographic issues & challenges (Generation X, Y & Z)
There is a large pool of employees or talent from generation Y and X. However, the new or the latest generation (Generation Z) has limited inclination towards engineering. In the current environment, the field of mass media, e-commerce, Internet has shined. It can be said that the field of engineering is not a main stream for few set of people. The companies often find themselves struggling with the issue of ageing population.
Authors argued that a generation gap is evident in the current workforce. Today a new graduated person would work in the same team as a 20-year experience guy. The presence of workforce diversity is a good problem for organizations to have. There is a certain power in diversity and organizations get access to various viewpoints. However, at times, diversity often various challenges for organizations. At times the employer does not know what the barrier is or how it will affect employees’ capability to work.
There can also be various cultural challenges in recruitment and selection. The large organizations need people across the globe. However, the people from one cultural background may find it difficult to work with the people from different cultural background. For example, Amazon is an American multinational and the people or engineers from China may find it difficult to work with the engineers from America.
Strategies to overcome the challenges
It is important that the organizations must have a plan in place to manage the challenges of recruiting the workforce. It can be done only when the organizations have strong strategies and policies in place to have the right workforce in place. Some of the strategies to overcome the challenges can be discussed as:
Focus on degree of candidates with skills and competencies
Studying for a degree does not just focus on the subjects being taught but come with an expanded knowledge that could help develop the necessary skills to secure employment (Van der Velden & Humburg, 2014). For example, if two candidates, one with a degree and the other with no degrees with similar skills and experience apply for the same job, it is evident that the candidates with a degree would be offer the job, thus suggesting the importance of having a degree.
The graduate labor market statistics for 2015 shows that employment rate for non-graduates was significantly lower than graduates for the working age population standing at 69.8% and 87.1% respectively. Median salaries for both categories had discrepancies, in which, graduates earned £31,500 while non-graduates earned £22,000 (Department for Business Innovation & Skills, 2015). From these statistics and the facts that you highlighted it is evident that a degree is not merely a cornerstone. However, one can argue that having a degree and missing other important competencies would make it useless. It is believed that both elements are mandatory for employment; however, employees’ competencies are what make us more attractable to employment. For example, if I have a degree but don’t possess particular soft skills that are currently in demand, I might not be able to secure a job even if my degree granted me an initial interview.
In the current business environment, a Bachelor’s degree is becoming more valuable than ever, however it is becoming a necessity; rather than an advantage, the standard is getting higher and staying competitive in the work market requires graduates who understand the amount and type of skills required to compete and stay on top of it. Undergraduate degrees are not only an investment, that differ in how good its returns are, if in different sectors, markets and countries as well as the type and source of degree, it is also treated as a visible standard that applicants can be judged upon. It is difficult however to draw a detailed path and one should be flexible enough to find out what options they have at certain stages and choose from (Swider & Zimmerman, 2015). Internships and volunteering should be a good start for us before getting into the job market. Graduates should as well explore themselves and know who they really are, what can interest them and what cannot; building self-awareness and asking for guidance and advice from mentors whether university tutors or professionals in the field will ultimately help and guide our decisions.
Formal method of job searches and use of latest tool like social media & headhunters
Job searchers need to concentrate on their qualifications, experiences, skills and positive traits, not only their barriers. If we think about our barriers then we cannot be positive of getting hired. It is suggested that organizations should use the advanced method of recruitment like social media platforms for recruitment. The organizations can also outsource the recruitment function to hire the best talent from the market. Bartlett & Ghoshal (2013) see the use of recruitment firms/head hunters, and perhaps this is a concept to embrace, as Bartlett & Ghoshal (2013) indicate in their paper that 59% (survey respondents) report using outsourced recruiting and selection practices. Interestingly though, the economics of using headhunters is typically not as cost effective as it would be in house. But, the organization has to consider that simply sifting through job ad respondents, again, may not realize the right person for the role and HR must quantify the time-value lost in order to justify the outsourced recruitment cost.
The direct placement from the campuses could possibly the best method for organizations in technology industry to get the talented people (Good & Farley, 2015) . The objective of the firms in this sector is to get the best talent from the market. The organizations need innovators and thinkers. They need the people who can think out of the box and come up with unique ideas and solutions. They would want the people who would remain with the company for a long time. Therefore, a good option for the organizations in this sector would be to recruit the candidates from colleges. In this case, the organization would need to impart some initial training to employees. However, the ROI would be better and the organizations would be able to employ the people from a long-term perspective (Ordanini & Silvestri, 2008). Another benefit of this approach is cost savings. The company can recruit a fresh graduate from a college at much cheaper price than an experienced candidate.
It is recommended that organizations should have a good referral scheme in place. The presence of a great referral scheme would motivate the existing employees to get the best talent. This way, they would act as the recruitment agents and they would search for the talent among their friends’ circle, family and social circle (Clardy, 2008). The referral bonus must focus to reward the employees that help the organization to get the best talent from the market.
The technology sector has a suggested increasing demand for employees this is due to the demographic changes for example the ageing population we are seeing this is especially true for the private sector as there are many constraints being placed on the public sector spending. It can be said that the technology sector is definitely a place where companies can flourish, as, although it is competitive, there is always a target market and people in need. With the above discussion it can be said that doing a degree will help people gain the confidence in their understanding of how a business works and what needs to be done in order to be successful. For organizations it is important to use multiple tools of recruitment. It is recommended that organizations should create a mix or a balance between the fresh graduates and experienced candidates. The recruitment should be made form various sources like referral, online mediums, advertisement on social media, campuses placement, etc.
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