Since March more than 800,000 Australians have lost their jobs. It’s predicted that up to 200,000 Singaporeans and two million Malaysians could suffer the same fate by the end of the year. To say the pandemic has created a challenging job market fails to convey the scale of human hardship that is involved. But part of the challenge lies in the fact that this hardship is not equally shared across sectors. Travel, hospitality and retail have borne the worst of it, while healthcare, grocery stores and e-commerce platforms have been inundated with demand.

And of course there’s IT. COVID has cemented and heightened the role of IT within businesses and with the dramatic rise in remote work, overnight uptake of cloud-based collaboration tools and a shift to a more digitally oriented lifestyle in general, IT and digital talent have never been in more demand.

For talent acquisition professionals, this presents a challenge: how do you manage your IT staffing needs when also managing a crisis? And how do you bring in those specialised skills quickly, in a limited talent pool?

Skills in demand

It’s no great secret that IT literacy, expertise and capabilities are strategically important to all businesses – pandemic or not. However the impact of COVID-19 has in many ways accelerated technology uptake and related digital transformation initiatives across all industries.

The pandemic has in many ways accelerated technology uptake and related digital transformation initiatives across all industries. Click To Tweet

As a result, we’re seeing increased demand for IT talent across the five main IT job families:

  • Security: Remote work requires cloud-based tools and this presents opportunities for cyber-criminal opportunists, putting security on everyone’s agenda.
  • Data: In uncertain times, insightful business data is essential for sound decision making.
  • Software Engineering/Architecture: As society shifted online seemingly overnight, sound IT architecture is now a baseline requirement.
  • Cloud: COVID has only accelerated the global movement away from traditional IT architecture in favour of cloud-based platforms.
  • Digital: Companies are investing more in giving consumers what they need and ensuring a positive user experience, including UX, CX, Product and DevOps.

Four steps to successfully build IT capability, quickly

Making workforce decisions when things are stable can be challenging enough. Making them in the current, highly uncertain environment requires clear thinking that balances immediate needs with longer term business viability.

Following these four steps can bring clarity to the process while ensuring you attract the right people and set them up for success from day one.

1. Understand the business problem

Is your organisation facing a capability or capacity issue, or something more complex? Often, it’s a mix of these dynamics and understanding the problem holistically, means you are well positioned to align the most relevant solution.

2. Define the scope

This means not only identifying the skills and capabilities that are required, but also the relevant timeframe: how quickly do they need to be up and running? Does the organisation need these skills on an ongoing basis or to power a short-term project?

3. Prioritise onboarding

Allocate enough time to successfully onboard and embed the new team. Ensure the process is candidate centric and as seamless as possible. And recognise that it’s not only hard to secure top IT/digital talent, it also takes ongoing effort to retain them.

4. Be clear on your EVP

EVP is as important as ever. Beyond salary, people are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning when it comes to work, especially as our face-to-face connections at work become more limited. IT professionals are less likely to be happy with just a good salary and a bonus: they want to find a company that aligns to their individual purpose and the values.

In today's intensely competitive global economy, the kind of talent needed to drive growth, innovation and strategic change is more prized and highly sought after than ever before. Learn how our IT Services team can help you grow your IT talent at scale and cost-effectively.

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About the contributor

Bridget is the Vice President of IT Services, Asia Pacific at Korn Ferry. With over two decades of Technology & Digital experience, Bridget partners with organisations to address both their immediate and future talent needs in this area. Her expertise centres around the global platform economy, the creation and execution of effective and multi-faceted talent solutions, technological innovation and encouraging inclusive leadership.

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