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The tech talent shortage is a problem that’s not going away, but the good news is your talent pool is wider than you think if you look in different places.

The conversation around companies attempting to close the skills gap is ongoing, but sustainable solutions, thus far, have been dismal.  It is estimated that 65% of HR managers cannot fill open positions due to lack of qualified talent.   Here at Job Planet, we have answers to dealing with those problems.

The problem lies in the way companies define “qualified.” With university tuition costs skyrocketing yearly, the ability to actually meet traditional hiring standards is becoming exclusive to those who can afford it.  And as more companies evolve to meet the needs of a more digital consumer, unfilled tech positions are climbing at an even quicker rate.   As an economist and one who sees trends, Peter Berner CEO from Job Planet, predicts huge growth in tech hiring among “non-tech” companies over the next few years and estimates at least 70,000 new software developer positions will be created over the next 10 years in South Africa.

The numbers say it all – the dependence on university graduates to fill open tech positions has to be a thing of the past. With universities producing less than 5,000 computer science graduates a year, it’s quite clear traditional education pathways simply do not, and will not, produce the amount of tech talent needed to keep up with industry demands.   Computer geniuses are built sometimes at home, it’s one of the few spaces you can teach yourself from a young age, brilliant computer hackers now days are at age 16, is a computer science degree really necessary?

Job Planet has started finding sustainable ways to recruit and hire talent from unconventional pathways and we’ve been successful.   India and the Phillipines are abundant with programmers and at a good price, we have been looking at sourcing candidates there with a view of bringing them over. The tech talent shortage is a problem that’s not going away, but the good news is your talent pool is wider than you think when you look in different places. Here are some ways your company can tackle this issue now, so it doesn’t affect your bottom line in the future.

Stop searching for the perfect resume

Your traditional job posting most likely includes a lengthy list of qualifications that includes degree and past work experience requirements. This may have been an effective way for your company to find the perfect candidate a decade ago, but in the digital age, specific resume requirements shut out a lot of talented individuals. And if you’re looking for tech talent proficient in newer technologies and programming languages, requiring a minimum amount of work experience can deter younger candidates who may be even more qualified than their more senior peers. Degree requirements have a similar effect. Lots of today’s junior programmers are self-taught or honed their skills at a bootcamp.

Ditch the long list of credentials and tap into a new world of tech talent. Hiring for credentials often means hiring for pedigree. A candidate with a degree from an impressive university and a prestigious internship may translate to the candidate with the most money and connections. Instead, search for motivation, drive and a hunger for learning new skills. Many traits that make up a great employee can’t be found on a resume.  In this day and age, what business leaders are looking for are things like work ethic, high integrity and accountability, the most important traits when hiring entry-level talent. The perfect candidate and team member may not have the perfect resume, but it’s up to companies to discover them.

Turn to alternative sources for talent

Depending on the same universities and colleges for your entry-level talent pipeline will produce the same results: a talent pool that’s drying up. It’s up to companies to seek out alternative sources for recruiting fresh candidates. Increasing tuition prices means many aspiring technologists are going elsewhere to learn new skills such as self study, self development and cheaper alternative online educational sources.

Finding new places to look for unconventional talent takes some creative thinking, but the results are worth the work. Next time you’re having trouble filling an open entry-level position, consider community college and trade schools, coding camps and bootcamps, nonprofit workforce training programs, online communities and other nontraditional training initiatives.

Grow your own talent with apprenticeship and mentorship

With new technologies constantly emerging and digital trends changing rapidly, many companies have specific needs when it comes to filling new job positions.  And Universities are slow to pick up new things in a changing competitive work environment or economy.  What better way to fill distinct needs than to grow your own talent? By utilizing apprenticeship programs, companies can fill a gap by molding candidates to fit a specific skill set. Plus, the apprentice benefits by learning from a senior employee and gains on-the-job, real-life experience. Yet,  the scope of South African companies who participate in apprenticeship programs is a small fraction compared to other developing countries.   Companies can also make use of the government skills development program.

Another huge benefit of implementing an apprenticeship program within your company is having a flexible talent pool that can keep up with industry trends. The most effective apprenticeship programs provide accelerated, industry-relevant training and are easily integrated with your current onboarding practices. Luckily, there’s lots of external apprenticeship programs for companies that don’t have the capacity to create their own.

As the industry changes, skills-based hiring will becoming more valuable than ever before. The dire need for fresh tech talent isn’t going away. Ensure your company can find and hire the best candidate possible to fill the digital jobs you have open now, as well as the jobs that will be created in the future.   And the best way to do that, is to hire Job Planet to do the search for you.