In the battle for tech talent, make sure you’re on the winning side

Andrew Fisher, Head of Talent Services UK, AKKA & Modis Posted 04 May 2022

From virtual payments to online learning, technology fuels nearly every industry. As such, companies across all sectors are desperately searching for the best technology talent. In fact, a recent report found that two-thirds (66%) of digital leaders in the UK are unable to keep pace with change because of the "dearth" of talent they need.

With demand for talent far outstripping supply, the jobs market has a plethora of options for technology professionals. However, contemplating a career change can be daunting at the best of times. And the added battle for talent can muddle an already tricky decision. If you possess speciality skills, here’s what to consider when contemplating your next move.

Greater flexibility – but don’t take anything for granted

From measuring output not hours, to a four-day working week, technology firms have often been at the forefront of embracing ‘unconventional’ working practices. However, if you are accustomed to a certain way of working in your current role, don’t assume a new place will automatically offer the same options.

For example, not all businesses have fully embraced a hybrid-working model, post-pandemic. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are among those reportedly asking their employees to return to the office full-time.

If it’s not hybrid-working, it might be paternity and maternity leave or carers allowances. Flexibility is often referenced in job descriptions, but rarely defined.

So, while an employer might claim to be ‘flexible’, this definition could be vastly different to yours. When considering a prospective jump, make sure to confirm that your expectations are met, no matter how ‘standard’ they may be.

Workplace culture – with an eye on creativity

Technology often delivers opportunities far beyond its intended scope.

With this is mind, the most desirable companies are those that encourage and enable their employees to stay connected and up to date with the latest innovations.

While each company fosters creativity differently, do check a company’s values to see if creativity is included. Equally, it’s worth asking in an interview how they stimulate ‘outside the box’ thinking. If you don’t get a positive response, it might be because the ‘straight and narrow’ is all they want from you.

More broadly, it’s important to consider what you want from your workplace? When hiring, managers will often assess if a candidate is a good ‘cultural fit’ for that organisation during an interview – and prospective employees should do the same.

It boils down to values at the end of the day. What are your values and do they match those of the company you’re considering? Whether you’re looking for a company that is transparent about its ESG progress or one that genuinely advocates for diversity and inclusion, how you feel about your workplace makes all the difference.

It can be useful to speak to past and current employees to get a first-hand account of a company’s culture. Perhaps ask them what the company does well, and where there’s room for improvement.

Learning and development – including outside of technology.

The opportunity to learn new skills is vital, especially given the fast-paced nature of technology.

And while most companies recognise the value of upskilling and reskilling, it can sometimes be restricted to the technological attributes that will benefit the business, rather than the individual. Of course, having training on the latest and greatest technology is brilliant, but don’t let that dictate your search.

It’s important to look for companies that recognise the value of softer skills, such as managerial, HR and sales training, alongside specialist topics – especially if you’re seeking promotion in the future.

High performer rotation – what’s next?

For ambitious individuals, thoughts about career advancement are never too far away. As such, it’s good to question the opportunities for promotion in the interview process.

Those companies who actively rotate their high performers, giving them exposure to opportunities outside of their specialism, are clearly cultivating senior leaders, enhancing productivity and fostering creativity.

Equally, if you’re at the end of your career, don’t discount your appetite to progress. You have a wealth of knowledge to impart, and the best companies will recognise this. Reverse mentoring schemes are just one way to fulfil your ambition to do more, even when you think you can’t advance any further.

Ultimately, when it comes to navigating the battle for talent, the winning side is different for everyone. No matter what you decide, remember that the demand for your skills is high, so allow yourself the space and time to consider all options.

For more information about how we can help you negotiate the battle for technology talent, click here.