How to overcome the skills gap when hiring IT engineers in London

by Kara Buffrey

Engineering and tech sector firms in the UK’s capital are contending with a nationwide skills shortage to the tune of 1.2 million IT skilled workers. In 2018, 79 per cent of technology employers agreed that a shortage of suitable applicants was their top recruitment challenge for the coming year. With our departure from the EU creating more uncertainty with regard to staffing, it looks likely that the gap is only set to grow wider. 

For employers in London, the need to secure and retain top talent in the field of IT engineering is critical in taking advantage of advances in technology and encouraging innovation. If companies are to achieve their lofty infrastructural ambitions and enhance efficiency in their operations, they must be prepared to adopt new methods and look to new sources in the market to plug the skills deficit within their respective firms. These could include: 

Leaning on the contractor market to alleviate pressure

Faced with a shortage of available full-time talent, London firms in the tech or engineering space are fortunate in that the number of IT engineering contractors in the capital is on the rise. Although the contracting market took a big hit following the economic downturn triggered by the financial crash, TechNation reports that the IT contracting sector is growing at a rate that is 50 per cent higher than the UK economy as a whole. 

Employers in London are increasingly taking advantage of the temporary workforce and contractors in particular to plug the skills gaps in their businesses, whether it’s to oversee a digital transformation project or assist on client work to meet peaks in demand. It may not be a long-term solution, but capitalising on the expertise of contractors can certainly aid to alleviate pressure in the short-term. 

Expanding your talent pool and encourage diversity 

While a persistent skills gap plagues the industry, employers need not look far to find pockets of untapped talent. While minimum requirements around diversity are set out under the law, best practice companies will seek to go beyond legal compliance. By actively demonstrating your company’s commitment to fostering a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive culture, your chances of attracting women and talent from minority groups will be greatly increased. 

Investing in your employer brand

In a market characterised by tough competition and a lack of available talent, firms have no choice but to go head to head with one another and vie for the skills their organisation needs to achieve its objectives. With this in mind, employers in London seeking valuable tech talent must look internally to determine what about their culture makes them an attractive workplace; they must get to grips with what keeps their employees engaged and which areas they could improve to create a more attractive proposition for potential candidates.  

Growing your network through dedicated engineering events and groups

A skills shortage may persist in the industry, but London is not short in specialist IT engineering groups, hubs and events where talented engineers from across the city collect to share tips, get the latest industry news and meet likeminded talent to embark in new ventures. Employers in London’s engineering sector should aim to enhance their presence in the community by making networking events and meet-ups a staple in their calendar. 

Are you looking to fill a gap in your company? Heat Recruitment is the one-stop shop for your top talent. 

by Glen Pearse