Ask any HR professional about the biggest challenges they face, chances are recruiting tech talent will be on the list.

According to research, only 11% of UK employers do not expect a shortage of skilled tech professionals in the coming year. Meaning the other 89% are less confident.

A survey conducted earlier this year of London tech startups founders revealed that 33% believe there is a shortage of skilled tech workers in the capital. In addition, 30% say their growth is being hindered because they cannot hire the right people.

We hear countless reports of HR managers struggling to fill vacancies because of a lack of qualified talent. But just because developers aren’t actively looking for a new role, doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear about new job opportunities.

Part of the problem is that recruiters say they want ‘qualified’ candidates. But with university tuition costs so high and just 1,175 UK undergraduate enrolments in computer science last year, businesses’ dependence on graduates to fill tech positions may have to take a backseat. Traditional education pathways cannot keep up with industry demands.

Companies need to start looking for more sustainable (and unconventional) ways to recruit tech talent.

Fortunately, the tech talent pool is wider than you may think. Here’s how you can take steps to overcome the tech skills shortage now.

1. Redefine your concept of ‘qualified’

Traditionally, CVs have listed qualifications and work experience. If you can look beyond candidates’ credentials, you can start focusing on motivation, determination and an eagerness to learn new skills. According to last year’s Job Preparedness Indicator Survey, hiring managers prioritise things such as work ethic, integrity and accountability. Stop searching for the perfect CV and see what you discover.

2. Look for alternative talent sources

Turn your attention away from graduates and think of new ways to source fresh talent. Seeing as most tech talent is passive, candidates won’t be looking for you – you need to find them. And that means looking in the right places. This could be tech community websites and forums, local tech community events, talent marketplaces, coding bootcamps or non-traditional workforce training programs. Finding the right places might take a bit of creative thinking, but it’s worth the effort.

3. Think about apprenticeships and mentoring

Growing you own talent is a good way to fill particular job roles and meet company-specific skills needs. Apprenticeship programs work in two ways: allowing businesses to mould candidates to fit a certain skill set and giving the apprentice real-life, on-the-job experience. By implementing an apprenticeship program, businesses of all sizes are able to maintain a flexible talent pool and keep up with industry trends

4. Understand tech talent

If you’re going to find the best tech talent, you need to understand them. For example, a global survey by Stack Overflow revealed that about 75% of professional developers are younger than 35 years, and around half of developers have started a new role in the past two years – which means you’ll need to be open to candidates with less experience, as well as be aware of their needs and expectations if you want to keep them at your company for longer than a year or two. The survey also offered insight into how tech talent assesses new opportunities, prioritising salary, benefits and the technologies they will work with over things like gym membership or the offer of ‘free’ lunches.


Are you looking to reach and attract talent with tech skills? The team at Talent can help you find creative, innovative ways to have greater recruitment success and start filling the tech skills gap.