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​Short of Software Talent? Grow your own

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author: Nicola Mannion

The skills shortage is hitting almost every industry – and it’s hitting software engineering harder than most. A new McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs has revealed some shocking figures – and one outstanding solution.

The skills shortage in numbers

● 87% of executives and managers say they either have skill gaps in their organisations already or expect them within five years.

● 30% say at least a quarter of roles in their organisation are at risk of disruption by technology and market trends in the next five years.

● Respondents in tech are among the most likely to expect this level of disruption.

● 56% are addressing skill gaps by reskilling existing employees.

● 44% of respondents in organisations working to build skills feel prepared to address role disruptions, versus 19% in organisations that are only focusing on hiring.

● Half of those who expect skill gaps say skill building will be the most effective solution; just 31% think hiring will be most effective.

● Respondents in high tech and telecommunications are the most likely to have already reskilled some of their workforce.

● Nearly 70% of respondents who report reskilling say the business impact has been greater than or equal to the investment.

It’s clear that reskilling will be key to overcoming the worsening talent shortage in software engineering. Filling most gaps will require a combination of hiring and reskilling, with strategic attention paid to which employees should be trained first. Be sure to prepare your people for change by explaining your reskilling agenda and their options for future training.

The learning journey should be structured to help trainees retain and apply their new skills. That means taking advantage of both in-person and digital learning – and for software engineers in particular, it’s worth skewing the balance more towards online learning opportunities.

Data from HackerRank reveals that while software engineers’ favourite learning tools vary by generation (with the younger ones favouring YouTube videos and the older generation preferring hands-on training and books), online courses are popular with all ages.

Software engineers cite several reasons for this, mostly relating to their legendary independence. Not only does online training fit well with their enthusiasm for remote working, it also allows them to control the pace and scheduling of their own learning, and enables them to tailor their training programmes by choosing the courses they want.

In case you’re still not convinced, here are a few more numbers from the McKinsey survey, which show that reskilling could also help you with talent retention and hiring:

7 metrics improved by reskilling, according to survey respondents

1. Bottom line: 48%

2. Employee retention: 50%

3. Brand perception among customers: 53%

4. Brand perception among prospective employees: 55%

5. Number of open positions filled by existing employees: 56%

6. Customer experience: 62%

7. Number of employees in new roles: 70%

8. Employee satisfaction: 73%