A new approach to addressing the IT skills gap | HCLTech

A new approach to addressing the IT skills gap

Using early-career programs for the future workforce can help IT organizations succeed in the long-term
6 minutes read
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
US Reporter, HCLTech
6 minutes read
A new approach to addressing the IT skills gap

The increasingly technology-enabled world provides customers and businesses with new opportunities at increasing speed. To advance these new innovations, more skilled people are needed to build, install and maintain the systems that underlie them.

However, one of the largest problems in the technology space is closing the skills gap and finding people with the skills and experience required to adopt emerging technologies. According to a 2021 Gartner survey, 64 percent of IT executives surveyed believe that the ongoing talent shortage is the most significant barrier to adoption of emerging technologies.

Further, companies could lose out on $8.5 trillion in annual revenue without the talented workforce they need and, according to Korn Ferry, 85 million jobs may go unfulfilled by 2030 due to the lack of skilled workers.

In a new joint whitepaper between the MIT Technology Review and HCLTech, the organizations looked at ways to address the ongoing staffing shortages, identify new talent and grow educational partnerships to improve skills, create diversity in the workforce and retain employees.

New approaches to recruiting IT employees

To bridge the gap in IT talent, the sector requires long-term solutions as opposed to short-term fixes. Technology leaders have been targeting less traditionally qualified candidates and cultivating their skills through early-career programs.

For many, the traditional path from education to career can be enough to deter students from pursuing a career in IT because of the cost associated with a university degree. The College Board says that the average U.S. in-state student pays $10,740 per year at a four-year public university course and takes out an average of $30,000 in loans to achieve their bachelor's degree.

These costs have impacted the levels of diversity within the technology industry, which may cause future students to pursue different paths if they don’t see IT leaders from similar backgrounds to themselves in key positions.

In overcoming these challenges, HCLTech has started to invest in young students through early-career programs that provide on-the-job training, as well as offering financial support towards post-secondary education. The goal of these programs is to train candidates so they can become valuable HCLTech contributors. Furthermore, the programs also focus on improving diversity and building a highly skilled workforce for the future.

While most technology companies still seek candidates that have already secured a post-secondary degree, this may change as hiring pressures continue.

Benefits of new hiring approaches for employers

According to MIT’s poll, 32 percent of organizations surveyed currently have an apprenticeship program, while 19 percent plan on implementing a program in the next two years. Organizations are increasingly recognizing that a better trained, young workforce can greatly benefit the industry.

“The companies that build the best cars and finest manufactured products in the world have interns on their assembly line,” says SVP of Strategic Initiatives for HCLTech Subbaraman Balasubramanyan. “They learn hands-on skills, then deploy those skills to the company’s benefit.”

A key advantage of implementing early-career programs includes being able to customize the training their candidates or employees receive to match the specific needs of an organization. Being able to influence the curriculum provides a stronger pipeline of talent for employers.

For example, HCLTech’s early-career program immerses students in classroom and on-the-job training for 12 months, with mentoring by senior HCLTech leaders. The students learn contemporary software development lifecycles, computer science, coding and other skills not typically taught in school. The immersive program also allows students to attain soft skills training that boost professionalism, communication and understanding corporate structures.

Other benefits of introducing early-career programs for an organization include decreasing attrition, building and retaining the organization's next leadership class and providing a broader range of candidates for open job positions.

New approaches to the tech talent shortage

Download the report

Retaining a new generation of talent

Organizations must understand what younger employees want as they join the workforce and eventually head into leadership positions. Early-career programs can give them the education and training that will make them better and happier employees, while also offering job security.

Early-career programs, like those offered by HCLTech, also hope to satisfy a “curiosity index” for next-generation employees which is giving them access to a range of projects and opportunities that piques their interest – instead of keeping them siloed in one sector.

“You have to show them how their role and career path will progress,” Jagadeshwar Gattu, President of Digital Foundation Services at HCLTech, says. “They’re always asking, ‘Hey, when will I get a new project? When will I learn a new technology?’ From that perspective, we’re helping to define a career path for anyone in the program, so they clearly know what they’ll do in the next five years.”

While it’s tempting to lean on highly experienced workers in the rapidly changing world of technology, organizations that think long-term will see the most success and drive the sector forward.

“All of this is done with the spirit of helping humanity progress,” says Balasubramanyan. “That’s the ultimate goal. Through partnerships and a structured formal program, we can identify gems from every corner of the world that traditional hiring paths don’t find.”

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