The Secret to Attracting Tech-Savvy Recruits

Recent research indicates that Britain has a worrying digital skills gap, especially in comparison to other OECD countries.

The Secret to Attracting Tech-Savvy Recruits

Recent research indicates that Britain has a worrying digital skills gap, especially in comparison to other OECD countries. Everyone, from education professionals to employees, must adopt new approaches to keep pace with changing labour market trends.

Considering our fascination with social media and cutting-edge technologies, one might assume that a majority of people in the UK are digitally proficient. For, the most part, that’s true – but there’s a disconcertingly large number of Britons, particularly among those looking for work, who are less than what we might call digitally savvy.

This is the digital skills gap, and it could soon hamper our ability to compete with other nations on both a technological and an economic level. If we don’t act soon, the gap may become more pronounced over time, placing our businesses and labour force alike at a serious disadvantage.

23% Lack Necessary Digital Skills

According to recent research by Go On UK, 23% of UK adults don’t possess the digital skills needed to ride the current wave of technological innovation – that portion represents more than 12 million people.

These aren’t sophisticated skills like high level engineering, either. “One in five people are unable to do simple things like send a Facebook message, apply for a job online, pay bills with an app, or even check what day the bins are collected on their local council website,” reads a presser from the digital skills development charity. According to that, 23% of small businesses also lack digital proficiency, likely losing valuable opportunities and market share as a result.

If the UK is to compete in a global digital economy, we must take action now to remedy this situation, or else fall more rapidly behind the curve.

Technological fluency is quickly becoming a requisite for success. Indeed, 74% of companies in science, engineering or tech expect a higher demand for skilled labour in coming years, but only 55% of firms believe they will be able to fill those roles, according to CBI research.

It Starts With Education

To have any hope of success, we need to address the skills gap at the source -- which means pushing STEM programs early on in children’s education, as well as incorporating incentives like scholarships and apprenticeship programs.

Secretary of State Nicky Morgan has already unveiled a laudable initiative, aiming to increase the number of STEM students by 50% over three years by offering scholarships up to £40,000, STEM bursaries up to £31,000, and channeling £11 million to create 32 new maths hubs, according to the Government.

Yet, we will need to build on these efforts, especially for girls and women. As the BBC observes, there are 6% fewer women with basic digital skills than men, and according to WISE (via IBTimes), women account for just 14.4% of employees in STEM fields.

To do their part, employers must make a sustained effort need to keep engaged with the most digitally connected demographics. The more that you foster and support the development of young people, the better equipped you are to understand and attract the most talented of them when they’re seeking employment.

Tech-Savvy Recruitment

To attract the most tech-savvy population segment, millennials, companies need to revitalise their recruitment processes and incorporate more and better digital tools. By demonstrating a forward-facing approach and creating a positive candidate experience, recruiters can convince top, young tech talent that their company will be highly competitive in the digital marketplace.

Indeed, this is a standout time for graduate recruiting – High Fliers research estimated the number of graduate vacancies would grow by 8.1% by the end of 2015, indicated strong opportunities for university-leavers.

The first step to luring this candidate pool is communication – mobile hiring applications, video interviewing assessments and a transparent experience will set companies apart, helping to reach a wider and more receptive audience.

Though the digital skills gap is still growing, forward-thinking companies can make sure they aren’t missing out on the tech-savvy talent they need by tailoring their attraction and selection strategies for a digitally-inclined audience.

(Main image credit: Pexels)