the growing demand for niche skills: HIGH TECH BY STEVEN SCOTT Vice President of Global Solutions

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1 the growing demand for niche skills: HIGH TECH BY STEVEN SCOTT Vice President of Global Solutions

2 2 THE HIGH TECH INDUSTRY has remained remarkably resilient in riding the economic roller coaster of recent years. Industry analysts say the high tech job market is improving, the hiring process has sped up, and salaries are on the rise. However, the market is complex and workforce requirements within the high tech industry fluctuate regularly. Although there is plenty of skilled talent for lower-end IT jobs, newer technologies including cloud computing, mobility, data analytics, social media, medical devices, and consumer digital products are causing companies to seek out engineers with specific expertise. And as companies turn to automation and machines to increase productivity, the demand is rising for people with niche skills and specific technical knowledge. Apprenticeships and internships can attract talented students who want to learn on the job instead of in a classroom. Employee alumni programs allow employers to stay in touch with retirees and other people who leave a company, so that intellectual capital can be accessed when needed.

3 3 Employers are finding innovative and competitive ways to look for the talent they need.

4 4 Employers are finding innovative and competitive ways to look for the talent they need. Some large firms work with analytics groups that monitor social media, job postings, and online résumés to find out what is happening in specific labor markets where certain skills are in demand. Companies are also opening their workforces up to models and talent types they may not have considered in the past such as outsourcing solutions, contractors, and temporary staffing. Thanks to the ease of online collaboration and the growing popularity of telecommunication and video conferencing, the location of workers is often irrelevant. This is a boon for employers who are having difficulty finding the skills they need in their local market. Companies can recruit from global locations to find niche skills that are abundant in some locations but not easily available elsewhere.

5 5 Many trillions of bytes of enterprise data are created each day by businesses, governments, media outlets, academia, and the myriad of operations and processes that keep the world running. Add to that the mountain of data produced in s, online search queries, Facebook content, Instagram photos, blog posts, YouTube videos, tweets, ecommerce, and any device or process that captures or creates information and the result is big data. Analysts estimate that the world s information doubles about every year and a half, and the rate of data creation is steadily increasing. This overwhelming amount of big data is causing big problems, such as where to store it and how to access it efficiently. Instead of trying to keep it in-house, many companies have opted to use cloud-based business intelligence and big data services to manage their data. A cloud solution is cost-effective and elastic, and can be scaled as business needs change. But companies have been worried about security breaches and are sometimes apprehensive about sending sensitive data to the cloud. However, new products and service offerings with stronger security are making cloud solutions more appealing, and as a result, cloud computing is a significant generator of specialized IT jobs.

6 6 Storage and management aren t the only issues of concern with big data. For most organizations, tapping into and using all this information is a challenge, and this is where data analytics comes in. Data analytics involves more than just managing diverse data; it requires asking questions, formulating hypotheses, discovering and exploring, and making data-driven decisions. High-performance analytics is usually done using specialized applications and software for data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, data optimization, and forecasting. Skilled analysts can process extremely large volumes of data to determine relevance, and what kinds of analysis can be used to inform better business decisions for the company. As big data grows increasingly challenging, there is a focus on open-source tools that will help analysts break down and analyze data. Instead of requiring interpretation by a highly trained and costly data scientist, business analysts need to be able to create their own analytic applications without the need for a lot of business rules and calculations. As a result, the need is growing for skilled developers who are versed in open source platforms.

7 7 Educational institutions are beginning to offer coursework in new areas of study such as cloud computing and big data management.

8 8 One way to produce more talent with niche skills is through innovation in education. There is already a shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers, and that shortage is exacerbated in the high tech industry by the fact that many STEM workers do not have education in the fields of specialization companies are seeking. An initiative by the U.S. Federal Government was announced in 2013 proposing that more than $450 million be directed toward boosting the number of trained educators and programs needed to get students interested in STEM career fields. Colleges and universities are beginning to offer coursework in new areas of study such as cloud computing and big data management. Several large high tech companies, including Cisco, Microsoft, and Lockheed Martin, are collaborating with academic partners to create curriculums that address the mixture of technical and problem-solving skills required for today s new technologies. Training can often mitigate educational shortcomings. An employer may leave a position open for months, trying to find talent with specific niche skills, only to find that the talent does not exist. Companies experiencing this challenge may decide to bring less tenured engineers on board with the purpose of training them in the technologies they need. For an existing workforce, employers who offer on-the-job or off-site training to existing employees can develop exactly the niche skills the company needs while simultaneously improving morale and increasing retention.

9 9 Employers don t have to feel that they re on their own when it comes to finding talent. Professional recruiters can offer valuable assistance in locating niche skills and speeding up the hiring process to fill permanent positions.

10 10 Businesses that are having a hard time finding the right people may open themselves to staffing models they might not have considered in the past. For example, not all IT specialists are hired on a full-time basis. Employers are increasingly turning to staffing firms to recruit the talent they need for only the amount of time needed. This staffing choice by employers dovetails nicely with another growing trend: high-level IT specialists are choosing contract assignments and consulting jobs rather than full-time positions because of the flexibility they provide. These professionals are increasingly trusted to do mission-critical work that in the past would have been done only by permanent employees. Another way companies can bring niche skill talents to the industry is by providing alternative career paths through internships. With tuition costs continually on the rise, students may prefer to gain work experience through an apprenticeship program rather than taking out a loan to pay for school. Apprenticeships give companies a way to develop young talent to fill niche skills gaps that would be costly to hire for. Implementing an apprenticeship program can be a complex task, but the task is worth it for the payoff of having workers who are familiar with the company s business goals and experienced in exactly the skill sets the company needs. The resulting quality of the talent is based more on real-world experience than on lessons learned in a classroom.

11 11 Employers don t have to feel that they re on their own when it comes to finding talent. Professional recruiters can offer valuable assistance in locating niche skills and speeding up the hiring process to fill permanent positions. Workforce solutions companies such as Kelly Outsourcing and Consulting Group (KellyOCG ) know how to communicate with employers to pinpoint the types of talent they need and help them create a winning career development strategy. Experienced staffing professionals have access to skilled job seekers and an extensive network of candidates they can evaluate to ensure a good fit.

12 12 IN AN ECONOMY WHERE SPECIALIZED SKILLS ARE CRITICAL TO SUCCESS, companies have several workable options for finding the right talent. Higher pay and attractive benefits packages are standard approaches to winning the competition for talent, and by coaching hiring managers, they can better understand how to craft a workplace environment and company culture that is inviting to job seekers. Employers can use traditional strategies or online approaches to search for talent with the niche skills they need, or they can train existing employees. They can try part-time or contract staffing models, and they can rely on a staffing partner to assist in connecting them with exactly the skills and expertise they re looking for. Help wanted ads are a thing of the past. Companies that understand the concept of today s specialized economy and how to find the skills necessary to thrive in it will be in the strongest position for succeeding and continuing to grow.

13 ABOUT THE AUTHOR STEVEN SCOTT Vice President, Global Solutions High Tech Vertical Client Lead KellyOCG Steven Scott is vice president of Global Solutions and client lead for the high tech vertical at KellyOCG. Mr. Scott works closely with high tech clients to develop a strategic approach to integrated talent management leveraging KellyOCG talent supply chain management programs. With more than 20 years of experience in human resources, talent acquisition, and supply chain, Steven has expertise in workforce solutions and design, HR delivery and operations, talent acquisition strategy and delivery, contingent labor program design and implementation, strategic sourcing and category management, and HR consulting. Steven holds a BBA from Baylor University and has both his CCWP & PHR certifications. Steven resides in Plano, Texas. About KellyOCG KellyOCG is a global leader in innovative talent management solutions in the areas of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), business process outsourcing (BPO), human resources consulting, career transition and organizational effectiveness, executive search, and contingent workforce outsourcing (CWO), which includes independent contractor solutions. Further information about KellyOCG may be found by visiting kellyocg.com today. kellyocg.com All trademarks are property of their respective owners Kelly Services, Inc EXIT

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