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Digital Workforce Planning

Ireland saw the digital skills crisis some way off. In 2013, the Government launched the National Digital Strategy to get our businesses online. Since then, they’ve highlighted the importance of growing digital talent through national skills strategies and more. However, even with our proactive approach, we are still hugely lacking digitally-skilled talent. It’s time to start your digital workforce planning.

As the skills gap continues to grow, it’s time for SMEs to start planning for inevitable technological workforce changes. As Automation and Artificial Intelligence grows, it will be those without these skills that will lose out to the competition. Now is the time to act. It’s time to look at hiring, reskilling and upskilling policies. It’s time to secure the future of your business.

Digital Skills Gap threatens growth 

The worldwide shortage of ICT talent is a significant issue here in Ireland. Over the next two years, an expected 12,000 jobs are to go unfilled in the Irish ICT sector. This will have a direct knock-on impact on business productivity and growth. Right now, as many as 40% of employers find it difficult to hire ICT staff.

While recognising the scale of the problem, for various reasons, many traditional education providers are struggling to meet the level of demand for digitally literate graduates at a fast enough pace. According to the European Commission, Ireland currently has one of the lowest levels of basic digital skills in the EU. And, with 9 out of 10 jobs requiring digital skills in future, it is clear that we must re-examine how we approach this mammoth skills shortage.

Impact of AI and Automation on the workforce 

Technology is massively disrupting business landscapes, and as a result, the future of work will undoubtedly change. We now face some of the biggest questions of our age. As innovations in technology progress, what effect will automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have on the way that we work? Will it affect where we work? Or, as asked by many, will we need to work at all?

As Ireland’s technology industry grows, the demand for digitally-skilled staff is now at crisis point. According to a Government report, ‘Digital Transformation: Assessing the Impact of Digitalisation on Ireland’s Workforce’, as many as 46,000 hypothetical jobs are at risk from the adoption of digital technologies over the next five years. Those roles are associated with repetitive manual tasks that can be replaced by automation. The sectors most at risk include agriculture, retail, transport and hospitality, and manufacturing. However, these losses can be avoided with proper planning and digital upskilling so that even more jobs can be created.

Larger business, extra appeal

Larger global organisations hold extra appeal and often offer higher salaries that attract the few available developers. Without the staff that SMEs need, how will they be able to attain the staff required to nurture the technology that will ultimately grow their business? 

Economically, we are fortunate that many global tech giants have chosen our cities to headquarter their businesses. However, for many of our smaller and growing businesses, this can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they’re good for our economy, and the emergence of tech giants on this island has actually allowed many SMEs to flourish. On the other edge of that sword is a huge company with enough growth and swagger to entice a sizeable amount of our software developers and techies. 

Importance of securing a pipeline of talent 

Irish SMEs must now look to grow their own talent. Many of those developers with three or more year’s experience have been snapped up and are working with bigger firms which offer good salaries and excellent working conditions. 

The race has begun among all Irish-based businesses to secure digital staff. Those with digital skills will be highly sought after, and this will be the case until supply catches up with demand. SMEs need to increase their efforts in attaining, developing and retaining their staff. 

To ensure a business is getting the right staff for their team, they need to audit their current workforce. This helps them understand both existing and deficit skills. Likewise, hiring managers must think beyond simplistic concepts, like, hiring software developers with three to five years’ experience. 

A new recruitment approach that focuses on industry-ready staff is needed. It’s time to build and nurture your workplace by aligning with online industry-related vocational partners. This allows SMEs to harness a flexible mix of digital talent.

How junior software developer can enhance growth for SME’s 

Employing junior developers is an approach that can genuinely enhance growth for SMEs. Likewise, so too does upskilling staff to a junior level. Businesses can grow and nurture junior developers to understand the needs of a company. Organisations need to focus on the retention of these workers when they’ve transitioned from junior to intermediate to senior. 

Without proper retention and digital workforce planning, SMEs will act as nurturers who will continuously supply larger organisations with senior developers. If companies enact the right retention procedures now, then they can start focusing on solidifying their workforce.

Importance of investing in reskilling 

Another avenue that SMEs must examine is the upskilling of current employees. According to European Commission research, 90% of future roles will require digital skills. Therefore, it makes sense that current staff are upskilled for the future. 

Recent company culture is that staff and new hires must be “our kind of people”. Through upskilling existing staff, organisations have the opportunity to guarantee that “our kind of people” are at the helm of technological advances within the organisation. 

What Code Institute can do – Digital Workforce Planning

Code Institute enables businesses to de-risk the hiring process by delivering a stream of job-ready digital talent. We are a digital talent accelerator that can assist your digital workforce planning. We help companies prepare their workforce for the future by creating and managing digital skills-based training programs in software development. Apart from upskilling existing employees, our online proprietary platform enables us to match student skills with employers’ needs. Our learning options include both part-time and full-time courses, to help students balance personal and professional needs. Contact us today through the form below.