The UK faces an IT project management talent gap. Some industry analysts are forecasting up to 170,000 new roles will be created over the next ten years. Many organisations are finding that they are competing within a limited pool of talent.
Now, more than ever, you need innovative practices for recruiting and retaining experienced project professionals.
What skills are in particular demand? What are the salary trends and the current pace of the recruitment cycle? Access Talent's "IT PROJECT RECRUITMENT GUIDE 2019" provides many of the answers and better still some of the questions you should be asking of your own recruitment strategies.
The key area where many organisations need to improve is in the thinking around their initial search. Traditional job boards and even some social media techniques will only target active candidates and, as this pool continues to shrink, hirers must broaden their search.
Almost half (45%) of talent is not actively looking for a new role but would talk to a recruiter.
We have written many times about the difference between active and passive candidates but, when LinkedIn took the pulse of the recruitment profession, it became clear that these categories can be split into further subsets. The way you go about attracting each must be subtly different.
1 - Active Candidates (25%)
An active candidate is self-explanatory - they are actively looking for new opportunities, but this does not necessarily mean that they are unemployed - but they may be!! To attract both, you need to advertise beyond the traditional job boards and social media posts. Unemployed active candidates will probably be hitting up the job boards, but it is worth casting a wider net for this group and crucial for attracting active but already employed talent. Let's call them ...
2 - Active Candidates - Employed AND Curious (15%)
Inevitably, in an industry with low unemployment levels, most of the top talent is going to be in work. This does not mean that they are not wouldn't be tempted by a better offer - that's the other character trait of a candidate-driven market, your talent doesn't have to be super loyal. You won't necessarily attract them by using your tried and tested methods and may have to work harder to get your role onto their radar - they are too busy working on their current IT Project to have time to trawl the job boards.
Think of the reasons why they are looking for a new job and position your vacancy in an area where someone with these concerns might be looking. Maybe they have anxieties about their current employer’s stability, perhaps they yearn for more responsibility or more complex and challenging projects. You need to make your organisation famous for being a great place to work with the most fulfilling IT Projects - employer brand is your key to standing out above the competition.
Consistently, the active candidate market makes up around a quarter of the overall talent pool and it is from this group that most hires are made. So focussing on active candidates means you’ll be operating in a crowded space and will only deliver your message to 25% of the available market (just 40% if you consider both traditionally active and the employed but curious) You need to enter the passive market.
3 - Passive Candidates (45%)
A passive candidate is employed, not looking for a new opportunity BUT they would their interest would be piqued by an attractive proposition. They are different for the "employed but curious" subset of the active market but when you add them to the passive talent, this group accounts for three quarters (75%) of the workforce.
As a hirer, a passive candidate is attractive because they are less likely to be interviewing with anyone else, they weren't even looking until you came along, so you have a head start. 60% of the workforce is passive, not looking for a new gig, but they would consider discussing a new opportunity - so how do you attract them? Proactive sourcing is key, partner with a specialist IT Project recruiter, deploy Boolean searches and REALLY get good at playing social media are your three main areas to access talent in this group.
Playing social media takes some time and effort but can pay huge rewards. Look out for tell-tale signs that a prospect is considering their career, changes to their social media profile, posts that betray a desire to switch jobs or when they tidy up their LinkedIn CV or how they present themselves on social media. Any change you notice is a great ice breaker for an approach. Again, be clear on why your organisation is the place to work and when introducing yourself be sure to include your thinking on why they would be the perfect fit both for the role and your company culture.
4 - All Out Ultra Super Mega Passive Candidates (15%)
You leave these guys, right?
When searching for passive candidates, you will come across talent who are sooooooo happy in their gig, soooooo aligned with their organisation’s culture, sooooooo buzzed by their projects, that they won't even entertain the thought of leaving.
Cool! You want someone like that on YOUR team. After their polite rejection, don't waste the opportunity to broker a relationship. Ask them for feedback about your approach, your role, their perception of your organisation. Ask if they know anyone else who would be as good a fit as you believe they are.
Start a conversation, it may yield some new connections (rock stars hang out together). Actually, I've often seen "tell us how to attract a star project leader like you" eventually lead to the hiring of the 'All-Out Ultra Super Mega Passive Candidate' you wanted in the first place. Worth doing!
Play it cool, casual and friendly, the more communication you can have with this talent group, the more likely they will warm to you, want to know more about you and crucially contact you when they DO fancy a change.
So, it's not just about active vs passive anymore. In a candidate driven market, where demand is outstripping available resources, you need to bring YOUR ‘A game’ to the recruitment process.
Project qualifications remain an important factor in the recruitment process, however, the biggest influencer and the most sought-after skills continue to be for those project professionals with genuine leadership skills. Specific technical skills can be difficult to find, but comparatively easy to teach. However, finding a Project Manager, who can genuinely lead a team and manage your senior stakeholders is more challenging. These individuals are enjoying the benefits of a candidate driven market earning salary and perk packages that limit their desire to move on. They just aren't looking for the job you're advertising but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be interested. You just have to be better at attracting their attention!
At Access Talent we have produced a brief guide to some of the key elements to consider when recruiting your IT Project team. It's a good place to start.
Seriously consider sourcing talent through a specialist IT Project recruiter. A professional, specialist recruiter can offer the best candidates, pre-screened to fit your culture. Remember only a quarter of talent is active, of those that aren't, 45% would talk to a recruiter - maybe you should too.
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