Every Changing Labor Force
Dynamics of the labor force for certain profession are changing in the Post COVID world. The view of working remotely greatly impacts productivity and collaboration has not proven true, technology has helped bridge the divide. Remote teams cannot fully replicate the dynamics of being in an office, providing structure and engagement that is difficult to replicate when at home. As many organizations have found ways to operated successfully in Remote and Hybrid teams it has changed the dynamics of the labor forces.
Many firms regardless of if they practice remote, hybrid or on-site work environment are struggling to recruit and keep talent. This is especially true in the tech fields. Large tech firms who want talent are no longer limiting themselves to talent near their campus I have personal seen talent in Canada and Eastern Europe being recruited, escalating wages and changing expectation for talent.
Given these headwinds we must ask ourselves how we face the challenge of developing a keeping talent over time. The easy way out is raising pay and competing with similar benefits, but that is not always an option that aligns with the corporate culture of many organizations. Oddly enough this challenge is not new or specific to the technology industry, it is very common many traditional trades like, electricians, plumbers and welders where in the US is facing a shortage for well over a decade.
The solution these industries have taken is recruiting entry level employees and creating a development track using a Journey man program, they build a foundation in school and go through on the job training to understand how to apply their skills and continue develop their expertise. There is a great opportunity for organization facing talent shortages to build these development programs leveraging entry level talent. I have seen programs used to develop data engineers from analysts that have python expertise and build their expertise in development and subject matter expertise in the energy industry. IBM has developed a robust program where they are able to pull in talent from Junior college or those that are changing career paths.
These types of programs take time to establish and does require upfront investment, but it will result in a strong, diverse team with mush greatly loyalty to the organization because they were given a chance to develop in a safe environment with a community invested in their success. I recommend starting off with desk side support team or other groups with good foundation skills and the ability to learn the business and create a development program for them to support back-office IT functions like System Admin and Network. For DevOps talent, it will require finding new recruits with the foundation developing skills and creating a more formalized program. If you have partners to support your development team you have be able to tap into their development program to test out approach before doing a larger scale investment.
With new challenges their will, be new opportunities. Thankfully many challenges are repeated in different forms and inspiration can be retrieved from our peers and history.