A Blueprint for Equitable Tech Talent Development from the MN Tech Workforce Summit 

A Blueprint for Equitable Tech Talent Development from the MN Tech Workforce Summit
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Since the middle of the 20th century, the world has been in the age of information. During this era, mankind has seen the rapid improvements on technology and electronic devices.

Everywhere you look, there is always a form of technology, whether it’s a simple household appliance in your home or the open laptop on your desk. The evolution of technology is continuous as it’s paramount in every sector and field of expertise.

Technology is ever-evolving so the industry that surrounds it is also consistently expanding. Although this development produces a lot of job opportunities for people, it also prompts the question “Are there enough people for the positions being offered?”

Meeting the Growing Demand for Technology-Related Jobs

According to a survey conducted by CompTIA in 2022, technology-related employment is expected to grow at a rate of twice the overall employment across the economy within ten years. Jobs like data scientists, cybersecurity specialists, and software developers are expected to produce jobs at a rate of over 200 percent.

With this issue in mind, Joel Crandall, the Vice President of Programs at the Minnesota Technology Association, gave a speech discussing how to equitably double the number of technologists in their state in ten years.

This speech was conducted in November 2022 at the Minnesota Tech Workforce Summit. He spoke about how schools and companies can help improve the rate of available tech talents. But before you dive into the ideas said, you have to first ask the question…

 

What does ‘Equitable Tech Talent Development’ actually mean? 

According to the dictionary, ‘equitable’ is being fair and impartial when dealing with an issue or situation. Using this definition in the context of tech talent development, being equitable means including all groups of people in the process of developing technological talent pools.

The technology workforce is currently dominated by men of the same race. In order to create equitability within the tech industry, 54 percent of women need to be included. Both 63 percent of Hispanic people and 56 percent of LatinX can contribute to the development. Also, 34 percent of African Americans should be hired to fill in the increasing number of tech-related job opportunities.

With the percentages mentioned, around 33,000 new technologists can be immediately welcomed into the pipeline of the technological industry.

 

What now? 

As employers or hiring managers, you may be wondering how you can use the information discussed to help in developing an equitable tech talent pool within your company. What could be the possible takeaways you can get from the speech delivered about tech talent development?

 

1. Build your brand.

More than just a marketing strategy, your brand reflects your company’s identity. It includes the roots of your company as well as its foundations. Everything about your organization can be seen within your brand.

To attract potential candidates, it is important for you to introduce your values and objectives. This would help attract people with specific principles aligned with the company’s own core values. If workers uphold the same ideologies as the company, they are more likely to remain dedicated to their work and involved within the office.

Remember that your brand is what potential candidates often check first so make sure that it is welcoming for them. How can you do so without compromising the quality of employees? Easy. Create job descriptions and responsibilities that have measurable outcomes.

No employee would be eager to apply for jobs with mountains of work and unreasonable tasks. In order to convince candidates to apply, you need to help them picture themselves in the job position. Attaching attainable goals and objectives to the job details can help candidates visualize themselves as your employees.

Once they have visualized themselves having the position, the next step is imagining themselves working in your organization. This is where your office culture becomes important. Some questions your potential employees might be asking are:

 

      • What is a normal work day like? This is important since employees want to know what their professional life will be like. This is your chance to show them the possible experiences they can have whether during onboarding or on a typical Tuesday at the office. Other skills like collaboration or independence can also be emphasized through your office culture.

 

      • How does the company treat its employees? Employees tend to join companies that are empathetic to their needs and are willing to accommodate them to a certain extent. For example, some people require flexible working hours and goal-oriented tasks. Other people base their decision to apply on the offered salary. To some extent, your company needs to be transparent to attract potential hires and improve your tech talents.

 

2. Build your workforce using the skill-based approach.

To create a more equitable workforce, research suggests that using a skill-based approach is the best technique any organization can utilize. Choosing candidates based on skills has statistically shown better job results when compared to choosing employees based on degrees alone.

Focusing on the skills of the candidates allows you to equitably hire people based on their talents and diverse experiences. Other matters such as where they live or what school they graduated from are no longer the only criteria to depend on when establishing equitable tech talent development.

Being open to people from all walks of life not only promotes inclusion and diversity but also greatly increases the number of potential candidates. This ultimately leads to better and perfectly fit employees for your job opening.

To ensure that you are using a skill-based approach, follow the steps below:

 

a. When recruiting, remove degree requirements from the job qualifications. Instead, use descriptions that are not focused solely on a graduate degree or years of experience but rather on the particular skills needed for the role. This allows more potential candidates who have the skills needed to apply to your company.

 

b. Inform possible candidates that you are using a skill-based approach to hiring. This means explicitly saying that you will allow anyone—from degree holders to those without—to apply for open positions that match their skill sets.

 

c. Allow your company to source candidates from channels that are not usually your target. For example, if your usual targets are graduates from a certain university, try to reach out to other colleges that offer the same degree. Finding new community-based organizations that have potential candidates is also a possibility when sourcing potential employees.

 

Remember, equitable development means giving opportunities to the minority of the tech talent pool. This is done with the hope of having equal numbers for each demographic which will automatically increase the number of technologists. To do so, opening opportunities to people who don’t usually receive them is a must.

 

3. Build and nurture your connections.

The need for replacing technologists is one of the contributing factors to the lack of tech talents. One of the best ways to solve this is to prioritize candidates in your current workforce.

According to research done by inLearning, 94 percent of entry-level employees have more chances of staying with their company if the latter shows interest in their career growth. This means that your company needs to invest in the advancement and retention of employees.

Advancement and retention can be done by offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities to maintain a good pipeline of skilled workers. To attract more candidates, these steps need to be pre-planned and included in your job descriptions or interviews.

Similar to entry-level workers, candidates are more likely to apply to companies that value their path to success. They will not worry about being stagnant since you already have their career path in mind when offering opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills.

By treating your current and future workers with respect, you are already ensuring an equitable growth for tech talent development for your company.

 

As an employer or hiring manager, it is on you to strive to recognize the skills of candidates and nurture them with the proper programs and training. Being able to provide opportunities for every skilled individual is necessary to build an inclusive and equitable technological working force.

 

ON DEMAND GROUP IS READY TO HELP YOU BUILD AN AUTHENTIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THE RIGHT CANDIDATES

Here at ODG, we strive to connect you to skillful individuals that meet your expectations. Want to start building an equitable workforce? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

 

References:

  1. “Joel Crandall Gives an Update on the State of Tech at the Minnesota Tech Workforce Summit.” Youtube, uploaded by Minnesota Technology Association, 16 Nov. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCmtWDfQAx8
  1. Beasley, Kevin & Forbes Technology Council. “How To Navigate The IT Talent Acquisition Landscape In 2023.” Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2023/01/27/how-to-navigate-the-it-talent-acquisition-landscape-in-2023/?sh=38898c416e4d
  1. Berwick, Beth & Calhoun Annaliese. “Skills-Based Hiring Is Just The Beginning.” Forbes, 1 Dec. 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2022/12/01/skills-based-hiring-is-just-the-beginning/?sh=792c869e3396
  1. Hanson, Jonathan & Forbes Agency Council. “Brand Identity: Discovering Who You Are Is The Point.” Forbes, 23 Jun. 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/06/23/brand-identity-discovering-who-you-are-is-the-point/?sh=30084f12310b
  1. Laker, Benjamin. “Tech Developments In Every Sector, And The Innovators Leading The Way.” Forbes, 21 Feb. 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminlaker/2022/02/21/tech-developments-in-every-sector-and-the-innovators-leading-the-way/?sh=763eb89e4a39
  1. The Computing Technology Industry Association. “State of the Workforce.” CompTIA, March 2022. https://www.comptia.org/content/research/state-of-the-tech-workforce
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