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5 reasons why it’s hard to find talent

Written by Astrid Roest on 12 January 2017 for Clients

24% of all companies are experiencing a talent shortage, as shown by a ManpowerGroup survey conducted amongst 751 employers in May 2015.

Skilled blue-collar workers and commercial profiles are the hardest to find. But IT talent doesn’t exactly grow on trees, either: IT specialists come in sixth place on the list of shortage occupations in Belgium.

Why is it so hard to find talent?

Here are the five most important reasons that interviewees give to explain this:

  • lack of technical competency (hard skills): 51%
  • lack of available candidates, or no candidates: 35%
  • lack of experience: 27%
  • personality/deployability (soft skills): 17%
  • insufficiently attractive salaries: 10%

At Exellys, we recognise these reasons immediately. What’s more, they’re our very raison d’être. It’s no accident that our motto is Bridging the gap.

Here’s how we take up these challenges, one by one:

Reason 1: Lack of technical competency

What Exellys does: technical training

We understand it only all too well. Unfortunately, recent graduates still don’t have all the technical baggage in order to become immediately operational.

With our Start Smart Program, we turn young potentials into real top professionals.

Each individual consultant receives custom-tailored technical training. Because scientific research has demonstrated that this produces the fastest results, we combine several learning methods:

  • online or computer-based training
  • seminars with experts
  • self-study
  • classroom training
  • certification tracks

All of our consultants have to be certified in their specific field. So they not only learn what they’ll need on the job, but also develop the ability to go wider and deeper and to use best practices.

Our four competence centres cover virtually all of the important IT areas, so we can train our consultants very broadly and deploy them in different roles and positions. The competence centres are:

  1. Software development: Java, .NET, Oracle, Mainframe, Web, Mobile
  2. Application integration: BI, Big Data, EAI, ERP, CRM, Collaboration
  3. Infrastructure: OS, Networking, Security, Storage, DBA
  4. Business Services: Project management, Service delivery management, Business analysis, Enterprise architecture

Exellys consultants choose their area of specialty themselves, because we believe that their intrinsic motivation is extremely important. A well-motivated consultant performs much better, and that produces a real win-win situation.

We define the precise content of this training together with you, so we know for sure that ‘your’ top talent will have all the skills you’re looking for.

Reason 2: Lack of available candidates, or no candidates

What Exellys does: intensive recruitment and positioning

At Exellys, we’re constantly on the lookout for the most promising IT talents. We maintain close contacts with universities, colleges and student associations. Moreover, we are prominently present at job fairs. In this way we managed to speak to no fewer than 1000 of the 1800 IT students in their final year of study.

What happens when we come across a candidate consultant? He or she is invited to enter into our selection process – which is quite stringent. It’s no accident that our clients expect the leaders of the future. A consultant must also be capable of learning a great deal in a short amount of time. Because we want our consultants to become operational as quickly as possible.

Our offer is well-attuned to the needs and demands of young starters, so we can find people more easily than other companies.

Reason 3: Lack of experience

What Exellys does: the Future Leaders Academy

Work experience merely a matter of time? We have a different view on this. Someone who is properly accompanied will more quickly build up the experience that is needed in order to become cost-effective.

But most companies aren’t set up to do that themselves. Many HR departments are primarily occupied with administration and with attracting talent, and too little with developing and integrating that talent once it’s in house. And some even find investing in talent a waste of time, because young people are supposedly job hoppers (something that doesn’t really appear to be the case…). In this way, unfortunately, the ‘gap’ between graduates and companies remains far too wide.

In practice, ‘lack of experience’ often comes down to a lack of specific technical knowledge and ‘business skills’ (something students don’t learn at school). Every Exellys consultant is therefore put through the Future Leaders Academy:

Our consultants not only receive theory, they also practice with targeted exercises. So it isn’t a free-floating programme: they are truly immersed in the subject matter, so that they can then apply it in practice.

Moreover, their performances are constantly being evaluated, so they learn much faster than without accompaniment.

Reason 4: Personality/deployability

What Exellys does: coaching on three levels

Those who graduate and start a job suddenly find themselves in a whole new context. Business has little to do with the student life-world.

Moreover, a starter is confronted with a host of vital questions:

  • What can I do?
  • What do I want?
  • Where do I wish to go?

But also:

  • How does the business world work?
  • What do they expect from me?
  • What are the unwritten rules?
  • What do I have to do in order to be successful in my job?

This is why every Exellys consultant is coached right from the start by an experienced manager, who works out a Personal Development Plan and – together with the client – defines Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). So that the young consultant can grow in the right direction.

We also explore what subjects truly fascinate and energise a consultant. In this way we develop the career that fits him or her best. Once again a win-win, for both you and the consultant.

The coaching is done on three levels: project, career and evaluation.

Our method thus bundles together the management of talent, competences and performances. We put personal and professional development first, which is something that scores very well with young people. It is clear and transparent and it offers them a framework they can rely on.

Reason 5: Insufficiently attractive salaries

What Exellys does: correct salaries based on surveys

10% of the respondents indicate that they cannot offer the salary to attract the right talent.

  • But our experience is that, with starters, remuneration is virtually never the number one consideration. Of course money counts. But at least as important are:
  • a career perspective
  • personal and professional development
  • a good atmosphere
  • and the freedom to take initiatives

That being said, at Exellys we base our pay packages on the largest annual survey in the IT sector. So we can be certain that they’re correct.

With us you can also rest assured when it comes to salary. Before we place a consultant with you, we discuss in complete openness the financial conditions at the end of the process. So it can’t happen that you invest two years and, after that, a hiring appears to be too expensive.

This is what Belfius Insurance and Atos have to say about Exellys

Take a look at what Koen Beelen (Account Manager, Belfius Insurance) and Jo Wymeersch (Director of System Integration, Atos) have to say about their collaboration with Exellys.