Tom Moxon, head of Resourcing Services at I.T. Alliance, an Auxilion company, offers his insights on the results of I.T. Alliance and Censuswide’s recent survey of Irish office workers.
I.T. Alliance’s recent workplace survey, conducted with Censuswide, revealed that a remarkable 37% of workers intend on changing jobs this year. It’s a stark statistic. I don’t recall a level of planned movement at anything like this level before. In Generation Z, 44% of respondents stated that they intend to change job this year. That’s a huge proportion of that part of the workforce. It’s vital for organisations to prepare for losing people this year and into next year. Burying your head in the sand and assuming everyone is happy won’t cut it. It’s essential to be proactive.
Proactivity & preparation
So, what exactly does that mean? It means making contingency plans and actively strengthening working relationships with resourcing partners and service suppliers. Particularly after two years of the pandemic, I would strongly recommend that organisations make efforts to go out and meet partners to discuss plans and re-establish relationships.
Strengthening these relationships will allow you to discuss plans, priorities, and challenges for the year ahead. All that rich intelligence is critical for partners to understand because it feeds directly into resourcing strategy. If a partner understands your plans and requirements, they can sell your organisation in the market more effectively. That gives your business a stronger attraction for jobseekers and candidates who are potentially seeking a move.
Gaps in productivity
A lack of preparation will leave you reactive. When somebody valuable tells you that they’re leaving your business and you aren’t prepared, you’re immediately working against the clock to replace them. That can lead to gaps in productivity. Based on the survey responses, it’s evident that organisations could be left coping with multiple situations like this simultaneously. This can lead to delayed project delivery and pipelines of work building up. Particularly for IT stakeholders, it can lead to a failure to deliver because of resource shortages. It can also lead to recruiting candidates that aren’t ideal fits because of time pressure or limited pools.
The only way to avoid gaps in productivity like this is to make contingency plans and to have pipelines of candidates ready. That means collaborating with resourcing partners to identify potential requirements ahead of time. It’s an extremely tight labour market right now- probably the tightest we’ve seen since the mid-2000s. We absolutely need to take that seriously and prepare accordingly.
You never know when people are thinking of leaving- they don’t tend to shout it from the rooftops! You can think people are very happy sometimes, and then an opportunity elsewhere presents itself which is too good to refuse, and they’re out the door before you know it. This is never ideal, but with the right preparation it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Be proactive, reconnect with past partners, prepare for all eventualities.
We’re spending a lot of time with our customers right now, having conversations about what the future holds, what challenges they’re facing, how all that threads into their resourcing strategies. One of the biggest questions facing CIOs, CEOs, MDs of organisations is, ‘Where is the talent coming from to meet the demand of the future?’ You need to think about how you’re going to attract the quality of candidate you’ll need.
“One of the biggest questions facing CIOs, CEOs, MDs of organisations is, ‘Where is the talent coming from to meet the demand of the future?”
Value of resourcing partners
Another clear finding from the survey is that people who are engaged with resourcing companies see significant value in these engagements. A good resourcing partner streamlines the entire recruitment process, from sourcing and screening candidates to interviewing and onboarding. This makes the process much quicker and more reliable.
From the moment you identify a resourcing requirement, a resourcing partner can link you in with suitable candidates and handle the recruitment process for you. This is a far better option than simply waiting for suitable candidates to respond to job adverts.
One point I would really emphasise is that the vast majority of good candidates are in work at the moment. Particularly in IT, there’s virtually zero unemployment. Everyone is busy with their day jobs, they’re not necessarily trawling job boards. A partner who has a pool of suitable candidates ready to go can immediately connect you with good candidates.
Organisations are usually busy delivering projects. Very rarely do they get the opportunity to step back and fully assess their resourcing situation. They’ll often have comprehensive project plans. However, the main thing that holds up a project is the availability of people. It’s not often the technology that slows things down these days. It’s unavailability of people with the necessary expertise to deliver a project. This makes it essential to have a quality resourcing strategy behind a project- including contingency plans. It also means understanding when you’re likely to need that bit of extra support, such as bringing in a few extra contractors for a period to deliver a project.
The survey also demonstrates how much employee expectations have changed in recent years, particularly with regard to hybrid working. 54% of respondents want a hybrid model, with a remarkable 25% stating that they would leave their job if they were expected to work in office full-time. There was a time when the companies that had the ‘coolest’ offices, that offered free food and other perks, were winning. But if most employees will be working from home most of the time, those advantages are drastically reduced. Jobseekers really want to see what organisations are about.
Companies must be prepared to work hard to land the candidates they want: if they’re good, they’re likely to have multiple offers on the table. We’re seeing that in our own work. There was a point when we went six months with a 100% acceptance rate. Every offer we provided to a contractor was accepted. In the last six months, we’ve seen that creeping down towards about 80%. Candidates have had other opportunities that have paid better, offered more flexibility, more longevity, etc.
It’s a candidate driven market. Some companies still want to believe that they hold the aces, and stall approval for offers, etc. But it’s necessary to align yourself to the market and to accept that things have changed. This includes costs increasing. There’s a shortage of good candidates and it’s driving up costs and expectations.
Prospective employees also have different standards in other areas. Nice offices and workplace perks have been replaced by flexibility. If an organisation isn’t offering flexibility, they’ll have people refusing or leaving roles. That’s just the reality, perhaps outside a few major organisations with the muscle to dictate that employees have to be in the office five days a week. Most organisations will lose people if they choose to go down that road.
Look after what you have
It’s also essential to look after the employees you already have and to respond to their priorities. The survey shows a clear desire for support with upskilling and relevant training, with 83% of respondents stating that they would like to be offered upskilling and training this year. If people aren’t getting that, they’ll be looking to move on. Talented employees want to be challenged and to develop new skills. They don’t want to reach a ceiling and feel like there’s nowhere else to go or to develop within an organisation.
It’s a new working world. However, by proactively responding to this, your business can make the adjustment successfully. Make the right preparations and contingency plans. Engage with your partners. And work to understand the priorities of the employees you already have.