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The Current Reality of Recruiting Transformation and Technical Professionals in NZ

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Recruiting high performing people in the NZ market has always had its challenges. Arguably the most significant being the small nature of our talent pools. In the current market, with the likes of digital transformation continuing to influence the types of skills that clients are recruiting, recruitment processes have had to evolve with the times. Subject matter experts are becoming less desirable to clients and we are witnessing the rise of the ‘expert generalist’ or the ‘T-Shaped’ individual.

What Does This Mean to Candidates?

In the traditional IT Landscape, we would source specialist skill sets that are fit for purpose such as Network Engineers, Testers, Database Administrators, Developers and so on. Within the modern market, we are seeing high performing candidates contribute to multiple product or service environments. Specifically, a Business Analyst may have some testing abilities, so once their analysis is done, the same person (and their domain knowledge) can be rolled back into the product or service team in a testing element, delivering an additional contribution to the same team without the need to recruit again.

What Has This Done to Job Descriptions and Requirements?

Job descriptions are evolving naturally with the changing technologies (which is not new). However, what is new in transformation is the expanding list of desired skill sets. The “standard” requirement was yesterday. Today, we want more diverse offerings from candidates. Companies are concerned with putting all their IP into single resources, hence the rise of the “expert generalist”. 

The impact on job descriptions is significant, with employers thinking ahead of time and attempting to spearhead the needs of products and services earlier in the process than historically seen. It is now common for technology agnostic people to be requested. For example, in Developers, they want Node and .Net Core for the back end; in Network Engineers they want CISCO and Huawei; and in Cloud they seek AWS, Azure and private Cloud experience. The realities of their requirements are different, in that, when planning to deploy a product or service, the original intent may be to deploy via Azure. However, that roadmap has yet to be finalised, so our clients seek the knowledge to challenge their intent and put forward a business case presenting what could be a better solution.

Steve Jobs said it best: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people, so they can tell us what to do.”

What Does it Mean for Hiring Managers?

From a recruitment perspective, hiring managers almost need to create two requirement lists, being “must haves/mission critical” and “additional/desirable” skill sets. To be clear, they need to identify what they need and what could potentially be of use throughout the service or product lifecycle, which stands true for both contract and permanent resources. It also, to some extent, future proofs the skill sets being hired.

Many roles that are now common in the market did not exist as little as five to 10 years ago, e.g. Mobile Developers, Web Developers, DevOps and Security have all developed into mainstream roles. I wonder what roles will exist within the next decade? Will Blockchain do as I, and many others, expect it to, becoming a commercial powerhouse solution? Will something else enter the market making it redundant before it takes off? What is the next storage solution after Cloud? Will development replace TIN skill sets entirely as they are digitised?

With all these questions and ideas being on the minds of Strategic IT &Transformation leaders, we are seeing two significant changes: the creation of new roles and the demise of older ones. To be at the cutting edge of talent attraction, as employers we need to be concerned with the opportunity we are presenting to the talent market. 

Closing Thoughts

Is your organisation conscious of these changes? We would love to hear your thoughts as our market changes, literally in front of our eyes! Recruitment is certainly changing with the times and we’re seeing soft skills become more of a priority than technical skills. How does your organisation identify high performing members of current teams, as well as potential employees?

Yesterday is done, today is current, and tomorrow is not here yet! What will your job description look like next year? Change is here and what an exciting time it is.