New ways of working and a change in consumer habits driven by COVID have put pressure on organisations to be more agile and digitally focused. In response, technology has been at the forefront of executive level conversations across all industries.

We were keen to gather more data on the impact on the tech sector, so in March 2020, Randstad Technologies surveyed 1,014 male and female decision makers involved in the tech sector to reveal the challenges they face when it comes to sourcing talent. We matched this survey to our 2020 Randstad Employer Brand Research that looks at the needs of Australian tech workers, to give a complete picture on both sides of the war on talent.

Our survey results clearly show that tech leaders feel there are gaps in how the sector attracts talent. But they believe that by focusing on what tech workers want, and collaborating with government and education providers, organisations can win the war on talent today and build a pipeline for the future.

Positively, we found that Australian workers perceive tech as both the most attractive sector to work in and the sector most positively impacted by COVID-19. Despite this, more than half of the respondents (56%) making hiring decisions within the tech industry frequently interviewed candidates who didn’t possess the correct skills for the role they were recruiting for. COVID-19 has accelerated the importance of technology and digital transformation which highlights the increasing importance of education and upskilling.

What’s more, for job seekers looking to get into the  tech sector the onus seems to be on them to do the leg work. More than half of tech leaders (52%) acknowledged that they expect good talent to come to the industry rather than actively seeking out skilled candidates. In a candidate short market, the industry needs to do more to attract high calibre talent by building a strong employer brand. 

Leaders in the sector report they are keen to focus on both short and long-term solutions that ensure the sector remains and increases its appeal, such as through Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, further investment in education and government support. Combined, these strategies take a more holistic view to build Australia’s tech skills.  

Tech leaders believe that diversity also plays a role in attracting candidates within the tech industry, with 63 per cent of tech leaders believing a stronger gender balance would make the sector more appealing, and more than half (58%) feeling the tech industry is dominated by men. 60 per cent also noted that diversity in general, would benefit Australia’s tech sector. 

Many feel not enough is being done to promote the tech industry, with 67% of tech leaders believing the government has a role to play but is instead prioritising other sectors and not doing enough for the tech industry (61%). 

Of those surveyed, 56 per cent feel that educational offerings in Australia aren’t right for the skills they recruit for, while 59 per cent noted that too much emphasis is put on traditional vocational routes over tech. 

Our survey also provides insight into the perceptions of tech workers. With the ever changing nature of coronavirus shifting daily, the research highlights that employers can be doing more to future proof Australia's tech industry by meeting the needs of talent today. 

The sector itself identified five key areas that employees most value when choosing a company to work for. 

  1. Using the latest tech available.
  2. Being financially healthy.
  3. Providing attractive salaries.
  4. Maintaining a good reputation.
  5. Offering interesting work. 

To attract talent in the short term, tech companies should address and promote a company culture that embodies these values.

As organisations strive to build out their tech capabilities it is critical that the industry collaborates to resolve these systemic issues that block talent from joining the sector. It’s positive that leaders in the space are keen to focus on education and upskilling initiatives. In the meantime, to win the war on talent today, leaders can look to the findings within the Employer Brand Research to build an employer value proposition and close the gap with the needs and wants of Australia’s tech workers.