Tech jobs are in higher demand than ever, but the talent pool is growing at a much slower pace. Particularly as remote work becomes more standard, the IT talent shortage is hitting businesses hard as they look to source skills that enable necessary technologies from cloud and edge commuting to automation and continuous delivery.
This surge in demand for tech talent is only expected to grow in the coming years. Unfortunately, universities, the source of supply for most corporate hiring, simply can’t keep up with the need for skilled employees. According to a recent Gartner study, 64% of IT executives saw a talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to leveraging emerging technologies in 2021. This is a major challenge for businesses who want to remain innovative, lower costs, and build resilience in an ever-changing ecosystem. And on top of this striking lack of qualified candidates, STEM fields still face a notable lack of diversity across gender, race and class. The question: technology is constantly evolving — so why aren’t hiring strategies?
With an overwhelming need for tech skills, software giant SAP is betting that its ecosystem can rethink their hiring practices and succeed for it. By equipping workers of all backgrounds and skill sets with the tools they need to upskill for today’s market.
Accessing talent outside of the ivory tower
Businesses typically rely on top universities to train incoming tech talent. But as industries become increasingly digital and the demand for tech employees grows exponentially, it’s clear that companies need to look beyond their tried-and-true hiring practices. A traditional university degree might be a signal of capability, but these expensive degrees are often outdated as soon as they’re granted. Fortunately, employers are beginning to recognize that code assessments, badges, and certifications can offer more insight into a candidate’s capabilities than the institution they attended.
Focusing on non-traditional credentials is a gamechanger for jobseekers. To do its part, SAP has invested to expand the hiring pool for its customers. By granting trusted credentials, like certifications in the highly demanded SAP Integration Suite, and support from partners in job placement, the technology vendor is providing an onramp for members from across society to land one of the tens of thousands of open positions in the SAP ecosystem. If software companies across the globe follow suit, this focus on critical skill credentialing could be the solution to employ millions.
Addressing the diversity problem in tech
The traditional approach to hiring isn’t just an unsustainable way to meet growing tech demands. It also contributes to a lack of diversity in the field. Today, only 18% of computer science degrees in the US are earned by women, and STEM is known for its bias at the top of the funnel toward a predominantly white male population. And relying on universities for talent puts marginalized groups across race, gender and class at a disadvantage when it comes to entering the tech workforce.
Tech leaders have the chance to take ownership of their hiring practices — and it starts with training. Accessible education is an equalizer and gives anyone the opportunity to learn tech skills, not just people who have been told they could excel in STEM since primary or secondary school. Through flexible in-person and virtual self-paced learning, as well as alternative certification options, students at all levels can learn new technology skills and showcase their capabilities, regardless of educational backgrounds and schedule constraints.
To prove the opportunity, more than 400,000 displaced workers in Europe have gone through SAP’s short duration educational programs for the unemployed with an 80% placement rate into positions. In the United States, their programs support unemployed veterans and more than 99% of their graduates find roles. Max Wessel, Executive Vice President of SAP Learning, argued that more technology companies should follow suit. His argument: “fixing access to high quality employment is not a zero sum game. By changing how we educate, we all win.”
Low-code and no-code offerings help beginners thrive
Lastly, Wessel argues that businesses need to think differently about training. SAP is betting that they can fight the rising cost of developers in their ecosystem by training different types of employees. Leaders can look at new ways to train existing employees to become developers instead of recruiting external talent. Companies can turn previously overlooked candidates and current team members into software developers. SAP is among those investing heavily here with learning journeys targeted toward non-technical users that build fundamental concepts for application development, even for those with little-to-no experience writing code.
And these offerings aren’t just for newcomers: seasoned professionals can easily upskill with new courses and certifications rather than spending the time or money returning to school. From beginner courses that equip more people to become citizen developers to advanced courses for pros looking to expand their skill sets, SAP Learning offers an alternative to a traditional university education.
Between the talent shortage and a constantly evolving technology ecosystem, businesses need to adapt in order to hire the tech talent they need to keep up. Thankfully, there’s no longer one path to sourcing talent. With easy access to student training and critical resources, SAP Learning is expanding the talent pool and giving businesses a competitive advantage by helping them hire people well-equipped to successfully transform their digital infrastructures.