Category Archives: Compensation & Benefits

Guest Post: Don’t fall victim to the technology talent ticking time bomb

With my limited spare time due to circumstances I’ve decided to engage in a blogging phenomenon called ‘Guest posts’. Today, I’m publishing the very first of these posts, courtesy of Thomsons Online Benefits.

I don’t want to deprive my readers of content because of my busy schedule, so I’m very pleased to write this short introduction to the post below. It’s not what I usually write about, but it is certainly an extremely interesting subject that has a lot of HR professionals scratching their heads. The article below sheds some light on said subject and offers a solution. I hope you enjoy it, and please, if you have any remarks or things to add feel free to do so in the comment section. After all, HR isn’t an exact science and some discussion could be to both our benefits.

Don’t fall victim to the technology talent ticking time bomb

It is hardly a secret that the IT industry is one of the quickest-growing areas of recruitment at a time when employment in many sectors has near enough ground to a halt.

The increasing reliance on technology means that the industry is constantly in demand of the bright young things who are going to be its next innovators. Indeed, recruitment professionals are forecasting employment of IT professionals will grow at nearly twice the UK average per annum in the years leading up to 2020.

In fact, one in 20 workers in the UK are currently employed in the IT and telecoms sector – a large percentage of the country’s workforce.

Despite this, it seems that all may not be well in paradise! Recent research from Thomsons Online Benefits has found that the majority of Generation Y employees are looking to switch jobs within the next two years. Such statistic is bound to concern HR professionals and get them to re-think the employee benefits schemes they offer. In an industry like IT, where experience is paramount, losing long-serving employees effectively means that businesses would lose years of investment in employee training.

So what happens when you try to hire new people to fill these vacancies left by former dissatisfied workers? Well, according to recent statistics there is simply no-one there to take on the job. Half of recruiters have said that they find filling positions in the IT and telecoms industry a challenge.

So, how can recruitment and retention be improved?

With employees in the IT and telecoms sector looking elsewhere for jobs, and no-one willing to fill the positions they leave, employers clearly need to tackle the issue of recruitment and employee retention. But how can they do this?

Well, it has been found that 73 per cent of employees consider other things more important than salary when looking to move job roles, indicating that employers who review their employee benefits package could see their recruitment and retention take a turn for the better.

Despite the importance of employee benefits and the effect improving them could have on many companies, there is a serious mismatch when it comes to the benefits schemes desired by employees and those actually offered by employers.

For example, while around 70 per cent of employees’ identify flexible working as one of the most important employee benefits, just fewer than 60 per cent of businesses actually offer these. On the other end of the spectrum, just ten per cent of employees named private medical cover as one of the top employee benefits they look for, but over 70 per cent of companies offered these.

Employers in the technology sector are clearly failing to do what they need to do when it comes to engaging their workforce, thereby cutting their chances of losing out on the best talent that could take their company to the top. Simply looking at the desires of employees, and shaping their employee benefits packages accordingly, could really help to turn this worrying trend around.

About the Author

Thomsons Online Benefits are experienced in flexible benefits scheme design, pensions and employee communication, our team of highly experienced consultants develop innovative programmes with clients that maximise the value of their reward spend.

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What Millennials really want but often don’t get

Employers and Millennials often have differences in the workplace. That is because employers are mostly older people over the age of 40. They’re set in different ways and have hold true to different values than the younger Millennials. I hate to speak in age categories or generations but it is a good way to highlight the differences between various groups in the workplace.

A recent survey by UNIZO, the organization I currently work for, shows that 6 in 10 entrepreneurs has negative feelings about the so-called Generation Y. They say that young professionals have unrealistic demands in terms of salary and other facilities in the workplace.

Almost 40% of the questioned entrepreneurs believes that Millenials have unrealistic demands in terms of salary, flexibility and working hours. One fifth states that young employees are not motivated enough. Furthermore, the majority (78%) agrees that young employees choose their private lives over their work and almost 53% thinks it’s a disaster that they are not prepared to bind themselves to one employer for life.

I find that these results don’t really surprise me. There have always been differences between different age groups and it hasn’t changed in the past few years. The cliché “Kids these days … “ is used frequently (and by every generation I might add). The only thing that surprised me is that more than 50% of the questioned entrepreneurs still want employees to chain themselves to one employer for an extended period of time. I was under the impression that this was a thing from the past and that employers wanted to have a certain amount of turnover to add some diversity and a pair of fresh eyes to the workplace. Anyway, that is out of the scope of this article.

But are the demands of Millennials really that unrealistic and absurd? What do they (we) really want? Well, one thing is loud and clear. We want Facebook, Twitter and smartphones. We’ve grown up with them and consider them an extension of ourselves, it would be wrong to deny us access to social media when we rely on it for so much. And quite frankly, if employers don’t give us access to social media, we’ll find an employer that will. Simple as that.

This is a major finding from the annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report which surveyed 1 400 college students and 1 400 young professionals under the age of 30. The report states:

 “The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance.  The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary.”

For 33% of all respondents, the ability to use social media, bring their own tech devices for use at work and work remotely (be it from home or different offices) are more important to them than salary. I can definitely find myself in these numbers. I would gladly accept a job that pays me less but offers me more in terms of facilities and freedom. Flexibility in terms of device choice, social media and working out-of-office is the key here.

So the statement about having unrealistic salary demands doesn’t appear to be true, what we do want is to be paid accord to our job. And really, I found that our salary demands are quite realistic because we recognize the fact that we can’t start on an executive level and that we need to work our way up the ladder just like anyone else. I think this is just a case of a few rotten apples if I may be so blunt, people remember only the bad things. That’s just the way it is.

Anyway, back to technology. Us Millennials don’t hesitate to make our technology demands known. Almost two-thirds ask about the social media policy during a job interview. And it would appear that companies are in fact listening to these demands: 41% of the employed respondents say their companies promote a flexible device and social media policy specifically catered to recruit young professionals.

But there is more, Millennials want to use company devices for personal use. Mixing business and pleasure is part of our lifestyle (and frankly, it would be rather silly that you still have to buy your own laptop and smartphone while you already have one for work). Furthermore, 80% would like to choose the device they use at work, by bringing a personal device or by getting money from the organization to buy their own work devices.

Either way, If you’re banning personal social media use at work, you probably already know it’s not working, but this study confirms it: More than half of respondents say if a company prohibits social media access on the job, they either wouldn’t work there, or would figure out a way to get around the policy (by using their own smartphone for social networking, for example)

Of course, policies need to be set to ensure that company devices and data are safe. You need to make sure that ALL employees (of all ages) understand and follow them. But as this survey shows, if your policies are too draconian they will blow up in your face and you will lose your competitive advantage to more progressive and flexible companies.

Instead, all companies (both large and small alike) should harness the tech savvy that Millennials bring along with them. Smart businesses are already doing so: Nearly 33 percent of the respondents who had jobs say their familiarity with social media and ability to use devices contributed to their hiring.

In any case it will cost time, money and effort, but the results will be more than satisfying and will help you keep or build a competitive advantage and prepare for the future.

Niels Van Hellemont

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