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The digital skills shortage remains a critical concern for UK businesses of all sizes. As tech skills become ever more indispensable, with 84 percent of firms acknowledging that they need digitally adept staff more now than two years ago, according to a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce.

These shortfalls are having considerable impact on businesses’ productivity and day-to-day operations, including higher operations costs, heavier workloads for existing employees and issues with meeting customers’ demands.  While there’s no quick fix solution to this complex problem, there are some solid steps businesses can take to tackle it:

 

Invest in retraining

While companies often understandably focus on recruiting new staff in order to plug their skills gaps, it can be easy to overlook the potential benefits of retraining existing team members.  Aside from the obvious advantages to equipping current workers with much needed expertise, a well structured retraining program leads to energised and engaged employees who take an increased interest in the fortunes of the whole company as well as their individual role.

 

Embrace Knowledge Sharing

Employing a scalable, flexible workforce is crucial for any organisation who wants to stay on top of the digital skills shortage.  Offshoring, outsourcing and making use of short term contractors as well as employed consultants all bring in fresh perspectives and knowledge – the right combination of skills is out there if you’re prepared to put the energy into a more flexible recruitment strategy.

 

Look beyond the usual recruitment channels

Employers who insist on only recruiting candidates from the most recognised universities with obvious qualifications are seriously limiting themselves.  Looking for more diverse talent from less obvious institutions enables firms to build a stronger, more creative team with a fruitful range of perspectives – crucial attributes if you want to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment.

 

Involve your existing team

You may not even need to look far to attract much-needed digital talent. Encouraging existing employees to identify potential recruits from their own circles through an employee referral program can pay huge dividends.  Employee-referred staff are often more satisfied at work and likely to stay longer with one company, and you’ll also give your current staff a sense of empowerment by enabling them to contribute to your firm’s future in a concrete way.

 

Get networking

We all know the power of networking when it comes to sourcing untapped tech talent, but there’s often more companies can do to really capitalise on their presence at networking events.  Look into partnering, sponsoring, exhibiting at and hosting relevant events to build productive relationships with promising candidates and increase your company’s brand awareness.