The Skills Gap is Real: Harnessing Talent in 2022 and Beyond

Leslie Schultz, Chief Marketing Officer

UST’s core values allow the company to face disruptions and uncover challenges and opportunities.

Leslie Schultz

Leslie Schultz, Chief Marketing Officer

Closing the global skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. (WEFORUM)

By 2030, the talent shortage and skills gap in the U.S. alone is expected to total a loss of $8.5 trillion. (PwC)

The digital skills gap comes at a cost. 14 G20 countries could miss out on $11.5 trillion cumulative GDP growth. (RAND/Salesforce)

The impact of COVID-19 on the economy has been devastating, not to mention how it has made the skills gap broader. On the one hand, worldwide IT spend is growing, and on the other, companies are struggling to find the right talent or retain them – and they are running out of time. Economic growth and digitization growth are expected to lead to a 9% IT spend increase in 2022.

Despite the increase in spend, the inability to find needed skills is the number one impediment to digital transformation.

The Skills Gap is Real

The new labor market is continually challenged by technological disruption, demographic change, and the evolving nature of work. The “skills gap” is fueled by a combination of factors, including advances in automation, AI, and other technologies. These advancements have changed day-to-day operations, and companies need candidates with the skills to interact with these new tech innovations. Though many companies are focusing on upskilling programs, time and resources are not on their side. Their pace is slow, and few can affect systemic change. 56% of hiring managers anticipate technological interventions like AI and other forms of workplace automation will cause a major shift in the kinds of skills they will need employees to possess. (Salesforce)

The labor crunch slows the adoption of cloud computing and digital business technologies, thus delaying transformation. Therefore, the widening skills gap is taking a toll on company performance, impacting revenues, productivity, and employee confidence. It is leading to project volatility and lowers transparency. As the PWC report mentioned above stated, closing the global skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. Companies that focus on blending technical and soft skills will fare better when adopting a flexible and evolving work environment.

Harnessing Talent

As early as January 2020, a McKinsey & Company report stated that 87% of companies worldwide would face a severe talent shortage. We are witnessing a tidal wave as a record number of people are quitting their jobs. "The Great Resignation," or as some call it, the "Great Reshuffling," is impacting companies and the workforce across the nation.

Are people simply leaving for greener pastures, or are there other reasons behind their decisions? Perhaps both.

Nearly one-third of employers surveyed agree that the skills gap has increased from a year ago. 87% of employers report they have trouble finding qualified candidates as a result. (Monster). Organizations need IT staff to fill the need for interpersonal/soft skills and technical/hard skills. Over three quarters (79%) of organizations are pursuing initiatives to address these gaps amid a tightening market for IT labor. (CompTIA)

On the other hand, employees themselves are similarly anxious about the widening skills gap, with 46 percent of those surveyed believing their current skill set will become irrelevant by 2024. (Degreed). But only 34 percent of workers surveyed feel supported by their organization’s skill development opportunities. (MIT and Deloitte). They are choosing to leave and join companies focused on upskilling, reskilling, and offering a continuous learning path.

Skilled workers are looking for companies that align with their values, interests, and career aspirations. The outdated aspects of traditional work arrangements are no longer accepted, and employers need to offer more than just a fair salary and basic benefits package. They need to reshape their workforce education and learning systems to retain top talent in today's environment. If employees feel that an organization is committed to their professional development, leading to tangible career outcomes, they will stay.

Retention is not a new challenge, but there are ways to minimize its impact in the face of recent events. Another way is to partner with a company that houses top talent and focuses on scalable, long-term outcomes. With more companies looking to outsource over 50% of their IT spend, choosing the right partner is very important.

Compelling Ways a Modern IT Organization Can Empower Its People

Many employees are assessing how they work and reflecting on why they work. They want jobs that offer better, stronger career trajectories. Companies that provide a healthy learning culture and career development lead to more committed employees and improve company performance. A recent report showed 94% of employees said investment in training and education is one of the primary reasons they would decide to stay in a role for longer.

Education is indeed the great equalizer. Offering life-changing education and opportunities is a meaningful way to articulate an actionable, realistic road map for career development. It puts organizations in a better position to retain top talent by making their people feel valued, investing in their development, and cultivating a sense of inclusiveness. However, employees want more. They want to be a part of a company culture that aligns with their expectations and values.

Values-Driven Talent

A company with strong value systems that focuses on its people and the ripple effects in their communities will draw more people towards them. When each employee imbibes the core values, it is reflected in their work and impacts client relationships and outcomes. They are a conduit to building enduring relationships and a culture of integrity.

Value-driven organizations that champion diversity and inclusion encourage innovation and truly transform lives. When working with clients, their people carry these same values, thus quietly impacting an ever-broadening scope of the people and communities they affect. They put clients and people before themselves. Therefore, clients can benefit from getting skilled top talent and working with people who become an extension of their business.

Tackling the Skills Gap for Clients: How does UST Make a Difference?

Digital transformation requirements are creating an urgency for technology talent around the globe. As the business world grapples with the skills shortage, we are putting innovative mechanisms to reduce that gap and create demand for specific skills in the market. We are investing more in our people around platforms and building more capabilities.

What may have taken a pandemic to effect change in others has just gotten better with companies that have strong core values. UST has been following the people-first approach from day one. The company’s core values of humility, humanity, and integrity are the foundations for every deliverable, every client and employee relation. They are an integral part of every UST associate. That strong value system extends in how they interact with clients and partners.

How UST’s Core Values Make a Lasting Impact

How It Impacts Employees- A Purpose-driven Approach

As a non-hierarchical organization, UST fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. New ideas are encouraged and rewarded, leading to deep commitment and passion in whatever they do. Associates do not look at clients as projects but innovate continuously to propel their growth by going the extra mile. This, in turn, has accelerated our growth and shown our customers why we are different.

The elements of customer and customer success are ingrained in everything we do. With UST's core values ingrained in them, associates remain flexible, committed, and focused on innovation and wellness. A strong reward and recognition culture and an entrepreneurial mindset attract talent geared towards boundless impact. A focus on humanity, humility, and integrity transforms into a kind and caring culture, attracting talent, and retaining that talent through decades, building on skills continuously to make a real difference.

The pandemic has affected everyone differently. For the technology talent, it means more opportunities in the form of upskilling, work/life balance, working from anywhere, soft benefits, and cool projects of choice. These combine to create new career paths as organizations look to transform digitally.

How It Impacts Clients: Running a Marathon

UST’s core values allow the company to face disruptions and uncover challenges and opportunities.

From the beginning, a steadfast focus on these values has helped UST scale its growth journey. Every UST associate learns to reinvent and rediscover themselves when faced with challenges. We are a customer-centric company, and for all UST clients, this means the boundless impact of innovation and integration towards digital transformation. This essentially means is that we worry less about margins and profitability and instead focus on what is right for our customers.

Rooted in humble beginnings, UST has followed the philosophy of its founder-chairman to transform lives with the power of technology. The mindful focus also meant working with clients who share the same devotion to helping humanity and their communities. In this way, UST has become a partner of significance for all its clients. A deep and trusted relationship with clients means that connections are transformative and not transactional. We are not running a sprint, but a marathon.