Navigating the acute talent shortage for digital transformation

September 21, 2021 | 18:02
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International enterprises are facing a talent drought during the digital transformation. The US – one of the 10 leading countries in digital transformation – has been applying various short- and long-term measures to remedy the human resources issues, especially in outsourcing.

The inevitable thirst for talents in digital transformation is everyone’s business

According to a 2018 survey of the International Data Corporation, the digital transformation is a must-have keyword in the development strategy of many businesses. Along with that, the pandemic has become a catalyst forcing enterprises to step up their digital transforming applications as they had no other choices but to work, connect, and manage their workforces remotely.

Numerous companies have reshaped their operations by implementing technology in every department and getting used to the online data system to cope with this new reality.

However, some people missed a crux of the whole problem – the pressure upon the IT department, in which the software and system developers play a vital role in the smooth operation of businesses during the digital transformation. That leads to escalation in the already high demand for talents in this field, turning it into a talent thirst in the HR system.

Navigating the acute talent shortage for digital transformation
Enterprises in the US are thirsty for tech talents while making moves in the digital transformation

A survey by global research and advisory firm Gartner showed that 40 per cent of US firms are behind schedule with their digital transformation or have not even started due to the lack of suitable staff. Business Insider took this acute talent shortage as the Achilles' heel of big names in cloud tech like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, ever since 2020, corporations were also struck by the talent thirst, failing in recruiting employees in IT positions. Last year, Vietnam was short of 400,000 IT workers but universities and colleges could only fill up around 50,000 jobs.

“The Digital transformation is a challenge for both HR teams and businesses. For employees not to be swept away by the flow of digital transformation, it is necessary to equip them with a survival kit of up-to-date skills and knowledge. For businesses, it's a matter of cost and speed to build a solid IT team. On the other hand, the constant transition in employees’ work, defined by the continuous advancements of technology, poses a demand for businesses to take better care of both mental and physical well-being of employees” said Ly Ngoc Tran, executive search & selection director of Talentnet.

Takeaways from large companies

This July, in the latest HRO Today podcast of the global consulting firm Korn Ferry, several solutions to the problem of under-resourced US enterprises were offered.

Instead of trying to scrutinise for candidate who meet all criteria, US businesses prioritise choosing the potential group of candidates with good backgrounds in technology. With this solution, enterprises need to invest in long-term training.

Many business leaders in the US have also realised the importance of reskilling and upskilling. Those who have accompanied the business for a long time and possess growth potential will be strong knights on the development chessboard. This move is seen as an assured solution while the thirst for talent is still lingering.

A short-term solution to help US businesses solve the employee shortage in the digital transformation process is to outsource. One of the top 5 health insurance companies in the US – Health Care Service Corporation – has hired a third party to provide staff to help manage performance, store data, administrate systems, and build IT fences for cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, DVI Group – a US video production agency – has chosen to use HR outsourcing services to assist them in managing employees and building the most suitable benefit package and policies for their employees. After a short time using this service, DVI's leaders have received positive feedback from employees on operation processes as well as other engagement activities.

Outsourced personnel acts as a reinforcement rich in expertise that helps businesses operate smoothly, relieves the internal team from its excessive workload, and further improves satisfaction and enjoyment of the staff. Additionally, these services also help save costs and time investment, compared to training a team or recruiting new people.

Outsource IT experts to help businesses quickly implement digital transformation
Outsourced IT experts help businesses quickly implement the digital transformation

“As the digital transformation race is reaching its climax, it is likely that businesses will not be able to retrain or recruit suitable personnel in time. To avoid lagging, companies can consider outsourcing personnel as an immediate solution to remove operational bottlenecks and spend the time saved on improving current workforce’s capabilities to minimise the human resources risks in the future,” suggested Tran.

The plans that US businesses have successfully applied can be valuable lessons for Vietnamese companies. In the long term, adjusting recruitment criteria and optimising organic human resources are two solutions for businesses to build an internal team with tech expertise. Meanwhile, outsourcing human resources can be an instant anti-drought measure to meet the immediate requirements so that businesses are not left behind in the digital transformation race.

By Ngan Vu

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