D&I Column: Career changer to ease skills shortage

Diese Kolumne ist eine Kollaboration verschiedener Personen und Organisationen, die sich für Diversity und Inclusion einsetzen. 

In recent years, every industry has turned to digitization to boost efficiency, reduce cost and increase revenue. This development requires new skills and expertise from employees and candidates. 

New job profiles emerged while existing roles are no longer needed. 85 million jobs might be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. 

On the other hand, 97 million new roles, that are more adapted to the new division, may emerge (source: World Economic Forum, 2020). 

At the same time there will be a shortage of over 35'800 ICT specialist by 2028 according to a recent report by ICT-Berufsbildung Schweiz (source: netzwoche, 2020). 

Given this situation, how can companies of every industry ensure to fulfill their needs for tech skilled worker?

The career changers advantage

The solution is provided by focusing the talent search to career changers. A career change is the act of changing to a different kind of job. However, this change does not mean one will start all over again. 

While many career starters lack social and transferable skills, a career changer is equipped with these essential skills. 

Furthermore, these candidates bring along valuable industry knowledge and expertise. Enhancing these skills and expertise with the technical skills your company requires allows you to find employees you need at any time.

The quest for skilled worker starts within

The next question to answer is how to find these career changers. And the simplest answer is; within your own company. Your employees bring along all the industry knowledge and expertise you need. 

Therefore, providing them the opportunity to learn new (tech) skills on the job will make them your next best employee in tech. 

As a first step, find out which department or role is at risk to be replaced by automation in the next years. 

Then, reach out to the employees in these roles and find out, what are their strengths, skills and goals they want to reach. Discuss with them how you can help them change careers to reach their goals and help them to remain in the company. 

Finally, create an actionable plan for them to move from their current role into a new role in tech department.

Your talent pool is a skills pool

Another option to find skilled career changer is your talent pool. So far, you might have searched for talents that only fit your job description in all aspects. What if they would not need to fulfill all the requirements? 

In collaboration with your tech team, identify skills that are required for many roles, such as soft skills. Think of skills such as analytical thinking for programmers. Or negotiation and communication skills for requirements engineer. 

Next, identify these skills that can be learned on the job or by attending specific courses. Find out, how you could support a talent that brings soft skills, industry knowledge and high motivation to change career into tech in your company.

Now go through your talent pool again and identify the talents. Search for candidates having the identified soft skills and displayed a high motivation in their cover letter or the first interview. 

Furthermore, check if they have shown interest to move into a different area. such as attending a Bootcamp to learn programming.

Source: Dev Insider, 2021

Diversify your workforce

So far, we have focused on the fact that career changer can help you decrease the skills shortage in tech. But is that really all you get? 

By far not, another very valuable advantage that career changers bring is the increase in diversity in your tech workforce. No longer do you need to wait until the number of female fresh graduate from tech studies increases to help you reach gender diversity in your teams. 

Furthermore, this approach displays that your workforce understands and values lifelong learning. Companies that display a higher diversity in their teams and support lifelong learning are more attractive for candidates. 

As such, you will not only win new talents through hiring career changers, you can further attract more talent with the skills and expertise you need. 

About Priska Burkard

Priska is co-founder of TechFace (SKILLS FINDER AG), the first Swiss platform that networks female tech talents with exciting companies in the tech field and thus promotes diversity. Priska herself has had a long career in the tech field and knows the difficulties and strengths that you need and bring with you as a woman in the technology industry.


Priska Burkard

Co-Founder & Managing Director von TechFace.ch & SKILLS FINDER AG, Member Of The Board Of Advisors bei GirlsinTechSwitzerland

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