Recruitment Market Segment LS
Recruitment Market Segment RS
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:37

Explosive growth in IT talent needs, says expert

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Australia is seeing the strongest growth in recruitment of experienced technology professionals for data science, the mobile field (especially user experience and content focused), cyber security, and professionals who understand blockchain applications.

That is according to Mark Nielsen, APAC chief executive and executive director, Talent International, who told iTWire that Talent was seeing explosive growth in the types and number of roles for which it was recruiting. This demand, for different skill sets, was continually evolving as new technology products and associated risk were introduced to the market.

Talent Mark NeilsonNielsen is an internationally experienced chief financial officer with 19 years’ experience.

He has held executive leadership roles with multinational corporations, turnarounds and start-ups, and has worked around the world including in Australia, South Africa, China, the UK, and the US. He joined Talent in 2000 and took up his current post in 2013.

Nielsen has seen the recruitment business go from a bricks-and-mortar to a hybrid on-line/off-line model that in some ways makes it easier to spot good talent, but he says there is no substitute for meeting applicants and getting to know them.

How is the market for technology talent in Australia evolving?

Right now, we have seen the strongest growth in the recruitment of experienced technology professionals with significant increases in demand for data scientists, anything mobile (especially user experience and content focused), cyber security, and professionals who have an understanding of blockchain applications.

There is a continual shift in talent needs as organisations look for technology professionals who are technically strong but also have strong management skills and/or a commercial aptitude. One of the fastest growth areas is cyber security, as defence systems evolve and change as cyber threats do – so the market for talented cyber security professionals with cutting-edge skills is likely to continue booming over the next few years.

Requirements for technology and digital recruitment will continue to be driven by the wider range of skills required by large businesses and high growth smaller organisations. Previously, the singular nature of business systems meant that a large IT department would be fairly specialised around maintaining 1-2 core IT services. With the broader range of digital capabilities required by businesses today, the range of specialised skills required to maintain and operate these are increasing every day.

However, these rapidly-changing requirements are creating a shortage of skilled professionals to fill these roles. It takes a substantial amount of time for a sufficient number of these types of specialists to be trained and to gain enough commercial experience with these new technologies to reverse the skills shortage we are currently experiencing.

Recruitment has gone from a bricks-and-mortar business to a digitally-dominated space. How is Talent driving the changing role of technology in recruitment, and why?

It is no surprise that our industry has completely transformed since Talent was formed over 20 years ago. Through its successful bricks and mortar business, Talent has scaled the business to a $400 million turnover global business. In order to complement the business, Talent believes the best future-proof model is one which merges its successful bricks and mortar business with a digital component, creating a customer engagement platform with data at its source.

As part of this thinking, we are constantly innovating and coming up with ground-breaking new technologies to make the recruitment process more effective and efficient, such as Talent Engage, our digital contractor engagement product. The initial rollout of the system amongst our 2500 contractors has shown huge boosts in contractor retention and engagement, so this has proved an important investment in innovation for Talent.

Our differentiator as a business lies in our is ongoing investment in our bricks-and-mortar offices, which allow us to meet with all applicants, get to know their personalities, and build a relationship with them that can help us help them find their next steps.

You’ve recently opened up in the US through a partnership with Coit. What impact will this have on Australian recruitment? Is Australia doing enough to attract new talent?

Our partnership with Coit is exciting for the Talent team; we’ve been looking forward to breaking into the US market for some time, and this joint venture is the first step in this exciting new space.

The new entity will combine Talent’s capability in helping secure permanent placements and managing the consultant workforce with Coit’s 15 years of experience servicing big Silicon Valley clients from San Francisco in the recruitment outsourcing space. Right now, we have five staff working in the San Francisco office, who are leveraging our global client base and also building strong relationships with California-based companies.

We know from our expansion into Asia, the UK and now the USA that there’s international demand for both Australian candidates and Australian companies looking for global talent. Since expanding internationally, if an international search is required, we can access the global Talent pool by leveraging the 15 offices within the group.

Australia’s start-up ecosystem has been talked up by everyone, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. What is Talent doing to help start-ups?

Australia has so many businesses in the making that could provide a substantial contribution to our economic growth, and completely transform Australia’s position on the global stage – yet the environment needs to be conducive and simplified to support the start-up ecosystem.

The proposed legislation around directors’ liability could be positive, but this needs to be coupled with an incentive scheme, such as the EIS in the UK, which allows a 30% rebate and no CGT on gains relating to a start-up business.

Talent is committed to supporting start-ups and scale-ups in Australia and around the world. We do so by running the annual global Talent Unleashed Awards which identify the best technology talent in the regions we operate, and through direct support, we’re providing via our Talent First Fund.

The Talent First Fund supports the Australian start-up community through providing discounted recruitment services, supporting ground-breaking tech start-ups, individuals and organisations. In Australia, we’re working closely with start-up incubators Tank Stream Labs and Little Tokyo Two, in Sydney and Brisbane respectively.

This fund is a $1 million commitment that we have made to the Australian start-up community and we’re just getting started – watch this space.

The winners of last year’s Talent Unleashed Awards have just returned from their trip to Silicon Valley and meeting Steve Wozniak. What insights did they come back with, and what can we expect from this year’s Unleashed Awards?

We’ve now run the Talent Unleashed Awards for four years, and each year has been better than the last. The event itself grows each year, and the increasing calibre of entrants create an even higher bar for entry from year to year.

There are so many great businesses that are doing incredible things, and we’re happy to be able to offer them something unique in terms of prizes and recognition. The 2016 winners have just returned from their trip to the United States, where they had lunch with one of the award judges, Steve Wozniak, and toured some of the Silicon Valley giants, taking lessons in entrepreneurship, growth and scaling from world-beating companies.

We’re still finalising our plans for the 2017 awards, but rest assured that in our fifth year will be even bigger and better than before.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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