Over the past few years, Microsoft’s product offerings have continued to expand at a rapid pace. We have seen Teams consumption increase from 32 million daily active users pre-covid to 145 million today. It has become an absolute business essential for this hybrid working era with many organisations bringing their planned rollout forward during the initial lockdown period. Microsoft Viva is another platform showing real potential, as it promises to be the central work nucleus, allowing us to navigate between apps in the flow of work, communicate effectively with everyone in our organisation, and focus on our company-wide employee wellbeing. Again, showing Microsoft’s genius during these unusual times.

Who is going to deliver these new solutions to Microsoft customers as they continue to expand?

I have spent the last seven years working in tech. I was in tech recruitment for five years before moving on to working for Gold Partners for the last two-and-a-half years. I joined Revolent because I have a unique perspective that helps me to understand the talent crisis and support organisations in their uptake of effective and sustainable solutions to tackle the skills shortage. My colleagues also have to put up with me shouting from the rooftops about accessibility, inclusion and Disability Confident employers on a daily basis as I continue my mission to bring these things to the forefront of all business conversations. Luckily we are all like-minded in this!

As a result of my prior experience, I know that technology has always been a difficult sector to recruit for. Typically, partners have done so by ‘poaching’ talent from one another in a bid for the best developers and consultants. Technical teams have survived thus far by using recruitment agencies, our networks, and internal talent acquisition teams.

But this just isn’t enough anymore to find us the number of people we need to fulfil demand. Even companies with the best intentions have failed to beat the pipeline of projects with their technology academies or apprenticeship programmes, and recruiters themselves are struggling with the demand due to the scale of this crisis. It is not only the Microsoft ecosystem that is lacking IT talent—this is a widespread issue affecting the likes of Amazon Web Services and Salesforce, too. During a quarterly earnings update to Wall Street in 2020, Satya Nadella said: ”We’ve seen 2 years’ worth of digital transformation in 2 months.” And this is just touching the surface before we begin to consider other factors, such as attrition to explain the huge pressure on the tech talent pipeline. For instance, 50% of women in technology roles drop out by the age of 35, creating an even greater tech talent gap.

So, what do we do about it?

We need to create net-new cloud talent as quickly as possible. I imagine many of you reading this can relate to that feeling of seeing a job advertised that looks great, but you do not tick every box on the advert, so you keep scrolling. Even if you are now past that point in your career, a sizeable proportion of the workforce is not. These are the people we need to capture—valuable technologists who have not yet been upskilled with the certifications and on-the-job experience that would transform them into a valuable asset in the cloud ecosystem.

Fortunately, there are companies out there who offer accessible training and—more importantly—deployment experience to those aspiring technologists. Revolent is one of them. We are a worldwide learning partner, working closely with Microsoft to create a solution for the partner channel that is low-risk, sustainable and scalable. Our solution is a Hire – Train – Deploy model, utilising the huge talent pool that we’re able to gain access to via our sister company, Frank Recruitment Group. We want to take those people who have transferable skills and real-life experience, and upskill them with certifications and on-the-job training via a host company over a two-year period. This, in turn, creates more talent in our networks.

We hope that in helping to address the tech industry’s biggest immediate challenge—the talent pipeline—we will also tackle its greatest long-term threat: the lack of diversity in that pipeline. Unless we all do more to create opportunities for people of different ages, ability levels, race, gender, and cultural backgrounds, we will continue to perpetuate the same issues. We are proud to be a business that champions diversity in our hiring, our retention policies and in the global initiatives that we champion.

I am always delighted to have conversations with anyone interested, but for now let me offer you one simple challenge for your next recruitment campaign: move three things on your job spec from ‘must have’ to ‘nice to have’. This may not seem like much. However, we know both from research and our own experience that women, for example, are more likely to count themselves out, if they do not meet 100% of the ‘must-have’ criteria (which may have been decided by someone who doesn’t know exactly what the role entails).

If we all take responsibility for looking again at the way we recruit for our teams, even at this simple level, it will have a significant impact. By working together, we can find sustainable ways to address the tech talent shortage.

Kate Charlton

Senior BDM (EMEA) focused on diversity, inclusion and training for Revolent