​Competing with the cool kids. How to attract IT talent in the Public Sector

28th Feb, 2019

Up and down the country local authorities report a skills gap and difficulty in recruiting skilled developers to meet the growing need and demand for digital transformation.

Apparently, it’s not ‘cool’ to work where there are no sleep pods, pizza nights or Beer o’clock. And, local authorities that are outside the main IT geographic hubs have difficulty attracting talented staff. Typically IT developers want to keep their cv’s filled with coding for leading edge organisations.

Perhaps it’s the attitude to recruitment too. During our recent debate with CLGdotTV, we discussed bringing past behaviours forward in procurement. Interestingly, during another debate on staff for the Public Sector the older more formal recruitment process and induction approach to virtual staff was noted as a reason applicants turn away.

Working in the public service offers a varied and rewarding career. Some employees may welcome a lifetime career. Interestingly, Jason Kitcat of Essex suggested offering a short term ‘tour of duty’ option. In other words – it’s a project focus not a lifetime commitment. ‘Join to contribute value, learn and then move away when it’s right for you’. This offers an open and attractive viewpoint. Additionally, he commented that when the employee wants to return, be helpful and inclusive. Welcome those who want to ‘boomerang’ back.

Essex County Council has considered ways to prevent tech from holding them hostage. Using an outsourcer to deliver a specific outcomes-based service, such as the fixed price blog used by Essex, is an answer. All the work, penetration testing and maintenance is done. So, there is no longer an IT concern. This has been made business as usual, through Gcloud and the digital outcomes framework.

Jason Kitcat agreed another positive strategy for filling the skills gap is to ‘grow your own’. This can be through internship, secondment or knowledge transfer. Jobs are changing, this means that “growing skills is more important than ever before” said Richard Farrell of Netcall. He suggested there is a way to keep good staff and help the organisation transform. “The skills gap can be as much about the tools you use as the staffers you don’t have. When you are able to give subject matter experts in your department IT skills, they become an even more valuable resource. Employees with both the service area knowledge and the business process skills build the process automation tools you need.”

Richard shared how a range of organisations including corporates, government departments, and local authorities are using Low-code to deliver continuous savings in IT budgets. These proven scalable self-documenting solutions allow teams to collaborate to create pragmatic automated solutions.

Clearly IT will need to lead on security and governance and the integration with big established systems of record. The tools you choose must enable both your business and your AD&D pro developers to work collaboratively to deliver the outcomes your council and citizens need. When your tools provide easy ways to make ongoing improvements and meet future demands it keeps your transformation agenda on track.

The IT skills gaps is growing. Our digital demands outstrip our capacity to ‘hand code’ solutions. Knowledge transfer improves staff skills and offers a career path to those whose jobs are changing through AI and Automation.

So much more was discussed and you can see the full interview on the Connected Local Government website.

If you would like to hear more on the skills shortage debate, MatsSoft CTO, Richard Billington, gives his thoughts in our CX Appeal podcast.

Take transformation into your own hands

To hear real-life examples of how Local Government is already using Low-code, watch presentations from 3 senior IT Local Government leaders from our recent ‘Release your Innovation’ workshops.

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