Developing and Maintaining an Adaptable Workforce

Given the post-pandemic predominance of remote working, the rapidly expanding technological world, and the continued talent shortage and demand for highly skilled personnel; developing and maintaining an adaptable workforce this year will be crucial.  Tom Watson shares his thoughts on how organisations can develop and maintain an adaptable workforce in 2023.


Through 2022, unemployment rates stayed below 4%, demonstrating that there is a technical labour shortage. Equally, recent layoffs in the tech sector and the significant evolution of the industry over the past 10 years has led to a surge in demand for skilled tech workers. If you’d like to see a more in-depth review of the tech market in 2022, check out Hamilton Forth’s 2022 Review.


Close the Skills Gap
In recent years there has been a continued shortage of talent as many organisations continue to feel the pressure and inability to find and acquire skilled professionals with the relevant experience and knowledge, particularly within emerging technologies. Organisations are subsequently forced to work harder to narrow the skills gap between those that their workers possess and those that are required to thrive in the digital economy; putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

The skills gap is likely to continue in 2023, particularly in areas such as Cyber Security where cyber teams across the globe have been significantly understaffed in recent years. In 2022, The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study found that the demand for cybersecurity professionals is higher than it has ever been, yet the supply is not keeping up.

In 2022, there was an increase in the worldwide labour gap of over 25%, and approximately 70% of businesses reported a labour shortage. Organisations must adapt their strategies and approaches to fill internal skills gaps which can include reskilling, upskilling and forms of digital training for employees. A study from McKinsey’s Global Survey in 2020 found evidence that much of the widening gap needs to be closed by training existing staff rather than finding and hiring new employees. Equally from an employer perspective, there is also a financial incentive to develop employee skillsets internally rather than hire new staff, with estimates of replacing a single employee being 1.5 to 2x their annual salary. This is due to multiple factors including advertising the new position, interviewing, background checks, skills assessments and the hours invested in each step of the hiring process.


Increase the use of Temporary Workers
Companies that have a high level of need for IT personnel are now being cautious about expanding their workforces due to the economic unpredictability and ongoing wage increases. Instead, in order to at least provide a cushion, they are entering the contingent labour market. The opportunity and ease of employing temporary workers allows organisations to acquire highly skilled personnel on a short-term basis, with an instant impact on the organisation.

Equally, hiring temporary staff avoids the costs associated with pensions, national insurance, bonuses and sick pay whilst also contributing to a faster hiring process and greater flexibility for the organisation’s needs. Furthermore, given the demand for skilled workers, temporary staff can provide a fresh perspective and can introduce new ideas due to their varied experience, having worked on multiple projects in a range of organisations.


Continue to Implement Flexible Working Practices
The modern day workplace is constantly changing. The pandemic, economic disruptions, automation and technology advancements (among other things out with the control of business owners), have caused a number of changes in the workplace during the past several years. Many companies are no longer enforcing either home or office working for their staff, and are opting for a hybrid solution instead. This hybrid working trend is likely to continue into 2023 and beyond as it allows employees to preserve the productivity and flexibility of remote working, while also providing a much-needed space for socialisation and collaboration with co-workers.

The continued rise in flexible work schedules has resulted in the need for companies to evaluate their office premises and workstations. Employees now expect their workplaces to easily accommodate their demand for effective collaboration, while many tasks that require a high degree of concentration are now performed from home. Brainstorming stations, collaborative areas, cafeterias, sophisticated meeting technology, open floor designs, tenant programming, and even games rooms, are all examples of facility upgrades that businesses can consider when adapting their workplace.


If you’re a technology professional working across Scotland, considering your options and seeking career advice; or a client seeking a contract/interim technology solution, please get in touch for a confidential discussion: [email protected]

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