Poor recruitment processes lead to UK tech talent shortage

Recent research reveals flaws in tech recruitment process, with one in four candidates being hired without required skills.
Poor recruitment processes lead to UK tech talent shortage

When thinking about the disruptive nature of technology and its innovative changes and impacts that we have faced in the last century and even before, it is difficult to accept the fact that in today’s business landscape companies can face a shortage of tech-skilled talent.

The Employer Skills Survey (2022) commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) of the UK Government, confirms that 10 per cent of UK businesses have a skill-shortage vacancy, representing an increase since 2017 when 6 per cent had a skill-shortage vacancy.

To examine these issues, Mobilunity, a Kyiv-based provider of software development teams and talent solutions, conducted an extensive survey among decision-makers from UK startups, scaleups, and enterprise businesses about the tech skills shortage. The sample comprised 539 people responsible for making technical hires in UK companies with 10+ employees and was carried out online by Research Without Barriers — RWB between December 2023 and January 2023.

The study revealed that established companies are receiving an average of 15 applications per technical role, while startups see that average jump to 18 per role.

However, the problem arises when it comes to the recruitment of tech-skilled candidates, as 34 per cent of decision-makers do not have a separate recruitment process for technical hires.

The research also found that 74 per cent of the businesses are failing to complete any relevant testing, 32 per cent are relying on non-technical specialists to hire tech talent, and 24 per cent of candidates are hired without the proper technical skills required for the position.

Additional problems arise when it comes to assessing the candidate's technical skills for a role, as around 27 per cent rely on standard interviews.

The research also found that the technical hiring process can be long-winded (one-fifth of technical hires can take up to 6 months), and that at least 50 per cent of businesses are putting up to 60 per cent of technical candidates through to the next stage of interviewing.

A small number of companies surveyed within the research believe that technical hires can deliver value immediately (only 7 per cent), while 45 per cent of new hires do not have the right skills, so companies have to further invest if they want to bridge the IT skills gap.

These findings are not flattering and certainly not expected. Companies are struggling both in terms of lacking technically skilled talents and the absence of testing and skill validation. The results of the research also point out that poor recruitment practices may hold back employers from identifying the right skills for the right role in technical hires.

Cyril Samovskiy, founder of Mobilunity, shared:

“To avoid the pitfalls, those in charge of technical hires must have a dedicated approach to recruitment. This means a combination of technical platforms that assess and matchmake skills relevant to needs, and interviewers who know the right questions to ask.

“By putting in smart steps to validate the competency of candidate skills and really getting to know your projects and roles required before you start the process, you can massively improve the process, and deliver accurate hiring outcomes that will deliver value from day one.”

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