Manufacturers Looking for Tech Talent Must Transform Practices

Manufacturers Looking for Tech Talent Must Transform Practices

Dec. 7, 2020
Using aptitude and attitude as a job prerequisite opens up a wider pool of talent to fill the shortage.

Finding talent at all levels to fill open manufacturing jobs is difficult but finding tech talent requires a different perspective.

However, it’s not something that is all that difficult to do explains Ashwin Bharath, CEO of Revature. “Companies need to understand the competencies of the talent they should be sourcing and where to find them,” he says. His company is one of the largest employers of entry-level tech talent in the U.S.

To explain how to do this Bharath advises examining what he sees as the three main problems companies are facing --talent acquisition, talent transformation and cost of talent.

The first step is understanding the particulars of the talent you are trying to acquire. “We have a new generation of people who are quick learners and excel at continuous learning,” says Bharath. “They can go broad and deep.”

This is important to understand because companies are relying on older models of hiring people based on experience. While in some areas of manufacturing acquiring years of experience is necessary, in the tech world it’s different as things change almost at the speed of light. If an employee is hired with experience in one computer language that language could be outdated within a year.

To address the speed of change a new model of hiring is required.  “Companies need to hire for aptitude and attitude,” says Bharath. “When you start viewing talent acquisition from this angle you now have a very wide field from which to choose.”

And manufacturers are in a particularly good place since they don’t generally compete with the tech firms who run after the same small amount of talent that graduates each year from the top tech schools. Manufacturing companies generally have established relationships with a wide variety of educational institutions.

It’s not just a variety of places, it’s a variety of people that is the real key says Bharath. “ The lack of opportunities open to a variety of populations is hampering the industry,” he explains. “If you look at the talent we are sending to companies, one-third of are first-generation graduates. We have 5% above the average when it comes to placing women and three times the number of Black and Latino candidates.”

Revature’ s business model is to hire college graduates that are sourced from a large pool of university systems and train them for 10-12 weeks based on a curriculum provided by a client employer.  Generally, companies hire Revature's employees as contractors with an option to hire them on a full-time basis.  About 85% become full-time employees within the first year. And it’s the next statistic that is the more important one. After four years, 89% of the employees are still working for the same company. Compare that to an average turnover of less than a year for entry-level tech companies nationally.  The costs saving in turnover is huge.

Talent Acquisition Include Reskilling Current Talent

However, solving the tech gap isn’t only looking at bringing in new talent, says Bharath, it’s reskilling your current talent. “Look at the advantage that a company can gain by retraining current employees who had a lot of domain knowledge. A smart strategy is to offer training for any employee across the company who shows an interest in tech positions."

And the importance of having an internal technology competency is a matter of survival. “Every industry is becoming a tech industry,” says Bharath. Citing the auto industry, which is where he first started, Bharath points out that the auto companies view themselves as tech companies making cars. And most industrial companies are moving in this direction as well he observes.

To train this internal talent,  Bharath offers these best practices.

1.  Do a gap analysis which is an assessment of your existing workers and determine where your needs currently are as well as where they will be in the near future.

2.   Create a specific plan. Identify who could potentially move into tech roles and start with a training program. Start with a trial program and then expand.

3.   Have a structured plan to execute this based on a specific framework. Eventually, this process could be automation.

“One of the bottlenecks to create this process is that often there is no clear ownership of who should be in charge of this talent transformation, “states Bharath. “There is a conflict between the IT department and the HR department. There has to be a single ownership of this function.”

The need for this talent will continue to grow as companies have increased their commitment to digital transformation. In fact, Revature is expanding its partnerships to stay aligned with the needs of digital transformation.  The company recently announced a partnership with Infosys in a program called Reskill and Restart Program.  Reveature also works with tech companies to ensure that they will be able to identify future job skills.   

While the company has a strong footprint already it is aiming high in its efforts to ensure that whoever wants the opportunity to work in tech finds a job.  “I’m a product of someone providing me the opportunity, and I founded this company to do the same for others. Our goal over the next ten years is to train one million programmers. It’s a lofty ambition but there is a huge need. “

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