Business Productivity And Innovation Affected By Tech Talent Shortage

Robert Walters, a leading specialist recruitment firm, today announced results of a survey conducted to understand the challenging environment in South East Asia on hiring tech talent.

The survey summarised as a technology guidebook, “5 Lessons in Tackling the Tech Talent Shortage” combines insights from forward-thinking business leaders, HR experts, hiring managers and tech professionals with the objective of tackling the tech talent shortage.

The survey which was conducted in April 2019 with nearly 400 technology professionals and hiring managers across South East Asia concluded that 68% of respondents who were hiring managers took 3 months or more to fill an open tech position on their team.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest, tech hiring managers rated the difficulty level of hiring talent on an average score of 7. Business productivity and innovation took a hit as 7 in 10 hiring managers interviewed shared that the shortage of tech talent negatively affected their speed of product development.

Geok Eng Ong, Manager of Infrastructure and IT Sales at Robert Walters Malaysia said: “The challenges faced by hiring managers are not merely a HR problem. The lack of tech talent and the long duration to replace a lost talent is affecting development speed of tech innovators in the region. The breakneck speed of innovation and the boom of the start-ups calls for a bigger talent pool especially in Data Analytics, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Amid major data breach incidents across the world and organisational cloud migrations resulted in the need for greater security, hence there is a strong hiring demand for professionals within Cyber Security and Cloud Services. There is also shortage of talent with multiple skill sets such as DevOps and Full Stack Developers as organisation moves towards digitalisation while embracing Agile methodology

Companies are advised to review their recruitment strategy – be more proactivediscard conventional notions, and refresh the recruitment process. They are urged to begin early to reach out to and educate potential candidates through increasing the awareness of their employers’ brand and ensure a ready pipeline of quality and motivated talent.

  • To complement existing sourcing methods, companies can consider non-traditional avenues such as seeking overseas talent or tech talent in other industries to reach out to untapped pools of talent. A review of the recruitment process, such as shortening it or investing effort in engaging the candidates, can help jobseekers feel more valued and appreciated.

Incorporating more flexibility in the benefits package, based on individual preferences, can be an effective tool to attract and retain tech talent. The survey showed that more than half (57%) of tech professionals interviewed would agree to a smaller increment if offered the right benefits.

The top 3 benefits favoured by respondents when choosing a company were flexible hours (58%), family insurance (49%) and remote working options (46%).

Identifying high potential candidates and developing a strong learning culture are beneficial in helping talent shine. Companies are urged to consider candidates who show high potential, such as a good aptitude for learning quickly and working in teams, being comfortable in using technology to create solutions, and having experiences or skills useful to the team.

Setting aside resources and opportunities to help tech talent grow in their roles will help keep them motivated, learn about the different areas of tech, and pick up on skills that they are less familiar with. Tech professionals surveyed cited training workshops on technical and soft skillscross-functional project involvement, and job rotation opportunities as among the training opportunities that interest them most.

“Innovative hiring methods need motivation and buy in from leaders in an organisation. Leaders need to walk the talk to attract, motivate and retain tech talent. Business leaders who believe in the value of technology in accelerating the business, and incorporate it into the culture and direction of the company will set the tone,” added Geok Eng.

In hiring management candidates to lead the team, companies are encouraged to look beyond technical abilities, for one who has a good understanding of the current technology landscape and strong stakeholder management skills.

For more information on the e-guidebook as well as Robert Walters in Malaysia, please visit


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