In 2017, 45,000 new jobs were created in the IT sector in Germany, reports the digital association Bitkom. This is the historically strongest growth in employment within one year. Sounds pretty good, actually.
What is worrying, however, is that the increase could have been significantly higher if there were more IT experts. "In 2020, around 30 percent of IT jobs are expected to remain unfilled due to a lack of suitable specialists," Stéphane Janssoone from the job portal Sportyjob, partner of the ISPO Job Market, also quotes a current study at the ISPO Digitize Summit.
The gap is even expected to grow rather than shrink, the report continues. For companies, the shortage has significant consequences: The universally demanded digitization can only be implemented to the extent that personnel is available for it.
The current record growth in IT jobs is becoming a stress test for many HR managers. Specialists for software and IT applications are currently desperately sought in all industries, the sports industry is just one of many, and competition is correspondingly high. Digitization is of strategic importance for companies.
According to Janssoone, it is therefore important to have a plan. Only when you know exactly where you want to go can you look for the right candidates." Professionals are currently being sought in many areas: Digital Strategy, Digital Marketing, Digital Design, Data Scientists, Industry 4.0 specialists and those professionals who digitize work processes and make them more efficient.
Financially, the sports industry is at more of a disadvantage. "Sports companies often can't tempt you with the highest salaries," Janssoone explains. "Nevertheless, the industry has important strengths to play to." For many young people, the attractiveness of their future line of work plays an important role in their job selection, he says.
"Young people want to make things happen, are looking for a sense of purpose, and they want to feel at home," Janssoone said. "Sports companies need to have an answer to the question of what the world would be missing if they didn't exist." Chemical companies may pay the better salaries, but emotionally the sports industry is closer to many job seekers, and that can definitely compensate for differences in salary, the recruiting specialist said.
It is therefore also important to present oneself as an attractive and comprehensive company. Websites today are often designed with the consumer in mind, but they also have to convince job seekers that they are an attractive employer. In the end, all of a company's appearances pay off in terms of its attractiveness to new employees: Visits to trade fairs as well as press relations and ultimately the company's own employees, who are of course also ambassadors for the company.
The more companies vie for the same talent, the more important it becomes to adopt new approaches to the recruiting process. "They need to search where their potential employees are," says Janssoone. That can be Snapchat as well as an eSports event. If IT people like computer games, for example, it might be helpful to develop a job application game that queries initial skills in advance and helps the company make a decision on the selection.
The applicant, on the other hand, might like the company's original approach. Waiting for someone to visit a job portal or the company's own careers site and actively apply for a vacancy is too late. The search must be more proactive, and the first contacts ideally take place while the student is still at university.
"It's often also worthwhile," says Janssoone, "to first look for suitable candidates within your own company, whom you can train further and build up for new positions." Such targeted employee training is important, if only because digitization affects many areas of a company and must therefore be supported by everyone if it is to be successful.
In the past, the letter of motivation and the curriculum vitae first provided information about the suitability of potential candidates. This was followed by the interviews and then the decision was made. "There will be other components added, and interviews will move further back in the future," says Janssoone.
Professional self-presentation on social networks such as Xing and Linkedin is playing an increasingly important role in recruiting, because here companies can get in touch with workers who are not even actively looking for a job. Video interviews or VR assessments save companies and candidates time and money and also help with pre-selection. Face-to-face interviews remain the last step in the application process.
However, the tense situation on the job market should prevent companies from demonstrating superiority. Creating a relaxed atmosphere that shows mutual respect is more helpful. Janssoone: "IT candidates have power, and they know their value."
The more companies struggle for the same talent, the more important it becomes to take new paths in the recruiting process. “They have to search where their potential employees are located,” says Janssoone. This can be Snapchat, or even an eSports event. If IT people like computer games, it could be helpful, for example, to develop an application game that asks for initial skills in advance and gives the company a decision-making aid in the selection process.
The applicant, on the other hand, might like the company’s original approach. It’s too late in the game to just wait for someone to visit a job portal or your own Careers page and actively apply for an open position. The search needs to be more proactive, with first contacts ideally already taking place while in college.
“It’s often also worthwhile,” says Janssoone, “to first search for suitable candidates in your own company who can be trained and built up for new positions.” This kind of targeted employee training is important as digitalization affects many areas of the company, so it needs to be supported by everyone if it’s to be successful.
In the past, cover letters and resumes were the first to provide information on the suitability of potential candidates. This was followed by interviews, and then the decision was made. “Further components will be added, and in the future the interviews will be pushed further back,” says Janssoone.
Professional self-presentation on social networks like Xing and LinkedIn is playing an increasingly important role in recruiting, as companies can get in touch with candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job. Video interviews and VR assessments can save companies and candidates time and money, and help with pre-selection. Personal interviews remain the final step in the application process.
However, the tense situation on the job market should prevent companies from demonstrating superiority. Creating a relaxed atmosphere that shows mutual respect will be very helpful. Janssoone: “IT candidates have power, and they know their value.”