Technology is paying off
We are on a superhighway of invention and discovery that is driving annual wage inflation in some sectors by over 25%.
In the world of Cyber security salaries are hotting up as the classic cycle “demand – skills shortages – lack of market intelligence” leads to inflated salaries.
Following 6 years of relative low wage inflation, if not stagnation, the past 9 months have seen the jobs market rebound and in some specialist sectors turn into a candidate-driven market.
This was highlighted in a recent salary review undertaken by SSR – Executive Profiles. With a user data base of 252,000, this annual salary review identifies global hotspots, skills trends and the impact to business.
What does this mean for employers?
Recruiters should be undertaking global searches for talent, whilst employers seeking a 95% skills match in their recruitment activity will need to revise their expectations. Future recruitment activity should be highlighting the development potential and skills capacity of the person.
Most employers do not use soft skills in their recruitment and selection process; in fact many processes are flawed due to the recruiters’ inability to understand the contextual nature of the role to be undertaken. Many are looking for “industry stereotypical candidates” which can seriously deter talent that will drive a company’s future performance. Many have no skills matrix tools against which they can score and predict how an applicant will contribute to the needs of the organisation.
Whilst not for every company, the reported Google recruitment process and development of “Googlers” is a study in some excellent practices. To understand the process your starting point is to search for the “Top 10 Google interview questions”. On average, most companies recruitment processes have extended from 38 days to 64 days during the recession period. Aspiring Googlers speak of 7-9 interviews, taking the process way beyond that which most companies could afford to undertake from a skills requirement and business need. Yet many Googlers are lifers.
The company attracts plenty of raw talent, even considering their barriers to employment. But Google logic is that their process looks at the person’s emotional intelligence, team working ethic and desire to succeed for the greater team. This is an organisation that encourages quiet working, coffee shop meetings, face-to-face conversations and innovation. The outcomes are simple, many applicants will fall by the wayside, but the few that succeed will be the top quartile of their peer groups.
Small and medium sized enterprises
Attracting talent impacts all organisations, but especially SMEs that have been at the forefront of British software and engineering innovation. Jeff Johnson, Director of the SSR technical division, was recently part of the UKTI trade mission to Brazil and presented to several groups an overview of the electronic and physical security measures at the London Olympics, which highlighted plenty of innovation.
His observations are, “Interest is evident in UK engineering talent and the excellent reputation they have in delivering diverse solutions. Whilst the Brazilian authorities have not made the possibility of terrorist attacks at the World Cup or Olympics a priority, there is a realisation that this has to be addressed due to concerns from the IOC. Perhaps to underline this, the UKTI recently reported trade from technology and engineering showcased at 2012 had led to orders being generated for UK plc of over £13.4bn.”
Security products have been changing with the advent of internet protocol, wireless technology, plug and play convenience being demanded by clients. Vendors can only keep closed protocol platforms through continual innovation. Maintaining this commercial advantage for suppliers has been partly due to manufacturers repatriating their production from the East back to West, due to quality issues.
This has highlighted in Europe the shortage of relevant skills, especially within the boutique integrated technology manufacturers. One answer has been a drive to employ contracted specialists, which has helped relieve some effects of those shortages in the labour market. Whilst costs are typically 20% above in-house pay rates, this is more than offset by the flexibility of the resource that can be deployed when required within an accurate time frame. As a time-sharing concept, contractors offer a cost-effective solution in many parts of the world.
As technology impacts all aspects of our lives, we have evolved big data concepts that companies need to drill down into to allow them to obtain commercial advantage. Software development which learns as it is used (not quite artificial intelligence) is being deployed in the security environment. Most development is within predictive analysis, this is allowing companies to reduce security costs whilst opening up new applications. Interesting development work is emerging from Israel where labour costs are relatively low, which is flowing into mainstream development.
Utilising the same technology that can text to your iPhone with retail offers as you pass a shop based on your browser history, then security and surveillance are remarkably improved, tracking technology requires remote intervention and analysis in real time.
Having been the CCTV capital of the world, what is the buy-in from the public, as we latch onto their predictive behaviour through even more technical application?
The good news has to be that the UK security industry will continue to add value in many sectors and that employment trends are going to rise.
Peter French MBE
Chief Executive. SSR® Personnel