2018: The war for digital talent is vigorous and creative

As technology permeates almost all aspects of our lives, corporations and governments are rapidly evolving their operations to support the needs of digitally-savvy consumers. Demand for digital skills has increased rapidly due to the onslaught of connected devices, AR/VR, social media, analytics and automation in an increasingly mobile world. These and other so-called digital technologies have caused a fundamental redesign of traditional business operations. Given that the supply of digital skills is still catching up with the pace of technology change, competition for tech talent has never been stronger.

Demand for talent reaches new highs

In 2018, technology firms will face stiff competition for digital talent from traditional sectors including, but not limited to, healthcare, manufacturing, banking, insurance, retail, energy and utilities, and government. In the short to near term, there will be an increased premium associated with acquiring such talent as supply plays catch-up. Such sectors will continue to invest heavily to restructure business models, further digital transformation initiatives and systemically evolve their workforce to be lean, agile and capable to thrive in an environment of digital disruption and rising customer expecations.

The competition for digital skills will continue to be fierce:

  • Over two-thirds of the demand for IT jobs today comes from non-tech industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and banking.
  • According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be one million more IT jobs than computer science students in the U.S.
  • The agency also indicates that 1.3 million IT and cyber security jobs will need to be filled by 2022.

It’s clear that educators and academia are less likely to meet this demand, especially given timeframe constraints. In the short to near term, job roles such as cyber security analysts, data scientists, mobile developers and cloud programmers will be highly coveted, as some of these roles are projected to grow 10-fold in the next 10 years. Consequently, the cost of acquiring talent will no doubt increase until the supply/demand gap is closed.

Organizations get creative

Multiple approaches are being employed, from crowdsourcing to strategic partnerships to collaborating with academia and educators on advanced training and customized curricula. Firms are also investing in incubators and accelerator programs or undertaking strategic acquihiring to supplement their digital talent requirements. (For more on these strategies, see Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit, by DXC Technology’s Leading Edge Forum.)



Organizations are carefully evaluating each skill set, as not all of them can be mastered and standardized for every role. A job profile, or the end objective of a role, is measured against the skill standard required across parameters such as agile and scrum methods, virtual product design, digital intelligence tools and content automation, and/or client need. Some functions may require advanced skills while others can make do with a basic level of proficiency. This enables appropriate deployment of resources in the organization.

Organizations automate

Additionally, to optimize digital talent, companies are leveraging nimble workforce platforms by deploying machine learning, intelligent automation, NLP and so on. For example:

  • Companies are internally relying on machine learning platforms to foster performance improvements by exposure to data without the need to follow explicit programming instructions. This in effect eliminates the need for programmers in areas such as fraud screening, inventory management, oil and gas exploration, and health.
  • Computing power, in-memory technology and edge computing are further allowing algorithms to be applied to better monitor and detect individual behaviour deviations without human intervention.
  • In social media, automated NLP platforms are being deployed to collate and draw insights from myriad datasets for informed decision making, which otherwise would have required programmers and data scientists to assimilate, massage, program, analyse and interpret the data.
  • In financial services, brokerage, asset management and hedge funds are using automation to optimize trading strategies.
  • Insurance companies are using automated NLP platforms to cross reference social media data to leverage fraud detection.

Talent wars will decide who wins and who loses in the next decade. Unleashing the productivity of this talent will be one of the most important jobs of next-generation business and government leaders. A carefully considered talent acquisition, optimization and retention strategy is critical for success.

Sunil Musti is a senior advisor in the Strategic Competitive Intelligence team in DXC Technology’s Commercial Functions group. Previously he led the Technology research practice in the company’s ResearchNetwork, which supports strategy, business development, product development and other key corporate functions. He also set up and managed the Global Research Practice at Xchanging (a DXC company). @sunilmusti


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  1. […] Answer: Common platforms (see trend #1), which concentrate talent. And, creative approaches such as crowdsourcing, bring your own teams (BYOT), incubators and strategic acquihires — described further in Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit, a report by our Leading Edge Forum.  Learn more. […]

  2. […] 2018: The war for digital talent is vigorous and creative […]

  3. […] for the high percentage of organizations that are poorly prepared or totally unprepared for finding the right balance of smart technology and human skills? It’s probably a combination of short-sighted management, budget constraints that limit new […]

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