Addressing Talent Shortage Means Going Back To The Basics Of People Management

It is not hard to see that a talent shortage has besieged the best of economies. While employment figures improve in comparison with the previous decades, gaps in skill-sets, insular training practices with fewer application-based courses in universities, and sudden-onset obsolescence of some tools and disciplines are causing marketable, job-ready talent to be in short supply.

According to the India Skills Report 2021, the BFSI industry in India has been a consistent destination for eligible talent along with IT, Manufacturing, e-commerce/IT businesses, and retail. All these fields call for a high degree of digital skills. Naturally, it is the fields that call for high-skilled labor that are most affected by talent shortage. For this reason, the talent shortage is immediately apparent in IT, core science, and application-oriented fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) studies. The same report suggests that 45.9% of the young professionals surveyed were ‘highly employable’ – having the right qualifications and being open to internships.

You might also be interested to read: Transforming To ‘Smart Staffing Structure’ From Traditional Structure

Role of digital transformation in bringing talent shortage to a head

Digital transformation of several industries, starting with IT, IT-enabled services, retail, and human resource development has been a fact of life for a decade and longer. Still, the talent shortage observed has not budged proportionately. Digital skills are in short supply. The changeful, even volatile nature of the IT and digital segments of the job market means no section of the talent pool can remain complacent. Candidates have to stay aware of trends, keep updating their skill-sets, and above all, be prepared to reinvent their working style. So little is to be taken for granted while so much adaptation has become a way of life.

While the humongous IT sector of India in itself is dynamic, the global COVID-19 pandemic has thrown another set of uncertainties into the mix.  Demand for digital and IT-enabled products has risen. But the consumption levels and demand for the large cities and towns have thinned down, spreading out to smaller towns and villages. Effectively, the amount of talent at the beck and call of a recruiter has given way to worker migration. Profit margins have shrunk as nearly all companies reassessed their expense budgets. IT, IT-es, and Business Process Management (BPM) sectors adapted to the demands of stay-at-home work and handled the talent shortage challenges with success. There are plenty of lessons that can be learned from the sectors that managed the pandemic without catastrophic outcomes. With the effects of the pandemic still in tow, companies cannot simply shake off budget constraints and go back to pre-pandemic hiring speeds.

Instead of participating in a rat-race for a limited number of qualified professionals, there are methods companies can adopt to allow candidates to seek them out instead. Here are some changes in basic talent management that companies can adopt to make a change in the talent shortage numbers:

Think beyond borders: The pandemic has revealed that knowledge workers, STEM field graduates specifically, can work from anywhere. Even for extended periods of time, they can be productive and collaborate with their teams with the aid of technology. Hiring too, therefore, should be rethought to include candidates who may not be in the same city or even country of operation of the business.

Flexibility is the name of the game: A point related to the above one is that workers can be expected to put in the work at a self-guided pace. Project managers should refocus their energies on making tasks goal-oriented. Spending a fixed amount of time to achieve a goal is the less preferred approach to a working style that focuses on outcomes achieved. This latter model prizes efficiency and smart work – a win for today’s agility-minded talent.

Focus on experience: Companies switch from being the sole providers of a livelihood to participants in the daily lives of a group of talented, well-rounded individuals. This means companies should openly encourage a good work-life balance and healthy lifestyle to attract talent that values the same things. Many companies in India are already doing this. Examples are Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, Hindustan Unilever, and Aditya Birla Retail. This rating done by surveys the best workplaces in India for 2021 to produce Amazon and Samsung as some of the most sought-after employers.

These basic tenets of hiring and staffing practices can bring about a reliable change in the talent shortage scenarios in the crucial post-pandemic era.


  • Dealing with a Talent Shortage? Then Liberate Your Talent Strategy|talent culture| Pooja Maggon| Aug 23, 2021
  • India Skills Report 2021 (eighth edition)|Wheebox – Measuring Worlds Talent and Skill Potential|India Education Forum
  • Indian IT companies struggle to fill digital skills gap|Ayushman Baruah|Live Mint| Jul 12, 2021
  • AmbitionBox announces best places to work in India 2021, India’s First Employee Choice Awards| The Print| Jul 12, 2021

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