Founder and Managing Director of Merit Data and Technology, Con Conlon, talked in a live panel at this year’s AI Summit. The discussion about Enabling Agile Innovation through AI to accelerate and scale digital transformations took place with these four leaders in the tech industry:
- Robert Chilvers – Data Director at Kaluza
- Graeme Tester – AI Commerical Lead, EMEA at Omdia
- Susara van den Heever – Program Director at IBM Data Science Elite
- Alex Cesar – Group Chief Technology Officer at Kantar
Panel Interviewer: The last area I want to talk about is around talent and resourcing and enabling agile innovation. Part of it is looking at where to look, the skills pool. But also it’s looking at it as managing the great resignation. You’ve seen pockets of this already where people have re-evaluate their lives over the last 18 months, what’s important to them, what’s not important to them. What can I ask in terms of your approach and the skills you are looking for in both retaining those individuals who are re-evaluating and still attracting the best talent you can to your organisation. Alex I’m going to start with you if I may.
Alex: So I think one of the most important things is to have fun. I think one of the things that is driving the great resignation times is because people are not having fun at work. There is too much stress, there is too much pressure. And people are exchanging time for a dollar. I don’t believe that’s the way that people should be neither treated or view their employment. I have fun everyday, I love what I do and that is the environment we need to foster. At the same time, it’s all about purpose, it’s all about direction and it’s about playing to people’s strengths not to their weaknesses and developing those. The biggest success factor for a business is their people. So, find out what’s unique about your people, celebrate that, support them. Nobody comes to work to do a bad job so help your people do a good job and have fun.
Con: I think this a huge issue especially for tech talent. I think it’s driven by two things, we see two big drivers at the moment. There is not an industry I can think of which is not going undergoing massive digitisation in terms of how they interact with their customers and employees. Covid ofcourse accelerated that. The toolsets we have and the emerging technologies we will use all require teamwork and talent to deliver on those AI\ML projects.
Tech resourcing is a huge challenge for the industry. It’s interesting because the tech industry for the last 30 years has been a great place to work. I don’t know if universities have kept up with it but there is a huge shortage of talent. Luckily, we operate in India, we’ve got 1.4 billion people and plenty of engineers so we can deploy a lot of tech talent to our customers because we’ve got that scale but it’s still an issue. Retaining and acquiring talent is a lot more competitive.
The demand for software engineers and data engineers has increased by a factor of 4 in August of this year compared to August last year within my company alone. The customer demand for talent has more than tripled.
If you get into those rarified areas around AI like data science and all those really niche, sexy job titles, the battle is even more fierce. It behoves us then to really focus on retaining talent. It’s not just the place you work, but the quality of the work you are doing, is it interesting, is it stretching me, are you feeling fulfilled by it? You have to answer all those questions for your employees and still meet the demands of customers.
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