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6 ways to find, win, and keep the cloud talent you need

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This article was contributed by Brant Carson and Dorian Gartner, partners in McKinsey & Co.’s Sydney office.

The Great Resignation. The Great Attraction. The job search market. The phrases are different, but the theme is the same: it’s hard to find the right people for the right jobs, especially in the tech sector.

Tackling this talent issue should be the number one priority for companies. Responses to McKinsey’s survey found that talent change is more impactful than any other action. But they are not happening. Only 27% say their companies have followed such a change in skills gaps over the past two years, and only 15% believe they will in the next two years.

While investment tripled between 2017 and 2021, the issue is nowhere near as acute as in the cloud. McKinsey estimates that there is a new value of over $ 1 trillion at stake – only if there is human capacity to take advantage.

To understand how to win cloud talent, McKinsey conducted in-depth interviews with 28 key information executives and cloud executives. Almost everyone pointed out the lack of talent and abilities as the main problem. Based on these interviews and related research, here are six ways companies can find and retain the cloud talent they need.

1. Discover technical talents with extensive experience and skills.

Deep cloud skills and experience are of course important. Our analysis shows that width is also important. Most US-based cloud professionals have played many roles; They tend to be generalists with some deeper traits. If they have worked in a traditional IT-infrastructure organization it helps to have an understanding of the range of basic design choices that need to be addressed to develop an application or platform.

2. Be more deliberate about recycling and upskilling.

With the right approach, nurturing talent inside the home can go a long way in bridging the talent gap and at a lower cost than hiring outside. It can also build loyalty. In general, however, companies do not take this route with sufficient urgency. While nine out of ten organizations are training their tech talent on the cloud, most of this training is voluntary and limited to engineers building core cloud platforms. More than 40% of non-technical tasks are physically influenced by the cloud, yet only 25% of companies are training individuals in these roles. The best companies select high-potential talent and create opportunities to accelerate their path to technical leadership. They also offer incentives, including mandatory and tailored cloud learning tours, to ensure wide participation in high-skill programs.

3. Cut back on hard work.

In traditional IT architecture, decisions require levels of reviews and approvals. That kind of slow-moving bureaucracy is a big turn-off. Creating a culture where cloud talent can thrive requires giving teams the autonomy to work consistently on different products and platforms. It also means keeping them focused on important tasks, avoiding difficulties and meetings. When a large bank discovered that engineers spend as little as 30% of their time on tools, they set up a dashboard to measure “engineering tools” and introduced a productivity team. By reducing process waste, increasing automation, and improving the developer’s experience, the bank has significantly increased engineer satisfaction. At the same time, engineers and developers need to understand the business context, have a shared responsibility mindset so that the products and platforms they deliver support the organization’s strategy.

4. It’s not just about money.

Less than half of the cloud professionals occupy their roles for more than two years. To keep them longer, address what motivates them – that is, pay, access to advanced technology, work environment and professional development. Companies that do well in retaining their talents develop different experiences that can help give people the freedom (to the limit) to move forward and experiment. Organizations should allow employees to work remotely, measuring collaboration tools, safety protocols, and remote-friendly teamwork approaches. This can not only help improve retention, but also help attract talent.

5. Build your own skills through partnership.

Most organizations will struggle to meet their cloud-talent needs without participation. But many partnerships don’t work. Successful companies work with partners not only to benefit from their cloud capabilities, but to develop their own capabilities. In the most productive relationships, partners help inform key decisions and provide context and insights. It helps to hand over the ownership of the partnership to a top level leader. Without that level of commitment, many partnerships fail.

6. Address the interval with smart team composition.

By assembling teams of people with complementary talents and levels of maturity, companies can bridge the talent gap. McKinsey’s research suggests that in many successful IT organizations, about 30% of their engineers are at the top “specialist” levels, 50% at the middle (“competent”) and 20% at the junior level (“beginner” and “advanced beginner”). . With a clear vision of specific skills gaps at the team level, companies can think about how to develop their overall cloud capabilities by bringing together complementary skills in teams.

The cloud is an invaluable tool, but the best tool is just as good as its handler. Rather than complaining about how difficult it is to find talent, there is a better way to be creative about finding, developing and using it.

Brant Carson and Dorian Gartner are partners at McKinsey & Co.’s Sydney, Australia office.

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