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Five Tips for Attracting a Digital-Savvy Workforce

Digital Savvy Workforce Sm

Embracing AI early and changing your culture can appeal to technical talent in today’s tight labor market

Jeff Waldman
Vice President, Worldwide Customer Success and Services

As technology continues to play a more important role in everyday business, it’s important to find and retain talented employees who can work with that technology and maximize its potential. And the impact of technology is widespread – it’s changing processes and the way that business is done across a wide range of industries – healthcare, consumer goods, transportation, retail, manufacturing and more. The mortgage business is no exception, as AI, machine learning and other advanced technologies are significantly changing how loans are manufactured and processed.

At the same time, companies are looking for “digital natives” – people raised in a digital world – and this is synonymous with millennials, who now make up about a third of the US workforce. Millennials have grown up with more “screen time” than any generation in history and are very accustomed to working with technology. Some would say that they demand technology, based on their living and buying habits (i.e. “the Uber generation”), and some might even say that they can’t live without it. This applies to having technology where they work as well.

In a study by Microsoft and Survey Monkey of more that 1,000 millennials, 93 percent cited having up-to-date technology as an important factor when selecting a workplace.

The Challenge – Attracting Tech Talent

So, how can you attract technical talent to work in a mature industry like mortgage lending, when the stereotypical Millennial wants to work for the next Airbnb? How can you compete with larger tech companies and startups, and other firms that market themselves as “disruptors” while you’re focused on using technology to do something entirely practical (like driving mortgage-processing efficiency)? Actually, it is possible. But it’s not about having “Silicon Valley perks” – a relaxed dress code, free flowing beer and a foosball table in the lunchroom. Prospective employees look for much more than that, and if you understand what they are looking for, there’s no need to get into a “perks arms race” with the Silicon Valley set. 

Here are five tips for promoting your use of technology and attracting tech-savvy talent to your organization.

Be an early adopter – firms that embrace the use of new technology, including AI and machine learning, will show prospective employees that they are serious about making new tech a key part of their business. AI is exciting and new, with the potential to change the business world and our everyday lives - so own that when seeking talent, because people are interested in careers in this dynamic field. According to an article in Forbes, there has been a 14x increase in the number of active AI startups since 2000, and the share of jobs requiring AI skills has increased 6x since 2000.

Promote a tech-first culture – be sure that you encourage and empower your employees to use the digital tools that they are most comfortable working with, as well as tools that optimize their efficiency and save them time. Whether it’s a collaboration tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, mobile apps for tracking projects, or cloud-based “as a service” tools that can be accessed anytime, anywhere over the internet, make sure that your company embraces and uses technology at all levels of the organization.

Offer an attractive, well-defined career path – younger employees, especially those in the technology field, want to work for a company that will help them to learn and grow, while exposing them to the newest technologies that are on the cutting edge. They want to work on exciting new projects that “push the envelope” of what new technology has to offer, and they want to see a path at your company that will lead them to a great future. Otherwise, they will look elsewhere and make a career move. According to a Gallup report, 21 percent of millennials say that they have changed jobs in the past year.

Go where the talent is – some businesses have moved their headquarters from suburban locations to city centers in order to be closer to where tech savvy workers and recent college graduates live. It is also helpful to be near university-based research centers that focus on technology.

Offer remote working options – sometimes, the technical talent that you need is located far away from your office, but they would be a great asset to your company. Companies are increasing using remote workers to tap into talent that they need to fill key roles. According to a 2018 study by Upwork, 63 percent of companies have remote workers, and over a third of full-time employees will work remotely in the next ten years.

In all, having a tech-savvy workforce can bring great benefits to your business, but the competition is fierce for attracting and retaining this kind of talent. And while AI can play an important role in your business processes, its attractiveness as a cutting-edge technology can also be an important recruiting tool. If your organization can make the cultural changes that align with what tech workers want and embrace new technology, you can stand out in a tight recruiting market.

And, if you happen to be looking for a new job in the AI field, check out our careers page at https://www.aifoundry.com/company/about-us#open-positions