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Turkish Tech Sector Talent Gap Report Reveal Opportunities for Re:Coded Graduates

Turkish companies are looking to hire but are struggling to find talents with the right technical skills, mindset and soft skills to help them scale. These are the key takeaways from a new Employer Needs Assessment by Re:Coded and ImpactHub Istanbul.

Turkish Tech Sector Talent Gap Report Reveal Opportunities for Re:Coded Graduates

Turkish companies are looking to hire but are struggling to find talents with the right technical skills, mindset and soft skills to help them scale. These are the key takeaways from a new Employer Needs Assessment by Re:Coded and ImpactHub Istanbul.

If you’re looking for a sustainable career path, the digital economy has for a while been a good bet and a new survey by Re:Coded and ImpactHub Istanbul conducted with 54 companies in Turkey working with tech underlines the conclusion.

A whopping 89% of companies stated that they’re looking to hire developers or UX/UI designers within the next year. While many are looking for mobile application developers or for quality assurance personnel, 49% of them will be looking for UX/UI designers and back-end developers while 46% are aiming for new front-end web developers.

On the one hand this is great news for Re:Coded graduates and other developers looking for work, but it also highlights a talent gap in the sector that needs to be addressed if Turkish companies are to take full advantage of the opportunities in the digital economy.

»There is a great potential for the digital economy to drive economic growth as digital technologies transform global economies and societies at an unprecedented pace. However, in order to take advantage of these changes, we need to ensure that there is a pipeline of people with the right skills - both technical and professional, to fill open roles as the technology sector grows«. says Alexandra Clare, CEO at Re:Coded.

Expanding the talent pool

In a recent report published by McKinsey, it was estimated that digital technologies have the potential to create 1.3 million net new jobs in the technology sector in Turkey. To enable this change, 21.1 million people in the Turkish workforce will need to upskill themselves and at least 7.7 million new laborers who will join the workforce will also need to be equipped with the latest skills.

Filling these talent gaps with the existing formal education system will be challenging, according to the new report by Re:Coded and ImpactHub as companies struggle to find employees with the necessary qualifications.

Companies are already complaining that they spend too much time on recruiting with mediocre results as candidates often show inadequate technical expertise, employability, or awareness of the industry. Nearly forty percent of companies also reported that candidates lacked the critical soft skills such as communication, demonstrated teamwork experience, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in the workforce.

»In order to meet the demands of the labor market of today and tomorrow, next gen learning initiatives focused on reskilling and upskilling will be critical. These programs are able to align more effectively with market needs and provide students with real-world skills and applied learning opportunities, which enables people to get job-ready. Moreover, these programs can support existing workforce needs, while evolving to embrace future opportunities in the market«, says Alexandra Clare.

The Employer Needs Report points to a number of possible solutions for bridging the talent pipeline gap including increased private sector and education partnerships and scaled up education-to-employment initiatives such as internships.

The report also highlighted the potential need for companies to look outside of traditional talent pools and fill roles with more diverse candidates including refugees and migrants. Over 91% of companies reported a readiness to hire non-Turkish talent as long as candidates were fluent in English. For this to be feasible however, there is a need for tech organizations to partner with local non-profit partners who can support access to legal employment for refugees and migrants (i.e. processing work permits, registration for freelancers, etc.).

With the Turkish tech sector currently only at 1.3% of the national GDP, well below USA at 3.3%, China at 2.16% and below the European average at 1.66%, there is clearly an opportunity for growth emphasizing the need and urgency of rethinking the talent pipeline in the tech sector.

Download the full report here

This report is published within the framework of the ‘PEP-Promotion of Economic Prospects’ programme which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with Re:Coded & Impact Hub

Media Inquiries: Lars Højholt, Communications Manager at Re:Coded - lars@re-coded.com or 05318255394.

Key Findings

Upcoming Recruitment Plans

  • Eighty-nine per cent of organisations surveyed plan to recruit new team members within the next 12 months.
  • The majority of those recruiting in the next year plan to bring on an average of 5 new team members.
  • Over the course of the next year, 93% of organisations plan to recruit developers and 54% plan to recruit designers.

The main technical skills that employers are looking for while recruiting for open positions are:

  1. Mobile application development
  2. QA (Quality Assurance)
  3. UX/UI design
  4. Frontend web development
  5. Backend web development.
  • There is a breadth of opportunity for youth seeking to start careers in the digital economy, as 79% of organisations plan to recruit junior developers and 70% plan to recruit junior designers in the next year.
  • Youth graduating from technical training programs have an opportunity to start their careers in technology with little or no work experience, as 56% of surveyed organisations have an internship program.
  • Ninety-one per cent of respondents report an openness to hiring non-Turkish talent. 85% report an openness to hiring non-Turkish speaking team members, provided they are fluent in English.

Recruitment Challenges

  • Employers report that their main challenges in recruitment processes are time spent on interviews and an inability to find the right person for open positions.
  • Employers report that applicants are lacking both the technical and English-language skills required for open positions.
  • Employers stated that many applicants were not aware of changing sector dynamics, and did not demonstrate a clear commitment to their own professional development and continued learning.

Recommendations

  • Given the current findings, we recommend the following actions to be taken by public, private, and development partners in Turkey:
  • Eighty-nine per cent of organisations surveyed plan to recruit new team members in the next 12 months so technical training in the top five technical skills employers are looking for should be prioritised and be made accessible to youth in Turkey interested in joining the digital economy, including refugees.
  • Training programs that give participants both the technical and core employability skills (i.e. communication, teamwork, and problem-solving) that employers need should be developed and delivered. These programs should also train participants to learn how to learn, in order to better equip youth to stay up-to-date on the latest technological developments and to learn new technical skills as the sector evolves.
  • English-language training should be made accessible to all youth in Turkey with an interest in working in technology, in order to enable them to access training and to start a career in the digital economy.
  • The private sector and other organisations delivering career-readiness programs in Turkey should collaborate to ensure that these programs adequately prepare youth to apply for jobs, develop CVs, improve interviewing skills, and ultimately enter the labour market.
  • Organisations and private sector companies should partner with one another to develop education-to-employment pipelines, including internships, to shorten the amount of time spent on recruitment.
  • Organisations that support legal employment for refugees (i.e. processing work permits, registration for freelancers, etc.) need to partner with the private sector to raise awareness and foster bureaucratic and legal support for formal employment for refugees in Turkey.

Lars Højholt

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