How does remote working affect career progression in tech?

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James Milligan of Hays explores how remote working and digitization could affect the careers of tech professionals.

Remote working and digitization both exploded during the pandemic, with the adoption of new technologies surging several years in just a few months.

This has created a boom in demand within the tech industry for particular skills. There is currently a huge need for expertise in cloud and infrastructure, cybersecurity, data science and change management, to name a few.

But, to build the right tech workforce for our future remote and hybrid world of work, employers need to ensure that their employees have access to the personal and professional development they need, no matter where they are. where they work.

Don’t let the growth of tech talent slow down

Tech workers fear advancing their careers while working from home, with women in tech particularly affected. Hays research found that more than a third (39%) of the tech workforce surveyed said they believed flexible working limited career development, but this belief varied widely depending on their position. seniority level in the industry.

James Hallahan, director of Hays Technology UK and Ireland, said when it comes to the impact of flexible working on career progression, there is a “pretty stark disparity” between the most senior staff. old and newer.

Manager-level professionals, for example, are the least likely to think flexible working limits their career progression (70%) – perhaps because they have already built a successful career and have strong networks. . In contrast, just over half of technology graduates are concerned about the effect on their careers.

To overcome this, organizations must prioritize the personal and professional development of all their staff, from juniors to seniors. There are many ways to do this, from online learning to matchmaking programs and professional qualifications.

Focus on early career development

MIT Sloan Management Review reports that working remotely actually improves early career employee confidence by 80%. In addition, it allows geographically distant colleagues to connect and leaders to rotate staff between different departments to help early career employees learn on the job and share knowledge.

This then helps them understand what interests them most, which will allow them to progress faster.

However, other research reveals that a lack of mentoring and training due to remote working can affect staff, with just 18% of bosses surveyed scheduling weekly one-on-one meetings during the pandemic, for example. .

This type of regular telecommuting contact is essential for first-time buyers, especially when they don’t have the opportunity to learn by osmosis as they would when working alongside more experienced colleagues in an office.

So make sure you maintain the support and development of your staff, especially your early career employees, even when working remotely.

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What employers can do

To tackle the complex issue of remote staff career progression, e-learning initiatives have grown in popularity, with technology companies creating a range of training opportunities for staff, using both distance and classroom resources. Here are a few examples that highlight some potential options for your business:

Invest in training all your staff, not just technicians

With the advancement of digitization, many non-tech workers may need to move into more tech-oriented roles in the future. It is important to provide training for both these workers and your current tech workforce.

Amazon, for example, has pledged $ 700 million for skills upgrading and training in multiple departments as part of its Upskilling 2025 initiative. This includes the introduction of a machine learning university to help workers technology to develop their machine learning skills.

Customize your learning platforms according to the individual

Everyone learns in different ways. While some people prefer online lessons, others may want to sit in a classroom. In addition, everyone’s learning pace differs. It is therefore important to personalize your learning initiatives to give everyone the best chance for success.

Mastercard, for example, launched its Degreed learning platform to deliver personalized learning experiences and help staff access the right resources for their career progression. Launched in 2016, the platform has grown steadily during the pandemic and recently achieved 96% engagement levels with staff.

Explore state-of-the-art learning tools

VR, or “v-learning,” for example, is gaining popularity in the tech industry. This tool can create virtual learning environments that allow training and development programs to be delivered in an immersive way.

In fact, a PwC study on the use of VR in soft skills training found that VR-trained learners were 275% more confident to act on what they learned after training, which represented a 40% improvement over similar classroom training and a 35% improvement over e-learning methods.

Career development is more important than ever

Thanks to the rise of remote work, the ownership of the career now belongs to the individual. But in the competitive and dynamic world of technology, organizations need to help every staff member thrive and develop the right skills for the future.

With the advancement of digitization and the growing lack of digital skills, there has never been a more important time for technology leaders to help their teams grow their careers the right way, whether they are working remotely. or not.

Through James milligan

James Milligan is the global chief technology officer at Hays. A version of this article originally appeared on the Hays Tech Blog.

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