Recruiting for the future: The challenges for UK SMEs


Recruiting for the future: The challenges for SMEs explains how to attract and keep the IT people businesses will depend on for digital success.

Based on research with 100 UK IT directors, SME leaders and digital specialists, the report explores:

  • The impact of digitisation in business and the effects of the big data revolution
  • How SMEs go about attracting digital talent
  • Essential elements of a recruitment planning strategy

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More than 1 in 2 CIOs believe digitisation will have the biggest impact on the future of their organisations. And they need new and different skills to help them leverage powerful digital technologies for the benefit of their businesses.

As well as having the technical capabilities to develop frictionless processes, harness machine learning and analyse data, IT specialists need to collaborate with colleagues to build the systems that put customer expectations at the heart of everything their business does.

But how will SMEs compete for these talented tech professionals against larger organisations and tech firms?

“If SMEs fail to recognise this fast changing business environment and the need to change their strategies for attracting rapidly evolving tech skills, they will miss out on the ability to compete and thrive through collaboration and innovation.”

Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK.

How are SMEs building a digital talent strategy?

"SMEs building a digital future"

SMEs that fail to leverage the advantages delivered by powerful new technologies and the big data revolution risk being left behind. Hard to ignore benefits of digitisation in business identified by CIOs include increased efficiencies, improved employee communication and greater productivity.

So how should SMEs go about creating a digital talent strategy? How can they make changes in processes and people to ensure they have the right skills available to deliver change at the right time?

A successful approach to recruiting digital talent requires deliberate action and will not happen by accident. Find out the six key steps SMEs can take to address the digital skills challenge.

How should IT leaders respond to the change?

The pace of technology change means business models will continue to change radically, while job descriptions become much more fluid. What skills do organisations need from tech leaders as they embrace digitisation in business?

To keep up with ‘born digital’ competitors, IT leaders increasingly need skills such as change management - alongside technology know-how – to ensure their organisation is taking full advantage of the powerful tech that’s out there. Find out why recruitment planning also needs to take account of skills like effective communication, managing multi-disciplinary decision-making and delegating decisions.


of CIOs believe it is more challenging for SMEs to attract tech talent as they prefer to work for larger, tech companies.

What are your plans for attracting digital talent?


Recruiting the right tech skills and experience is just the start: retaining top performers in a competitive market is a big challenge. Three-quarters of CIOs believe it is more difficult for SMEs to attract top talent as they prefer to work for larger, tech companies.

So how can SMEs create conditions that build engagement and commitment? While salary is important and the top reason why tech talent may look elsewhere, a better work-life balance and training and development are important too.

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Recruiting for the future: The challenges for UK SMEs report today

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