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Contributed | Providing Purpose is the Key to Recruiting Digital Skills

Lauren McPherson


Smart data
Over the last 18 months, technology has proven that it can have a huge impact in the ‘real world’.

Throughout the pandemic, technologists have played a vital role in keeping us connected, entertained, and safe in times of unprecedented turmoil.

Although tech has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives, the last 18 months have served to show us all its true power when driven by people who are equipped with real purpose and intent.

Along with our doctors, nurses and teachers, technologists across the globe can also claim their place as true guardians of the communities and societies we live in.

Without their skills, technical ability and practical application of complex digital theory to the challenges we’ve faced, the recent past could have been a very different story.

High demand and cultural shifts

Given the new-found urgency to digitally innovate on a global scale, it’s little wonder that demand for tech skills is set to soar in the coming years.

For instance, looking closer to home, the Scottish tech industry is expected to be the second fastest-growing sector in Scotland up to 2029, according to the latest ScotlandIS technology industry survey.

Unfortunately, the demand side of this tech equation is only part of the picture. When looking on the supply side, a shortage of digital skills is going to be an increasing hindrance to the growth aspirations of organisations of all shapes and sizes, and not just in Scotland.

To add to these supply side challenges, senior developers with years of experience under their belts are also in very short supply in an already depleted tech talent pool.

As a result, simply throwing money at the problem won’t fix it for those businesses looking to expand their digital real estate, stabilise and grow in an emerging post-pandemic landscape.

So, what can businesses do to transcend the thorny issue of tech talent and senior tech recruitment?

It’s all about the purpose

Re-evaluating core purpose has been a common activity for individuals and organisations alike in recent times. In fact, purpose could hold the key for many companies when it comes to attracting senior tech leaders – particularly senior developers – into their organisation.

After all, the pandemic has prompted many of us to reconsider what really motivates and drives us beyond a good salary. Businesses now need to realign their offering with the values, ethics and principles that people hold dear in the ‘new normal’ era.

Defining a clear purpose is something we’re passionate about here at AND Digital – both at a company and individual level.

At a company level, we’re working towards a number of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (or BHAGs for short) which ensure that we’re always making a bigger impact beyond just the development of technology.

For instance, by 2025 we’re looking to support our clients in delivering tech that improves the lives of 200 million people everyday. Our BHAGs drive every aspect of our business and support our technologists in bringing purpose and meaning to their role each and every day.

Creating a value proposition

As well as creating the right environment for employees to thrive in, businesses need to support people in bringing about purpose and meaning in their own careers, too.

After all, without purpose, many individuals lose motivation, focus and confidence in their ability, and ultimately, their employer. What’s more, creating and offering a well-structured career progression path that is driven by purpose is also appealing to potential tech recruits.

AND Digital’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) ensures that every individual in the organisation is creating purpose for themselves, with the dedicated support they need to reach their true potential.

For instance, any senior developer will tell you that they are constantly battling to keep up with the latest developments in the tech industry, despite having served many years within it.


Technology is a constantly evolving sector and to stay relevant within it, we need our ANDis (the collective name we’ve given to our workforce) to be constantly committed to a personal programme of lifelong learning.

One way AND has committed to this is by providing each employee, regardless of seniority or discipline, with 13 upskilling days per year.

Our EVPs, at their very core, safeguard our ANDis from becoming demotivated, whilst also protecting AND as a business from doing merely transactional work.

They seek to drive and empower each and every one of us – from our senior developers and junior coders – to do meaningful work, to the best of our ability, every day.

What’s more, by developing an EVP package, we’re not only ensuring our ANDis stay at the top of their game, but also provide the company with a means to amplify its purpose-driven approach when it comes to retaining and attracting the right talent.

As a digital native workforce packed with tech talent and an organisation that has grown from a small start-up to over 1,000 people in seven years, it’s required serious dedication and focus to build our teams in a way that’s authentic and sustainable.

The results of our EVP approach speak for themselves – we have employee churn rates of around 5%, compared to industry averages of 8-9%.

Variety and cross pollination are the secret ingredients

In general, anyone who works in the tech industry is often highly motivated by complex problem solving, likes the opportunity to get their hands on the latest tech, and has a natural curiosity to find new ways of doing things.

In fact, as technologists get more senior, this curiosity tends to grow even stronger in-line with the latest technological breakthroughs – many having come to full fruition in recent years.

Senior developers are no exception to this rule and are seen as a core proponent of what we do here at AND. Not only are they curious and highly motivated to tackle problems, they also play a vital role in how ideas, theories and new techniques are transmitted to AND’s community and clients.

The variety of the work AND does also has a huge cumulative impact within the ecosystem we operate in.

For instance, AND Digital’s client base is extremely diverse. Team members could be collaborating with a banking and financial sector client one week, and the very next week they could be working with an airline.

For our senior developers, this variety means that not only are they faced with different challenges on a regular basis, it also means that they get the opportunity to apply the techniques, skills and solutions they’ve learnt in one sector and apply them for the needs of others.

This so-called ‘cross pollination’ of innovative thinking in different industry sectors not only improves our entire client base, but also gives our senior developers great job satisfaction whilst sharpening their skills on an ongoing basis.

The future is purpose-driven

The last 18 months has seen the technology industry shift dramatically into a purpose-driven sector. Any organisation looking to grow not only needs a credible digital strategy, it needs to find the talent to deliver it.

In order to transcend supply side challenges, those in the market for fresh tech talent need to look inwardly to define what their core purpose is and what they think they can offer recruits to align and support their values beyond a salary.

As a leading digital consultancy, AND Digital has supported many organisations over the years to unleash the power of purpose in their own recruitment capabilities.

AND Digital is a tech company which supports companies to enhance their digital capabilities. Lauren McPherson is the Lead Recruiter for AND Digital’s clubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Her team specialises in matching technical candidates with AND’s unique culture and diverse client portfolio. AND Digital has won numerous awards as best employer including being in the top 10 list of The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Companies to Work for in 2020.

Lauren McPherson

Lead Recruiter, AND Digital Scotland

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