Skill shortage: it’s the chestnut that never gets old for Australian organisations, as it continues to get harder to attract and retain the best people.

Money, career progression and position all remain key priorities for candidates. Yet increasingly they will also lean more towards opportunities that respect and enable their desire to work where, and just as importantly, how they want to work.

This is the idea of the ‘modern’ workforce, a concept that has garnered much attention and conversation, yet remains largely unrealised in Australia.

A recently published report by Brennan IT ‘The Transforming role of IT in Medium-Sized Australian Organisations’ found that just 40% percent of respondents said that they were currently able to provide their workforce with flexible working today, a figure that’s expected to grow by only 10% in the next 12 months.

More startlingly, however, just 5% of respondents said that they were in a ‘Strong’ position to be able to deliver on their workforces expectation for flexible working today and that just 38% of respondents to the survey have provided ‘Anywhere, any-device access to business apps’ as a priority for development when it comes to workforce support.

Modern workforce demands

Staff today, no matter the industry, profession or position they’re in, want and need the ability to have access to the applications, networks and core business data supporting their organisation regardless of where they are, and when, and irrespective of the device they’re currently using.

And this needs to happen in a way that’s fast, seamless and, above all, secure.

Of course, one would argue that enabling your workforce in this way will likely improve collaboration, productivity and even the bottom line.

But experts and researchers are also finding there is increasingly a strong link between providing a flexible modern workplace and greater job satisfaction and even staff morale, which are obviously key factors for attracting and retaining talent.

The key labour market cohort to thank – or blame – for this trend are millennials: no surprises there.

An entire generation of people raised on high-speed mobile devices, platforms and ubiquitous social media platforms in their personal lives have affected one of the greatest and fastest transformations in workplace technology since the advent of the PC.

Regardless of whether you feel the trend stems from a millennial sense of entitlement and that workers should be expected to operate in the environments provided to them, you – and your competitors – know full well the horse has well-and-truly bolted.

What can you do about it?

Some people have suggested that the natural growth of SaaS platforms will alleviate some of this burden.

However, this is possibly overstated, especially as mid-sized Australian organisations still rely heavily on legacy technologies, the integration and securing of which remain works in progress within the new and evolving digital landscape. And as ever, budgetary constraints are an added drag on wholesale integration projects of the sort to enable a true modern workforce.

These are not small challenges, however for things to improve, IT teams need to identify and accept their role in talent acquisition and understand why it’s critical to an organisation for much more work to be done in this area, rather than simply deprioritising it.

Only 14% of respondents to Brennan IT’s mid-market survey saw attracting and retaining talent as a key goal when it comes to supporting their workforce and this is something that needs to change.

Working with a partner who can facilitate and support modern ways of working, support different devices, connect people with each other and their organisation, all whilst keeping the working environment secure, could be the answer for your organisation – doing it yourself can be expensive and incredibly time consuming.

Talk to Brennan IT today about how to ensure your technology is doing all it can for you and your people.