Power from Within: How to Reskill Talent to Meet Tech Needs

Today’s recruiting landscape is sometimes referred to as the “war for talent” – and it’s nothing new on the tech front. With the gap between the number of open developer roles and the number of available developers widening, it’s a challenge now more than ever.

The tech hiring challenge has only become more difficult in the years since, and the demand for software engineering talent shows no signs of letting up. In this presentation, Tech Elevator CEO and Co-founder Anthony Hughes discussed how to expand your talent pools by reskilling employees.

The Case for Reskilling Your Internal Talent

The output of United States computer science programs is smaller than those of China, India, and—perhaps surprisingly—Poland. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 80 percent of CEOs have identified the availability of tech skills as a major concern.

“At the current pace we’re on, there’s simply no way that the traditional systems we have can support the needs of American industry,” Anthony explained during his talk.

Solving that problem requires adopting new thinking that goes beyond traditional methods of sourcing talent. It’s also about looking at potential and aptitude. When looking to create the technical teams for tomorrow, it’s crucial to expand qualifications from just a college degree to hiring people based on skills and aptitude. Tech Elevator has proven that about 30 percent of all people have the cognitive ability to learn coding, it’s just a matter of connecting them with the opportunities.

For example, in the U.S., there are 39 million working adults between the ages of 25 and 34. If companies concentrate only on those with computer science degrees, they’re looking at a pool of just 600,000. But if organizations consider those with the necessary aptitude and expand beyond that small pool of degrees, they have a potential population of 12.4 million.

Where is the best place to find these individuals? Companies should look within their own teams. 

“The reality is that there are smart people whose only barrier is skills,” said Anthony. “Many organizations…have proven consistently for the last ten-plus years that we can bridge that skills gap and produce high-performing employees from an incumbent workforce.”

How to Reskill: The Approach 

There are a number of ways to go about reskilling your employees and investing in an enhanced employee experience. As Anthony discusses, internal reskilling is already practiced by many organizations that have their own educational programs, instructors, and curricula for current employees — among them JPMorganChase, Disney, Home Depot, and AutoZone. The latter two, in particular, benefit from training store and warehouse employees who already know the inner workings of their companies and don’t need to adjust to the corporate culture in the same way an outside software engineer would.

“Who better to help you design the digital products that will interact with your customers than those who have interacted with them in the physical world?” Hughes asked. “Who better to help you with that warehousing system that you’re building than somebody who has been on the other end of that product?”

At Tech Elevator. we have full-service solutions to help you build your own internal reskilling program. We also make it so employers can directly sponsor their employees to enroll in our coding bootcamps.

The Results of Upskilling

Improved Retention

Organizations that reskill experience increased retention. Home Depot enjoys a high level of retention because employees know there are opportunities to advance within the organization. Partners of Tech Elevator have experienced as much as 100% retention of reskilled individuals.

Retained Institutional Knowledge

AutoZone, too, sees solid results from its internal reskilling efforts, according to Michelle Borningkhof, SVP and CIO at the company. Employees who’ve completed their software program “bring knowledge and experience in the distribution centers and stores that we can’t teach because they’ve lived, breathed, and touched it each and every day,” she said. “The dedication, commitment, and passion from our graduates are things that you just can’t buy.”

Reduced Attrition

Overall, Anthony stressed that external talent is typically two to three times more likely to leave the company than those promoted from within.

“I know that people get into the talent business because they want to make a difference, because they truly believe in their core of core that the most valuable asset of a company is its people. And when you get that right, when you can not just engage your employees, but inspire your employees, you can directly impact business performance in a way that no other part of the business can,” he said.

How to Reskill with Tech Elevator 

With tech reskilling comes opportunity. For more details on how Tech Elevator can help your organization reskill, see our Workforce Solutions.


soft skills tech teams must have - Meredith HendershottWritten by Meredith Hendershott, Tech Elevator’s Director of Accounts and Delivery