Seeing IT - The potential

The strength of any organisation lays within its people. Without good people that are firmly committed to the values of the company and driven by a desire to deliver, any business will struggle to grow. This is particularly true in the technology industry, where the skills and knowledge of the workforce are crucial to providing the innovation and service that drives our business. At Fujitsu, we harness the power of difference. The one defining fact that I have learnt during my 20 years in the technology industry is to look beyond the background of those that you are interviewing, and consider the real value that their drive and skills can bring to your organisation.

It is well known that the technology industry currently faces a skills deficit despite being a growth sector. It is a key priority of mine to close this gap, by striving more than ever to look at the real value that a person can bring to us when we employ them. As one of the UK & Ireland’s largest employers in the IT sector, with over 12,000 people, recruiting the right skills is vitally important to my role as the CEO of Fujitsu in the region. This means looking past imperfect histories and seeing where a person’s passions lay, and how we can use this in the business.

It is for this reason that Fujitsu is supporting the Government’s See Potential Campaign. See Potential is aimed at encouraging businesses to look beyond stereotypes and consider the real value that a more inclusive recruitment strategy confers on a business. The plans it has in place to support people who are determined to find work despite facing significant challenges is a great stride towards success for these people. As reported in Business in the Community research, companies that support people from disadvantaged backgrounds such as drug or alcohol addiction, have a criminal record, have spent time in care or homelessness, have seen a positive impact on finances, improved staff engagement and capability, and increased brand value. This is always important in the technology sector in order to keep up with the threat of competition.

There will need to be some level of flexibility over entry requirements in order for people with these backgrounds to be able to apply for job roles. In the technology industry, we really need to push to focus on skills, attitude and potential of a candidate before we rule them out of the process. We need to see past their past. By doing so, we can nurture their abilities for the benefit of the company.

As one of the leading technology companies worldwide, we have already recognised the potential of our employees from these backgrounds. We provide our managers with the scope and flexibility to give these people the opportunity to excel. To give a few examples, we support ‘Wakefield Works’, which went on tour last year at some of our offices, and offered CV advice to unemployed local people in order to reignite their confidence in applying for jobs. Warrington Print Centre is something that we carry out in order to employ people from the local area into a permanent role.

We have successfully rolled out our apprenticeship programme, which incorporates NVQ learning and learning at work. Since 2011 over 50 NVQs have been undertaken by staff who have not taken any form of formal education. These are now helping staff to move to new roles as proof of commitment that significant self-development shows the hiring manager that these staff do have the drive to develop themselves. In addition, we have worked alongside Job Centre Plus at our Service Desks in Manchester to offer work experience placements, of which we have employed over half of them into full time roles.

By employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds, we have addressed a genuine business need. Our employee base is much more diversified, which has been imperative in improving performance of the business. Technology is driven by innovation, and having a different set of perspective and skills makes us realise the value of this campaign even more.

We believe that by giving people a chance, it benefits the business, the economy, and of course the individual. In a thriving sector like technology, there is no better time to start recruiting and utilising the talent out there. You just have to see the potential.

Regina Moran, CEO, Fujitsu UK & Ireland