Michelle Kerrick, L.A. Managing Partner - Deloitte

Michelle Kerrick, L.A. Managing Partner - Deloitte

Business leaders find themselves now nearly halfway through an administration that ran on a platform of political disruption. Through that course of time, several new policies were introduced. Significant decisions on restricting global, multilateral trade agreements and a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code unlike anything businesses had seen in decades introduced uncertainty as well as opportunity as leaders worked to position business for success in the years to come.

When facing uncertainty and disruption, business leaders who act decisively with a calculated yet nimble plan forward can be well positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities while mitigating risk. It’s this management approach, among many other market factors, that has helped contribute to business growth in the greater Los Angeles area.

Historically the epicenter for the business of entertainment, L.A. has experienced growth across business sectors, mostly notably technology. Nicknamed “Silicon Beach,” the coastal area north of Los Angeles airport is currently the third largest technology ecosystem in the United States, according to a Bixel Exchange report on the L.A. tech talent pipeline. Attracting and fostering innovation, the market has gained a reputation as one rich with opportunity for both young and established technology companies. Countless technology incubators, accelerators and tech corporations now call the Los Angeles area home. L.A. ranks number three nationally, in terms of the number of companies placed on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 each of the last two years.

With industry growth comes uncertainty and challenges. Local business leaders need to quickly address the technology skills gap in the market in order to help sustain the current growth trajectory. Leaders who address the challenge head on may have the best opportunity to capitalize on growth. A thoughtful evaluation of the market factors that have contributed to the technology skills gap can uncover the factors most relevant to specific a business, enabling leaders to build a framework to help solve the issue.

Broadly speaking there are a few approaches to help close the technology skills gap: 1) looking within to align current talent with need and 2) supporting development of the external talent pool. Leaders should not overlook the expertise and talent that currently exists within their corporate walls. Large technology companies with a new or increased presence in L.A. that employ hundreds or thousands of tech employees around the world may already have access to the needed resources. However, recruiting talent from within often requires procedural or cultural changes to link disparate business functions such as strategy and talent management. Business leaders might consider breaking down barriers to internal mobility by fostering a culture where people are encouraged and expected to look internally for professional growth and new challenges.

Understanding strategies to increase the technology talent in L.A. and recognizing the value of developing existing talent involves a deep commitment to the community’s technology ecosystem. By joining a local chamber of commerce, can encourage networking and give businesses a voice on local business issues including the talent shortage. In addition, participating in talent development programs, through academic institutions and private or public organizations, has the potential to spur sustained interest in technology among students and expand the local talent pool exponentially.

Leaders that spearhead participation in coalitions of educational institutions and employers dedicated to developing qualified, local talent and decisively work to remove internal barriers to finding existing talent promise to help Los Angeles continue its unprecedented growth and success in the tech industry. The investment of time and resources in both the community and in individual businesses can help position the city to continue to serve as a launch pad for both new and established tech companies.

Michelle Kerrick is Los Angeles Managing Partner at Deloitte. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about the global network of member firms.

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