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How a Talent Eco-System Goes Beyond a Professional Network – featuring Manchester Digital

26 days ago by Gravitas Recruitment Group
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Young professionals attending the Manchester Digital Skills Festival

A talent ecosystem describes a local talent community that connects individuals, Hiring Managers, organisations and partners. 

Every element of the community contributes and benefits from each other. Its overall goal?  

To create an inclusive and diverse community environment where talent is celebrated, knowledge is learned, resources are shared, and the overall community makes a positive impact in the industry or locale.  

In this blog, we invited Kate Wilson, Head of Partnerships at Manchester Digital, to discuss the benefits of a talent eco-system, and how they have used it to help their  local professional tech community in Manchester. Maybe this will inspire you to join or partner with one in your local area?   

Whether you are a Hiring Manager looking to diversify your hiring methods, an organisation exploring meaningful partnerships, or even as a specialist wanting to be part of a wider community, we discuss topics including: 

  • Moving from transactional hiring to communities that create meaning  

  • Contribute a stronger presence in the industry  

  • Sharing knowledge within the community    

  • Networking and meeting new people   

  • Encouraging diversity and inclusion   

Moving from transactional hiring to communities that create meaning

By joining a talent ecosystem, we transition from a transactional recruitment method focused solely on placements, to one that values the creation of meaningful relationships between its members, where hiring strategies are built on collaboration and empowerment. This can be offering support towards career development, inspiring new projects, sharing work experience and industry insight. There is more autonomy and freedom in making a positive impact, rather than just profit-based decisions, shaping the meaning positively behind you work that you do.  

Kate Wilson explores this further, “Community is everything to us at Manchester Digital and to the continuous growth of our regional tech economy. We know that if we can listen to our members and understand their objectives, their pain points and together celebrate their innovation and growth, we are going in the right direction. We aim to enable our members to collaborate and work together as a tech community and as a true ecosystem. 

In our recent Digital Skills Festival, I hosted a talk by Auto Trader. Kate and Tracey in the design team, reminded me of this African quote which I love; If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together and I think that summarises our objective perfectly.” 

Contribute a stronger presence in the industry

Another meaningful attribute a talent eco-system can add, is by also raising your profile or your organisation’s profile to reach wider audiences and contribute a stronger presence in the industry. What might this mean? 

For Hiring Managers, meeting future team members or inspiring a new generation of specialists in your industry, by speaking at events or webinars.  

For organisations, you can enhance your company’s visibility in the sector through partnering, sponsoring, and supporting positive initiatives.  

For individual members, you’ll be able to meet other specialists in the field who can mentor or guide you along your career progression or recommend you to future employers.  

Kate expands on this point; “Manchester Digital members become a part of our regional tech community and typically join us to support talent attraction, raise their profile, increase diversity within their teams, showcase innovation, collaborate with other members as well as utilise our fully funded programmes and resources. Of course, we hope they have a lot of fun along the way too! 

Sharing knowledge within the community

It's self-explanatory! A talent eco-system benefits through the ability to share knowledge, through 

  • Strategical experience 

  • Career insight 

  • Skillset advice 

  • Success stories to inspire 

  • Market analysis 

  • And more  

This can lead to members gaining new ideas, projects, career motivations having been inspired through others.  

The community is built on knowledge. As there are so many elements to the eco-system, there is a continuous flow of new insights from all different areas, and even adapts well to market change.  

As Kate touches on;Manchester Digital members think of us as the central point for the Manchester tech community as we offer lots of different ways for our members to connect and get involved with community-based initiatives. Our members are a brilliant bunch who actively give back to our community and inspire the next generation of digital and tech talent. 

 The Digital Her programme is a great example of bringing together a community of women in tech to support each other. The programme includes Industry Days, where women in tech share their experiences with girls from school or a college. We also have the MentorHER programme which pairs someone beginning their career with a more senior woman to act as a mentor and share their own experiences. 

Our events and initiatives are always welcoming and bring people together to share knowledge, learn about emerging technology and connect with others in the industry. We encourage our members to share their thoughts and experiences on panels, or with talks.”  

Networking and meeting new people

One of the most common and widely known benefit of a talent eco-system is the availability of networking events. As part of knowledge-sharing, webinars, conferences, informal meetups, and sponsored events are at the core of talent communities, connecting everyone over a shared interest and gaining useful insights.  

As a Hiring Manager, you’ll be able to contribute as a though-leader in networking events, or perhaps your organisation can enhance its sense of purpose through involvement in sponsorships or partnerships, organising interesting networking events for your industry. 

As Kate comments Members can benefit from joining us for annual festivals, one-day conferences and events. We also offer digital apprenticeship pathways and training and work closely with our industry partners to ensure that training is aligned with what skills the industry needs.   

We facilitate opportunities to collaborate, network, up-skill and share thought leadership, knowledge and expertise. Members have an unlimited opportunity to share news, events and jobs through our website, not only with other members but our wider digital and tech network.  

We ran our annual week-long Digital Skills Festival in February, which brought together the region’s leading tech employers with thousands of graduates and students, as well as a Digital Her Day, Conference Day, Apprenticeship Day and Professional Development Day.”   

Growing diversity and inclusion  

Another significant part is the awareness and proactivity in encouraging inclusivity and diversification of the workplace. Talent eco-systems can overcome inequality barriers by partnering with local organisations, exploring wider networks and normalising DEI initiatives. 

For example, recruitment agencies can benefit from talent ecosystems in encouraging University Outreach Schemes, Returnerships and even at Gravitas, we are a proud co-founder of Programme One, addressing the underrepresentation of Black talent in the recruitment industry.  

In Manchester Digital, they have their own programme called Digital Her to inspire and support women in the tech industry. Kate adds; We are extremely proud of our Digital Her programme, and MentorHER, a fully-funded mentoring programme for women in tech. There are lots of ways for our members to get involved with these programmes - appear on our inspiration wall, become a mentee / mentor, join a community event, or sponsor an event or initiative!  

We are excited about impacting more women and shifting that dial to attract and retain more women in our sector... it's so important to us to ensure we have representation from individuals from diverse backgrounds, underrepresented groups and a mix of industries so everyone has a voice. 

About Gravitas 

Interested in growing your talent eco-system? Reach out to Gravitas and learn how we do recruitment differently. As a values-driven organisation, we are proud to build and nurture trusted relationships in the tech sector and support fantastic organisations like Manchester Digital and Programme One. Learn more about our services here 

About Manchester Digital 

Created in 2001, Manchester Digital are a Tech and Digital Industry Community in Manchester. A growing community of over 400 members, Manchester Digital are committed to expanding the Technology and Digital industry, inspiring new specialists, driving innovative change and enhancing talent in this industry.  

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