DVT, one of the largest software development specialists in South Africa, has recently launched The Talent Exchange, a company that sources and places scarce IT skills in the general job market. The rationale behind the move is simple—business is highly dependent on IT, and thus the ability to locate the right IT professionals is a key factor in business success.

“Software is a highly specialised area, and it’s hard for companies to identify the precise skills they need to gain competitive advantage,” says DVT CEO Chris Wilkins. “By contrast, DVT has already identified South Africa’s top software talent because we work with them: we understand what they want and we are well placed to match them with the right companies.”

A complicating factor is that IT skills are generally in short supply in South Africa. Recent research by International Data Group Connect revealed that 69% of respondents believe that there is a “severe general shortage of IT skills in South Africa. As a result, the researchers found that locating the right skills was becoming more and more challenging for both private- and public-sector entities.*

With over 350 experienced, professional staff countrywide, a dedicated intern programme of 65 learners and a private network of over 15 000 IT professionals, DVT has its own highly effective recruiting function, which has expanded over the years in response to client requests for help in finding the right IT staff.

“Given the shortage of IT skills and the intense pressure to find them, the next logical step was to extend our recruitment efforts and service the general market, hence The Talent Exchange,” says Wilkins. “Competitors are fragmented and tied to outdated practices, giving us a window of opportunity we are determined to exploit. It’s a mark of the importance of this opportunity that we have appointed Mario Matthee, a talented DVT executive, to head up this new unit.”

For his part, Matthee is extremely bullish about The Talent Exchange’s prospects. “We are offering a unique proposition: a specialist talent agency led by an industry insider who understands what skills are needed, what top talent wants and how to streamline the recruiting process. We’re also structuring our business model to incentivise our recruiters to place staff successfully—there’s no ‘business as usual’ mindset at Talent Exchange!” he says. “Professionals change jobs to learn new skills and build their careers: our expertise lies in matching that talent to his or her next challenge—to the mutual benefit of both.”

* Research quoted in “South Africa’s state of IT skills in ‘crisis’”, IT Web Africa, 18 September 2012, available at http://www.itwebafrica.com/business/190-south-africa/229992-south-africas-state-of-it-skills-in-crisis.