This year we have seen seismic global changes — the likes of which have not been seen in a generation.
Over a third of the global population has experienced national lockdowns and while the public health emergency is rightfully the most pressing issue, there are understandable concerns regarding the resultant economic impact on jobs as we experience our new normal.
In the recruitment industry the data and trends we are seeing all point to one thing right now: the post COVID-19 economic recovery will bolster an underlying demand for tech talent and STEM skills.
Digital transformation is more critical than it has ever been
Since lockdown measures were introduced, organisations have adapted overnight to remote working causing a need to reshape internal and customer interfaces. Budgets dedicated to digitalisation initiatives are being ringfenced — with some transformation plans scheduled on 12 to 18-month time horizons now being turned around in a single month.
Tech jobs which focus on connectivity, security, telecoms and platform stability will be areas of ample opportunity in the future job market as the economy recovers from COVID-19 — especially with the underpinning expectation that lockdowns can be reinstated at any moment.
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The data scientist is king
Of all technology jobs being listed we have seen a significant upsurge in the demand for data analysts across multiple industries — with our recent data on job postings showing an average weekly increase of 9% against a tight overall job market.
The reason for data science becoming such a crucial area is simple: where possible, businesses use historical data to draw comparisons and inform decisions. No business has such a data set on file for COVID-19. Some employers were initially looking as far back as World War Two for even the slightest comparison, but that’s not helpful for industries that did not exist to the extent they do today — such as aviation and international tourism.
As a result, right now there is a real and urgent need for those with the skill to crunch data quickly and draw conclusions which can rapidly inform decisions around business operations, and also those that can help to implement the data strategy allowing this analysis and processing.
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Talent gaps need to be filled — and technology can enable this flexibility
There is no doubt that the recovery will be a long road ahead, but as we look to the future there are some promising signs about the market for STEM talent.
Our data suggests that the demand for contract placements has remained intact. Even in markets such as the US and UK, while there has been some drop-off in the volume of candidates placed, demand for contract placements has continued to remain consistent throughout March and April — because employers still need the right talent, but now more than ever they also need a flexible hiring approach that enables them to fill talent gaps on an ‘as-needed’ basis.
Employers are also telling us that they will have significant talent gaps to fill upon an eventual recovery the economy. This demand for quick access to talent could in turn be turbocharged by tech — employers will be much more open to shifting to remote working if it means widening their talent pools to meet urgent business demand.
The days of candidates needing to be localised to their employer may be gone for good in several sectors — many are now saying that they see the shift to remote, flexible working becoming entrenched within their industry as a lasting change.
The first global pandemic to meet modern tech
This is not the first public health and economic crisis, but it certainly is the first one where tech has become critical for business to continue, with infrastructure, IT-hardened remote working and Life Sciences all having a contribution to play in solving the pandemic — elevating the status of STEM skills and accelerating the digitisation of the workplace amongst employers globally.
One certainty we can draw from our internal data is that the value of tech will now be more important than ever as the economic recovery takes hold — both for businesses who rely on tech to continue workplace operations and talent who have the sought-after STEM skills which will make our new normal possible.