With our global economy crippled by the disastrous Coronavirus, IT companies are finding themselves in a unique position. Amid hundreds of thousands of layoffs and a new, isolated reality, the world is realizing that our lives are going to become even more reliant on digital solutions – and tech companies know this.
According to a recent article in Forbes, our future will undoubtedly include many more technology companies, as there will be an increased demand for contactless interfaces and interactions, strengthened digital infrastructure, AI-enabled drug development, more online shopping, Esports, and virtual experiences and services.
In the very short term, it’s hard to predict how many tech companies will be able to stay afloat, and the number of new IT positions that will open. Already, we’re seeing tech innovation as a direct response to unemployment caused by the pandemic, including a recruitment solution called the Layoff Network. This networking site allows laid-off people to sign up and ask their friends and former colleagues to write reviews and endorsements regarding their skills and abilities. It’s a tool recruiters on the site can use to see nominated colleagues and request introductions.
At the time of this writing, however, we’re pretty much at a standstill. Critical factors will determine how the next few weeks and months look, including how governments plan to stimulate the economy, the development of a vaccine, and how (or if) the virus mutates. We predict that the medium term (6-24 months) outlook will be both challenging and rewarding for IT recruiters and candidates alike, as things will likely be looking up for those who possess in-demand tech skills.
Firstly, the highly possible surge in tech startups offering post-COVID-19 solutions will mean that hiring managers and recruiters are going to have to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to emerging technologies. Keeping abreast of new startups, massive investments, and other tech developments is going to keep IT recruiters on their toes like never before.
Secondly, we can expect that some tech companies who’ve had to pause operations will emerge from the ashes of the pandemic and need to hire en masse. While they might be able to rehire laid off workers, the organizations that contribute to the new, more digital world will have considerable hiring needs. They might expand their Human Resources team to handle the job, and many will outsource to IT company recruitment firms. Staffing and recruitment firms that specialize in technology will handle the heavy burden of identifying and pre-screening candidates so that the company can focus on product, sales, and development.
Third, the Coronavirus has been teaching us many things, one being that people need proper health care. While the Canadian public health care system is among the best in the world, companies must offer health benefits that include mental health support if they want to retain their top talent. Currently, telemedicine is having its moment to shine, and even in the context of pandemic-free life, we know that these virtual meetings with doctors cut down on the time employees spend commuting to clinics and sitting in waiting rooms. Going forward, companies of all kinds, including the most progressive IT companies, are likely going to ensure they have robust healthcare benefits including a telemedicine option.
Last but not least, companies are going to have to become much more flexible with their work-from-home policy. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown us that working remotely not only enables a company to continue to function during disaster, but has shed light on employee productivity. Many studies have been conducted about remote employee productivity, and most have concluded that people indeed get more work done from the comfort of their own home. One study suggests that remote workers worked an average of 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year. Other research has revealed that companies that allow remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t.
Even during the best of times, giving employees the chance to work from home (when reasonable) is becoming the way of the future. It allows people the chance to better manage their personal lives, cut down on commuting (and CO2 gas emissions), and it certainly limits the spread of many viruses including the common cold.
As COVID-19 continues to spread and wreak havoc around the world, people will continue to stay home and spend less. A serious economic downturn is looming; an unfortunate reality that’s impossible to ignore. The organizations that will weather the storm are the ones that have successfully upgraded their tech infrastructure to enable remote work. Many companies that emerge from all of this will most likely be the ones offering technologies that provide solutions to this ongoing problem, as well as other potential pandemics.
One thing is certain: recruiters in the IT sector are currently braving a lull, but a boom is coming, and their jobs will be crucial for helping companies recruit all-star talent – talent that will undoubtedly play a role in changing the way we work and live going forward.