By Marcin Zabawa, Director of Strategic Services, STX Next
It has been more than a year since the world’s digital transformation journey was forced into overdrive due to the pandemic. This period of uncertainty and volatility for the majority of the workforce has been challenging to say the least. However, there is much for IT professionals to be positive about as we approach a post-Covid future.
The remote working environment has forced businesses to utilise a variety of IT software and hardware solutions – many of which were unfamiliar or alien to employees before 2020. Businesses across the globe were forced to rethink their strategies and adopt new tech in multiple areas, including video conferencing platforms, VPNs and cybersecurity tools to support the shift to remote working.
As societies slowly recover and businesses move to hybrid working models, the next few months represent some of the best opportunities for IT growth in years. Below, we discuss just where these opportunities will lie.
Nearshoring to the rescue
One of the more fruitful decisions taken by businesses when the pandemic first hit was to embrace nearshoring. Initially, this was done in order to cut costs during a time of peak uncertainty. Through nearshoring, businesses retain a familiar time zone, similar working culture and of course, robust data protection laws (such as GDPR) – advantages which are not often guaranteed when outsourcing work further afield.
Nearshoring proved to be a successful way to safeguard businesses in the early periods of economic shutdown, enabling them to recover more quickly as restrictions eased. However, the practice is continuing to prove its worth: now that organisations are getting back on their feet, nearshoring is being used to help companies cope with rapidly increasing workloads, while keeping labour costs in check and maintaining close geographical proximity with workers.
Demand for IT personnel
According to industry experts, the pandemic has revealed a shortage of key digital skills within organisations, but also a desire amongst employees to improve in this area. These people recognise that IT is a recession-proof profession, and companies are realising that future success will depend on them hiring the best talent.
More young people are now aware of the progressive and exciting career paths offered by the IT sector. Gone are the days of school pupils undertaking a handful of ICT lessons and then forgetting about the valuable skills they had gained once they enter the world of work. Far more young people are now choosing to learn technical subjects at school and university, embracing disciplines such as coding and programming. This was already a trend pre-pandemic, but has accelerated further in the last year as demand for technical roles has intensified.
Supplying the support
Although there may be a bright future ahead, IT companies should not get too ahead of themselves and take their foot off the gas, thinking that everything will simply look after itself. Processes such as training and onboarding of new hires and junior staff will be more important than ever, especially with hybrid and remote workforces likely to remain a fixture for the foreseeable future.
New staff need to be nurtured and mentored, even if they have a large amount of natural talent and potential. If this is not provided during the early stages of their career, they will become disillusioned with both the role and the business quite quickly and will likely begin to rethink their career choices, or jump ship to a competitor.
With this in mind, holistic, comprehensive training programmes should be integrated into the schedules of all staff. High employee turnover is not only expensive, but also paints a negative image for a business, which will only make it harder to attract top talent in such a competitive market.
One-to-one training sessions, virtual coffee breaks and dedicated ‘buddy’ partners are just some of the great ways to make a new hire feel at home and ensure their journey with a company gets off to a good start.
Light at the end of the tunnel
The IT sector is one of just a handful of industries that find themselves in a position of relative prosperity as a result of the pandemic. Demand for technology will remain high, giving the sector a reliable platform for future growth. There is also more than enough talent out there to meet this demand and help drive IT businesses to new heights. The next step for these organisations is to ensure they maintain this momentum by doing everything in their power to attract new hires, while further building efficiency and keeping costs at a sustainable level.