While Covid-19 has meant huge adjustments for our economy and how we work; it has also highlighted the importance of technology to most organisations (and that some was lacking as we went into lock-down!) Al Shorten co-leads the team at Halo and gives us insight into the job market for Technology & Digital roles right now.
1. How has Covid-19 and our lock-down affected the job market for the technology & digital space?
As with most other roles, most organisations didn’t continue recruitment during lock-down, and instead adopted a ‘wait and see’ response for when they returned to the office. We are seeing now reduced job numbers in IT & Tech, but there are also a few companies who are planning on using the opportunity to nab talent while it is available, as with such a skill-short market talent won't be available for long. So, all in all - a bit of a mixed bag with less roles right now, but good potential opportunity on the horizon.
2. What are employers doing or planning to do in response?
Most of the large corporates and tech companies already had good remote working systems, so they carried on at their existing numbers through the lock-down period as per usual. On the whole lock-down has reinforced the fact that organisations need tech, so it is unlikely for them to cut back IT specialists who are halfway through a project, so we are tending to see contracts conclude naturally rather than terminating early.
Interestingly, some companies are holding onto contractors as they know they will struggle to get them back in a month or two if they have made drastic changes.
3. Have you seen more candidates than normal?
Yes – in particular contractors who are not having contracts renewed or those from really affected organisations or where projects have completed.
4. Have you seen more Kiwis returning from overseas (or inquiring about returning?)
Yes. The thought of being locked off has prompted people to want to be home. We haven’t seen a huge number, but definitely increased inquiries.
5. What is happening with contract vs permanent roles?
We have more demand for permanent roles currently, especially in areas which are typically harder to recruit for and would normally be a more expensive contractor or vendor resource. (This is different from most other specialist recruitment areas!) Many organisations are seizing the opportunity to engage talent permanently, and many contractors are drawn towards the stability of permanent roles in the current environment.
6. What opportunities are you seeing for employers right now?
Employers have a once in a lifetime chance to recruit permanent talent in roles which were unfillable 4 months ago due to skill shortages. IT talent is seeking stability and certainty of a permanent role over the increased rates of a contract role, so this is playing into employers hands. In a market which is hugely scarce for talent, there has never before been the opportunity to hire some great talent into permanent roles.
7. What opportunities are you seeing for job seekers right now?
The market has regained some momentum now that people see a return to level 1 on the cards and the news begins to be more about opportunity and industry re-opening. Longer term - the crisis probably creates more IT & digital demand as organisations have realised how reliant they are on good tech.
8. What advice do you have for job seekers?
Keep positive - there are still jobs out there that need doing! With the borders still closed and a huge amount of uncertainty regarding immigration, it won’t be long till traditional skill shortages return in the tech space.
9. Which skills continue to be highly sought after by employers, despite the current conditions.
At the moment, the demand is for hands on technical skills, development, test, and engineers etc.
10. Where do you see the market heading and how can job seekers and employers make the most of it?
We believe it has never been a better time to be involved in the tech space. Current conditions have exacerbated some organisations' vulnerability due to aging tech, which will create opportunity moving forward. Additionally, many organisations, even those hugely impacted by Covid-19, are going to use this time to re-orient the organisation from a tech perspective moving forward. While the market is tough right now, we believe there will be huge opportunities in the next 6-12 months for the tech space.
11. Despite it all, what have you learnt or developed through lock-down and how will it help you move forward in the tech recruitment space?
Remote work is more efficient for certain things (admin, reference checks and less distraction), but it's hard to keep the energy going and drive progress without the team being together. Anything that requires outgoing energy like sales etc is still done better in person. We are a people business, and while we can get by on zoom calls, nothing replaces meeting people in real life!
Confused as to why you are on the Consult website and not the Halo Consulting one? Well, Halo became part of the Consult family during lock-down (as you do!). So, we are madly working in the background to try and bring our two websites together. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about Halo or some of the roles they are recruiting for right now, then head on over to Halo Consulting here.