In a landscape that moves so rapidly, it can be a challenge to keep up. It's unlikely that digital transformation will slow down anytime soon, however, and we expect the above trends we observed last year to continue to grow in 2017.
The ceaseless march towards digital
Digital innovation has been on the horizon for some time, but 2016 saw a large step forward in terms of the pure volume of companies starting to embrace it and 2017 will be no different. Where once it was the domain of certain niche industries, moving to digital in some capacity is nowadays essential for businesses in all sectors. We're seeing a new focus on updated technology within a number of industries that didn't focus on this in the past, such as hospitals and healthcare providers, government agencies and logistics companies. These businesses are building IT teams, using data management, analysis and security to enable growth.
By hiring data scientists, data-based engineers or developers to build apps, businesses are looking at ways to leverage technology in optimising supply chains, customer service and all manner of other operations. Because of the increased demand for IT candidates from new and evolving businesses, the race for talent is going to be a lot harder. Similarly, as innovation leads to non-traditional processes and workflows, many functional roles are becoming more diversified. Businesses in need of effective transformation and change managers are seeking highly skilled, adaptable candidates - people capable of leveraging an array of technologies and processes.
Analysis from Forrester suggests we are living in the age of the customer, and much of the digital focus has moved towards optimising the user experience. Technology must be able to move quickly to keep up with consumer demands, which has led to the rise of Agile development methodologies to allow businesses to be more responsive. Candidates experienced in Agile - as well as emerging mobile development frameworks such as Angular 2 and React Native - are finding themselves in hot demand. The physical world is creating more opportunities for digital businesses, and workers with the skills to make those opportunities into a reality. The next generation of digital innovation is on the horizon, with artificial intelligence and robotics, deployment of drone technology and the Internet of Things all making their way into workflows.
The ‘gig’ economy
Just 3 years ago, 70 per cent of hiring was on a permanent basis and 30 per cent contracting, but that pattern has essentially reversed as more companies hire for project-based work. Millennials now make up the largest portion of the total workforce, and the greater flexibility of contracted work suits their lifestyle. Rather than committing themselves to permanent placements, the pattern seems to skew towards being on boarded for a specific project and then moving on, up-skilling themselves as necessary and leveraging their skills and experience for a better salary and conditions.
Companies now have increased automation and improved efficiency through technology, and they're therefore looking at where they need people for a set amount of time. They'll bring them on board to do a specific piece of work, and then the candidate will move on to other opportunities. The average permanent job in Australia stays open for 48 days, a long time if you're a company with a significant need. Hiring on a fixed-term contract basis can alleviate many of the recruitment challenges businesses are facing, and ultimately be a more cost-effective solution. Finding quality candidates required for projects in the short- to medium-term may allow organisations to reduce permanent headcount, resulting in lower total expenditure.
The most effective recruiters are those who find the best group of candidates with skill sets in very niche areas. The way digital impacts our day-to-day lives will become a lot more constant, and the lines will be more blurred between the digital and physical world.
Progressive IT is a trading division under SThree Plc.