9th February 2024
Following years of tech talent shortages, the mass redundancies in Big Tech are serving as a backdrop to the current IT hiring landscape. There have been almost 169,000 professionals made redundant. Many commentators are asking why this is happening – ‘when will tech layoffs stop?’
Those asking these questions might be focussing on the wrong thing. Layoffs are unsettling but an uncertain economy doesn’t have to spell disaster for IT leaders and businesses.
The UK economy is experiencing a level of uncertainty that hasn’t been seen since the early 1980s. Rising living costs and inflation have led to fears of recession and led to new challenges for businesses and IT leaders. There exists a sense of precariousness amongst tech and IT leaders that has affected hiring in the short term.
But, as we’ve , all this economic uncertainty hasn’t necessarily led to a weaker IT hiring market. While hiring may have felt quieter than the big ups and downs of the post-pandemic boom, demand for tech talent remains high.
And, while the big names in technology might be rethinking their workforce numbers in reaction to market tremors, smaller businesses are still offering plenty of interesting opportunities for professionals with tech expertise.
Those big tech layoffs are grabbing headlines and being described as a “reckoning” in the market, however all that is really happening is a rebalancing of supply and demand. In many ways, the tech giants played a huge role in overinflating the tech hiring bubble we’ve seen over the past few years. Over-hiring in response to unsustainable peaks in consumer demand caused by a unique set of circumstances.
Now, faced with increasing costs and a reduction in funding, they are laying off staff. But, despite thousands of IT professionals being made redundant, at most levels, there is more demand for tech skills than supply. And that’s down to digital ubiquity.
Technology has become so integral to the smooth functioning of modern businesses regardless of industry that we can really say that every company is an IT company. If you want to succeed you must leverage tech to streamline operations and improve efficiency.
What all this means is that start-up and scale-up businesses have a unique opportunity to take advantage of big tech redundancies to snap up IT talent if they can effectively manage their resources and recruitment through challenging times:
As costs rise many businesses will be tightening their belts and looking to succeed while reducing resources. Managing IT projects and functions with fewer resources available can be a challenging task for CIOs and IT leaders, but with effective strategies, it is possible to optimise existing IT teams and prioritise projects.
Open and transparent communication is crucial. Clearly communicate the resource constraints to your teams and involve them in decision-making processes to foster trust and collaboration. Prioritise projects based on their impact and alignment with organisational goals, considering both short-term gains and long-term benefits.
Identify and lean into the core strengths of your existing teams and encourage cross-training to fill skill gaps. You might also consider the potential of outsourcing or partnering with an experienced tech recruiter to access specialised expertise and fill skill gaps temporarily.
You may be faced with the task of rebuilding trust following redundancies. Provide support to affected employees, offer transparency on the reasons behind the decisions, and provide opportunities for re-skilling or reassignment where possible. Foster a positive work environment that encourages open communication and recognises and rewards the contributions of the remaining team members.
By aligning IT strategies with overall business objectives, IT leaders can effectively contribute to organisational success and stability. Having a strong understanding of business goals and challenges by collaborating closely with other leaders in the organisation can help you identify areas where technology can be leveraged to drive growth and create value.
You can then prioritise initiatives that directly impact the organisation’s bottom line. This involves focusing on projects that enhance operational efficiency, improve customer experiences, or enable new revenue streams. By demonstrating the value of IT investments in measurable terms, such as cost savings or increased productivity and partnering across the business, you’ll gain support and resources for your initiatives.
Innovation and digital transformation are key drivers of business growth. By embracing digital transformation, businesses streamline their processes, optimise operations, and develop new business models, leading to improved competitiveness, enhanced customer engagement, and the creation of new market opportunities. To foster a culture of innovation within your IT teams, encourage experimentation and cross-functional collaboration as well as provide resources for research and development.
Perhaps the most important consideration for IT leaders in uncertain economic times is talent management, particularly in the tech industry where skills and technologies rapidly evolve. Retaining top IT talent and keeping them engaged is crucial for maintaining operational stability and driving innovation. Here are some strategies to consider:
Showing your tech and IT teams that you are investing in them and keeping their skills aligned with emerging technologies and business requirements enhances operational efficiency but also positions the business for long-term success.
Overall, IT leaders and hiring managers should be encouraged by the opportunities presented by the current economic situation. With careful management and a focus on improving talent acquisition, the outlook is positive for IT and technology businesses determined to drive economic growth and recovery.
At Vocative we work closely with you with to identify and secure the right people for your business through market insights and strategy, team planning, role design and bespoke campaigns and searches.