Raconteur

Digital Transformation 2020 September

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 13 Commercial feature really proved their worth, so much so that in the CWJobs Confidence Index 2020 almost half of IT leaders said they expect to have their budg- ets increased in the next year. Despite the insecurity COVID-19 brings, many IT leaders will be pushing for more resources to ensure their systems are secure and can work remotely." As rising IT budgets and an amplified dependency on technology in an age of more home working create greater demand for tech talent, the UK's dig- ital skills gap will widen further. The CWJobs Confidence Index 2020 iden- tified IT support, cybersecurity and cloud as the top skills needed to suc- ceed in the current tech industry. CWJobs saw the number of applica- tions for specific sub-disciplines, such as software development and sup- port, nearly double in Q2. Meanwhile, skills related to artificial intelligence and the internet of things will only be more sought after in the coming years as organisations continue to embrace such technologies to power their dig- ital transformation. Accumulating the best tech talent when the job market is suffering from a digital skills shortage is no easy feat, but it is crucial to companies succeed- ing in an increasingly competitive and challenging business landscape. Doing so means establishing the right balance between not just attracting tech pro- fessionals, but also upskilling. "People in tech like to be in a company that's driving forward, not stagnating," says Harvey. "If you are really pushing innovation and creating a culture of ideas, that encourages people to join you because they feel like they can be part of the solution. Promoting a strong career in technology also applies to retraining and upskilling opportunities, while customised learning and devel- opment are key to retaining top talent. Companies should, therefore, invest in ongoing training to inspire commitment. "Organisations need to rethink how they create and share job ads to attract the right candidates. Recent research among CWJobs candidates shows salary, location and required skills are the most important elements they want to see. Meanwhile, when companies really advocate for UK tech, we find it's a great way to attract and retain top talent. As IT emerges from the pandemic, as one of the most resilient sectors, a strong attraction and retention strategy in this area is crucial to long-term business success." For more information please visit cwjobs.co.uk/recruiters/ confidence-index-2020 OVID-19 has impacted all industries around the world, but confidence in UK tech- nology has remained resolute. The CWJobs Confidence Index 2020, an annual research report studying the thoughts and feelings of UK IT profes- sionals, was carried out in April, at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. The research showed that 81 per cent of respondents were confident in the current state of the tech industry, just 8 per cent lower than 2019. Confidence in the industry may remain reasonably robust, but the effect of COVID-19 on the IT job market, specifically, has still been felt. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the number of job adverts in the UK dropped from 1.78 UK IT professionals prepare for life in the new normal The coronavirus pandemic may not have completely dampened confidence in the technology industry, but it will have a major impact on how companies approach digital innovation and attract the best IT talent moving forward million in March to 1.27 million in May, resulting in an unusually large talent pool compared to the UK norm. However, the market has already begun to absorb much of the excess talent. The REC'S Jobs Recovery Tracker has recorded month-on-month gains in job listings since May, with a particular surge in adverts seeking IT profession- als. The crucial role IT workers have played in enabling companies to adapt to remote working is likely to continue to bolster the resilience of the tech job market in the "new normal". "Tech was vital in enabling that sudden shift to working from home, which has changed the way many people within organisations view the IT department," says Dominic Harvey, commercial director at CWJobs. "Tech professionals C of tech professionals are confident in the current state of the UK tech industry vs 89% in 2019 81% 71% 49% 46% 01 02 03 of IT leaders believe their business will increase tech budgets in the future of tech professionals agree that tech has significantly helped support the UK economy of IT professionals in the IT&Telecoms sector think their salary will increase in the next year Existing tech skill set Technology being produced UK's status as an IT leader TOP 3 RE ASONS FOR CONTINUED CONFIDENCE: CWJOB S CONFIDENCE INDE X 2020 KE Y HIGHLIGHTS ver the last few months we have all been using tech- nology more. As we've emerged out of lockdown with res- taurants and pubs once again replac- ing online quizzes as our favoured way to connect and socialise with each other, many of us remember the very important role technol- ogy played during the crisis. It kept us connected, allowing many busi- nesses to continue operations, some using ecommerce, remote-working tools and other digital enablers for the first time. The pandemic and the changes it forced really put rocket boosters under elements of tech deployment that already had some momentum, for example the shift to cashless payments and online shopping. Many businesses, which previously operated on a cash-only basis and had no online presence, have had to move very quickly to change this. Some sectors with more traditional working practices requiring paper and office-based work have also had to adopt the cloud, as well as other technologies that allow for more flexible working arrangements. The technology industry has really got behind businesses and individuals during this time and digital transformations that might otherwise have taken years, or not happened at all, were achieved in a number of weeks. The question now is, how do we lock these ben - efits in and ensure that, as we get back to a new normal, digital tech- nologies remain a strategic prior- ity for businesses, not just a nice to have? In a series of surveys techUK com- missioned at the height of lock- down, we came to understand that 78 per cent of businesses believed they would be more dependent on digital. Matching this, an over- whelming 82 per cent of the general population felt digital skills would become more important in the next 12 months. If we get it right, this could mark a sea change in the digi- tal transformation of the UK. Already, we are seeing great work to make the most of these early indi- cators of change. On the skills front, the Department for Education, working with industry, launched the Skills Toolkit, a new online learning platform to help boost the nation's skills while people stay at home. Cisco's Networking Academy, one company contribut - ing to the Skills Toolkit, has seen usage increase by 45 per cent in the UK over the past year. However, there are areas where we must work closely with govern- ment to ensure we can continue to move in the right direction when it comes to supporting digital trans- formation and keeping the UK at the heart of the global digital econ- omy. For example, everyone in the UK must have access to world-class connectivity. Furthermore, ensur- ing we are a first adopter of 5G tech- nologies must be a strategic priority for the UK. There are also areas such as digital ID that require urgent attention. As more services continue to move more quickly online, individuals must be able to prove who they are safely and securely. A recent McKinsey report estimates that digital identi - ties could boost UK GDP by up to 3 per cent. We cannot allow areas such as digital ID be a stumbling block for digital transformation. Our recovery from this crisis will by no means be easy. Technology will, however, sit very much at the heart of how we build back bet- ter. As a sector we need to con- tinue to help build the foundations for future success. This will be done through collaboration with each other, government and other organisations including regulators in areas such as skills, to ensure the whole nation, regardless of background, can take part in the digital economy. But collaboration will also deliver forward-think - ing policies that will continue to fuel innovation and our digitally led recovery. 'Technology will sit very much at the heart of how we build back better' O P I N I O N Julian David Chief executive, techUK O

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