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COVID-19 and beyond: IT jobs and the growth sectors that need them most

By James Milligan, Director UK & Ireland, EMEA for Technology and Project Solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the vast majority of industries and, of course, the roles which function within them. This is particularly true of the tech space.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of most businesses. As such, IT roles have become even more integral to ensuring organisations are able to adapt in an agile and effective way throughout each stage of the crisis. Here’s my take on what’s happened so far, and the crucial part tech will continue to play.

The IT jobs that were needed most during lockdown

When lockdown first hit, businesses worked at breakneck speed to ensure entire workforces could work well from home, thus Cloud Architects and Engineers (across Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud and the Office 365 suite for Teams) were in the greatest demand across both contract and perm roles, as they were crucial in facilitating this change.

The need for Cloud Architects went far beyond mobilising workforces though, as the need for VOIP  (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and video conferencing apps like Zoom rose exponentially for personal and business use.

Take the demand for EdTech for example, where schools and universities needed technological platforms to help them continue to educate their students during home-schooling phases. This resulted in the growth of apps like DuoLingo, Seesaw and Google Classroom, that doubled its users to 100 million in March alone.

Of course, as these communication technologies and other innovations impacted personal and professional lives, Cyber Security professionals and the cyber security industry as a whole, saw a surge in demand as businesses wanted to make sure their new models now in place were robust enough to deal with any new threats. Those technologies that had seen rapid expansion wanted to protect themselves from security breaches as well – where even Zoom, as one of the greatest business success stories during lockdown, had its challenges.

Pivoting business models using tech during COVID-19

After the initial business needs were appeased during the first stages of the pandemic, businesses and public bodies then started thinking about how they could operate successfully under COVID-19 conditions. They were in need of Data AnalystsData Scientists and Machine Learning experts to model the impact of the pandemic in their respective fields.

The number of roles within MedTech saw huge growth because of this, as countries developed COVID-tracking apps and began to understand the impact the pandemic may have on local hospitals or health services, for example. Private businesses, like insurance companies, also saw the need to recruit these specialists, to understand the impact COVID would have on their customers’ risk profiles.

Entire business models saw changes that required tech specialists too, as they further digitised services for their customers. For example, with lockdowns forcing the closure of high streets and shops, businesses were forced to move their retail operations online, hiring Developers to build applications and UI/UX specialists to either upgrade or build new digital e-commerce structures to sell from. This would then mean a knock-on effect for Supply Chain & Logistics businesses, as supermarkets and companies like Amazon and Alibaba dealt with the influx of online orders that they were now seeing. The health and leisure space also saw a big adaptation, as Health Tech developments enabled gyms and other leisure activities to move online and into apps, adapting to the needs of their customers throughout lockdowns, and now into app-based classes and booking capabilities for the reopening of these facilities.

Demand for technology jobs in the new era of work

Organisations around the world quickly adapted to the challenges of country-wide lockdowns and made the necessary alterations to their operating models in the short-term to react to the changing environments. Now, they are starting to take a more proactive look at their futures, and need the help of Project ManagersChange Management specialists and those with experience in Agile Methodologies to assist them with this transition, as well as Developers to build the digital applications required by their employees and customers. Examples of these are coming from traditional organisations in both the public and private sectors, who are digitising their products and services for their employees and customers.

Employers are also taking the time now to proactively review the actions they took during the early stages of the pandemic, for example improving and enhancing their remote working systems. After all, it’s looking increasingly likely that a higher proportion of remote or hybrid working will be a key element of the new era of work.

For more insights and advice, or to find out how we can support your career or your organisation in the new era of work, speak to one of our expert consultants today

About this author

James is Director of Hays IT, Digital Technology and Project Solutions in the UK, Ireland and EMEA. Having joined in 2000, he is responsible for the strategy of Hays’ Project Solutions, IT and Digital Technology businesses, which includes IT contracting, permanent technology recruitment, resource augmentation and statement of work solutions across both the private and public sectors.

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