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Why COVID seemingly less impacts the software development job market

  • Publish Date: Posted 9 months ago
  • Author: Jonathan Moran

​Software development and technology firms appear to be relatively unscathed when it comes to job losses, compared to other industries who are suffering the brunt of covid-related unemployment. The rate of UK unemployment rose to 4.5% in the last quarter, the highest it has been in two years. Despite this, software and technology companies seem to be doing more than just holding their own. One Manchester-based tech company went so far as to increase their revenue by 30% as a result of Covid, whilst another northern tech firm underwent an increase in their workforce of 50%  in lockdown without any view towards halting growth. 

The resilience of technology jobs instils confidence for software companies in 2020, despite the pandemic and looming recession. The tech sector is increasingly resilient as it continues to trailblaze industries with innovative solutions to everyday problems. There is emerging rhetoric surrounding tech-based solutions towards recruitment. Indeed, the largest job site in the UK recently spoke of how virtual technologies will reinvent the hiring process. Whether these will be successful in recruitment is another discussion; however, this is another example of growth and innovation originating from within the technology sector, and how this impacts other industries.

But why is technology recruitment so buoyant in the current climate and what can other industries learn from the technology sector? We identify key factors that explain growth and security in the tech sector.

Start-up mentality: structured towards adaptability, innovation and growth

Creative organisations such as software developers and web developers often stem from roots as start-ups. Start-ups typically have high ambitions for growth, search for innovative solutions when problem-solving and possess a growth mindset towards upskilling to tackle new challenges.

Although not all companies in the technology sector originated as start-ups, many of these businesses generally do well to retain an ambitious and adaptable growth culture as they grow. Technology companies re-structure, shapeshift and evolve to tackle the unique challenges of each project. This makes businesses in the tech industry well-poised and adept to handling significant changes without negatively impacting output, such as an unexpected pandemic for example. 

Remote working infrastructure and flexible-working in place

In start-up and scale-up cultures, the value placed on employee wellness is central to creative success as creativity is hailed as the essential skill for innovative problem-solving. Fostering work environments which do not negatively impact the work-life balance of employees is a significant success factor of technology companies. Therefore, remote working and flexible-working are adopted as far more standard practice in the technology sector than in many other industries. 

Therefore, the infrastructure required to allow employees to work flexibly and remotely is often standard. Whilst other industries were busy discovering their work-from-home personalities; the technology sector was operating in familiar territory– business as usual.

Software businesses who perhaps lagged in terms of infrastructure were already aware of the best tech solutions for the “new normal” and knew what they needed to do to adapt quickly.

Demand for technology and software solutions

In July, as lockdown eased, TechUK claimed they had seen two years of digital transformation in the space of two weeks. With little-to-no preparation, technological solutions such as cloud-services were clearing the shelves to meet unprecedented widespread digital transformation of UK businesses. Traditionally structured industries without flexible policies, modern infrastructure or plans for digital transformation were forced to seek technological solutions to adapt and safeguard their businesses for lockdown. 

These firms have since realised the power technology has to increase their internal competencies; to safeguard their business against unexpected changes; and to improve their value-offering, with some notable tech companies moving to an era of work-from-home forever.  

Although the digital transformation surge may have mostly passed, businesses now rely on technology more than they did in 2019. Additionally, they have learnt a key lesson from the technology sector: technology is key to fast adaptation and remaining current, connected, productive and successful. All of which will have a positive knock-on effect on investment into the technology sector.

Advances in development as a result of the lockdown

Specialist technology recruiter, Jonathan Moran says that throughout lockdown, there was much chatter surrounding this topic within his network. The effort of teams who would often be occupied with fixing bugs was redirected to speeding up product development and innovation, adding more and more value for clients and pushing forward development that puts businesses ahead of targets for 2021. 

Manchester Digital interviewed Jonathan about recruitment in the tech sector, to which he commented that although hiring did pause momentarily for businesses, it didn’t last as the workload didn’t go away. Companies still required staff to meet their project demands.

Despite the positives and growth, there remains a skill shortage within the technology sector, and with increasing opportunities, developers and designers are in higher demand than ever before. A skillset in a technological discipline in the current job climate is a considerable asset to job seekers.

We at Better Placed can help you to source your next opportunity in software and technology, and get appropriately rewarded for your skillset. Get in touch with Jonathan Moran to discuss your ambitions or concerns in the job market before embarking on your next job search.