Tech Talk: companies have seized on the lockdown to build more automation into their operations, says BILL MAGEE
Is it me or is BoJo’s Covid-19 declaration about life becoming “virtually normal by Christmas” a bit fanciful and one straight out of the political playbook? For weeks, nae months, UK jobs agencies have been in similar denial when it comes to the pandemic crisis. As I discovered by chance.
A wee while ago I received an invitation, via LinkedIn, to apply for a digital comms role “in time to meet the festive push.” Come again. Isn’t a festive push rather unrealistic, especially in light of the latest Coronavirus worst case economic scenario, a C-19 second wave, and with it another lockdown that could all but cancel Christmas as we know it?
Then there’s Brexit that’s also supposed to be finally tied up by the end of the year. A double whammy, that could together leave Britain’s economy exposed like never before.
I had decided to do a bit of digging well before the Westminster festive claim. One jobs website reported “within the last 24 hours 373 Xmas jobs have been posted.” Another a vacancy for a “Santa Claus at £12-15 an hour.” (Might go for that one..)
Yet another site boldly proclaimed: “Christmas jobs – Employees Urgently Needed. Over 167,457 jobs are available on our site, go ahead and find yours.”
All this kind of clashes with what’s actually happening.
ACCA’s survey of 15,000 accountants reveals SMEs in Scotland are going into liquidation at twice the rate of UK figures – 13% compared with 5.4%. Begbies Traynor, insolvency specialists, report firms feeling “further distress” across all sectors.
Since early 2020 the virus has battered the UK economy with more than 100,000 job cuts planned or already happening. The Bank of England warns 1.3 million people will eventually be added to dole queues.
The Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts 15% of furloughed workers losing their jobs. British Chambers of Commerce puts the figure at between 29-41%, depending on size of business.
Where does technology sit in all this uncertainty? The answer continues to be digital transformational solutions. A Pod Group survey of 500 UK business leaders reveals 3-out-of-4 think the ongoing pandemic is sparking an accelerated wave of automation technology.
Harvey Nash reports that despite C-19’s “disruptive effect” competition for tech talent is intensifying, especially project management and business analysis roles. Demand is also increasing for IT development, cyber security and jobs involving cloud infrastructure services
‘Organisations firmly under the Covid cosh have recognised that the internet enables them to maintain a sense of “business as usual” while not having staff physically at their office desks’
Deloitte points to forecasts of higher IT spending on cloud, communications and telecoms equipment as employees continue to work remotely.
Home working is hardly a new idea, but organisations firmly under the Covid cosh have recognised that the internet enables them to maintain a sense of “business as usual” while not having staff physically at their office desks.
Fresh IPO-listed Apple enterprise vendor, Jamf’s CEO Dean Hager told Computerworld the old ways are not coming back.
I don’t fully agree. A significant proportion of employers remain sufficiently old-fashioned, especially when it comes to requiring employees to maintain the traditional 9-to-5 working day. Maybe not every day, but there’s always that concern that a staff member’s conference call is coming from some exotic beach with ocean waves lapping away in the background. Think about it, only the boss is supposed to enjoy such an indulgence.
I would love to be proved wrong, but strongly suspect, that despite the so-called “new normal” at the first opportunity a majority of businesses will just slot back into what they’re used to.
Meanwhile, many firms have begun freezing recruitment and Brexit negotiations are getting Jack frostier. Might be a good time to get that mothballed Father Christmas costume out. Before BoJo appears outside No 10 as Santa Claus.