Late 2022 and early 2023 have certainly been a rollercoaster for many. The ever-evolving workplace, inflation, cost of living crisis, layoffs, and talks of recession has been causing concerns to both business owners and candidates alike.
But we are now well settled into 2023, and with the end of the first quarter already looming large, what has the state of play been like and what can we expect moving forwards?
It seemed that with each week, there were new announcements about global downsizing and the dire state of the economy, coupled with the extremely well-publicised Big Tech layoffs caused many companies of all sizes to reassess if they needed to hire more staff. This resulted in a type of “wait and see attitude” by many employers and reluctance by candidates to move roles.
But despite these layoffs and the many adverse economic facts, the demand for IT staff in 2023 will remain robust. We saw boom conditions in 2022 with an almost unrelenting demand for technology talent as businesses pursued their digital transformation agendas. This was essentially a continuation of a trend seen since the pandemic kicked in.
Technology has been the lead sector in terms of job creation and looks set to remain at the forefront of driving employment in 2023. Technology has become a core strategic enabler for businesses in the digital era and pulling the plug on critical technology-led transformation projects simply isn’t an option. It’s the key to generating competitive advantage, driving operating efficiencies, boosting productivity, and ultimately lowering costs. And if you want all of these you need to hire top technology talent.
We have started to see a shift in power during the hiring process. It hasn’t been a big one but there is a feeling employers have the upper hand over candidates when it comes to salary demands and negotiations. The net effect of many businesses' downsizing or restructuring is that supply has slowly caught up with the massive demand for IT talent since the pandemic. Employers have had to tighten their purse strings; budgets have had to be evaluated and “critical” hires have needed to be reassessed, every penny must be accounted for, so salary demands from candidates have been under the microscope.
Despite the slight decline in hiring needs, we are still seeing many job vacancies and opportunities across all sectors. The quantity has just softened. There remains a huge demand for professionals with expertise in cloud computing, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. These fields have been identified over the last 18-24 months as critical areas for organisations looking to stay competitive and innovate in a rapidly evolving technology landscape.
Other areas that still have skills shortages and are being most frequently asked for are:
- Data Engineers.
- Network Engineers.
- Core Network Engineers.
- SOC Analysts/ Managers.
The exact shape of the technology talent and recruitment market in 2023 is still emerging.
The demand for contractors will no doubt increase as project deadlines loom near, and permanent hiring has been temporarily put on hold, but if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you won’t be able to hold off hiring for long. No doubt it will continue to be an active landscape, driven by ongoing demand for talent, albeit with some shifts in emphasis and a degree of strategic rebasing, and the companies with the strongest “preferred supplier” relationships will be the most successful ones.