Reports and eBooks
Potentia IDT Quarterly Insights Report
Posted on 29 April 2016
It has been a buoyant start for the IDT sector in 2016. In fact, we’ve seen hiring levels sit at 10% above the historical Q1 average. Enterprise employers have been steadfast in their display of business as usual indicators and in steering away from budget cuts and workforce contractions. The sentiment from the technology industry is consistent; this is still a great time to be a start-up in New Zealand given the community and support structures in place to foster growth. However, this is in contrast to the data that reveals that Q1 was the third straight quarter that Australasia has seen a decrease in seed funding available for start-ups, despite actual investment across multi-stage growth remaining strong. More mature SMEs showed ongoing hiring confidence in the first three months of 2016, not manifested in record-breaking numbers but rather quiet, steady achievement and the posting of acceptable revenue figures.
As adoption of industry standards become further embedded in local businesses, the demand for experience in these areas has become more pronounced. This quarter, we’ve seen demand increase for specific product development process and front-end software skills. Most apparent is Agile and SCRUM skillsets and a candidate’s ability to deliver using these processes. In addition, we’ve noticed a spike in the uptake of front-end coding using AngularJS and now ReactJS (with the perceived difficulties that AngularJS presents).
The ever-increasing availability of data has translated into increasing desire for analysis skills delivered by Data Analysts and Scientists that render real-world insights for business change and improvement. Coupled with the high demand for technical product analysis and management, capable analysts are top of many employers shopping lists right now. Building interest for integration and deployment skills has consequently meant increases in remuneration for these roles as candidates are in short supply.
Skills to watch: the continuing rise of nodeJS (and in turn microservices), coding skills in test-based roles and any abilities with Azure and AWS-based software systems
Within contingent resourcing we are noticing a heightened awareness of programme governance and business benefits realisation. As a result, we see a similar level of contingent resourcing requirements across enterprise and government agencies as the previous quarter. While contract rates remain static in general, we are seeing an increase in rates for specialised domains such as networking security and cyber security assignments. As more organisations grow their Cloud footprint we are noticing a heightened level of activity accessing these services securely resulting in increased competition for scarce resources in this specialisation.
We have not seen an increase or decrease in the number of migrants applying for or getting jobs in the first quarter of 2016, despite a small increase in the number of people arriving in New Zealand with either permission to work or returning home. More local people appear to be applying for new full time roles, but again this has not affected the hiring of migrants as there seems to be a greater comfort level from employers to hire migrants, especially if they have specific hard-to-find technical skills.
If you are technical, keep your technical skills current, especially aligned to the emerging trends of the market noted above. If you do not have the opportunity to apply these skills in your current role, seek to familiarise yourself outside of work hours and take part in hobbyist projects either independently or with like-minded individuals. Deliver something that works and is available for review by prospective employers to showcase a relevant skillset and desire for development. Opportunities apparent would be with online/offline communities and meet-ups.
For those more focused in delivery roles, keep yourself abreast of emerging changes to development processes and tools, especially points-of-view standardised by businesses in the use of continuous integration and deployment tools and processes. Agile, SCRUM and MVP may be old hat to some, but the number of companies still transitioning to this thinking in all its various guises is surprising.
If you are looking to hire people in the next quarter be ready to discuss flexibility of start/finish times, non-standard hours and remote location employment. The desire and necessity for employees to step away from the typical on-site, 8:30-5:30, 40 hour week is becoming more and more prevalent. With this and the above trends in mind, resource planning is critical, particularly with a holistic view on what personnel will cost, how they engage with the business and how swiftly they’ll be able to start. Considering these factors, employing for in-demand skills may take some creative thinking to deliver in a timely fashion.
After the significant movements in the CIO churn evidenced in the latter half of 2015, we are now seeing a semblance of stability returning to this space. Several high profile restructures across enterprises have resulted in new CIO appointments who are now in the midst of cascading these transitions across the lower tiers. We are seeing increased CIO involvement in key hiring decisions, especially where these roles are considered strategic in programme delivery or operational support to maximise system availability. CIO’s are being presented with a plethora of business driven change challenges around how to maximise and utilise resources most economically to deliver the transformation agenda.
Trends Identified in Q1
Our interactions with the IDT market over the quarter exposed two new trends of note.
1. With the uptake of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS anyone can now gain the best ‘as-a- service’ offering they want with seemingly little investment. However, there is always an activation, integration and on-going management cost in launching and running these services well. This is due to the legacy of idiosyncrasies of each individual technology environment these services need to run in. Integration and deployment issues can require preventive or remedial actions. Vendors, integrators, re-sellers and consultancies are providing valuable advice and capability to this end at a cost.
Following this switch to as-a-service, consumers need to be ready to pay for, or employ knowledge transfer from these suppliers to be able to manage these services independently. This is due to the need for continued integration, customisation and deployment in this model. Businesses may want to compress these expenses by creating these roles in-house. The result of this will be an enormous shortage of these skills and the number of people that can deliver these roles. Employers may need to retrain existing staff to cope with these costs and in turn provide progression paths for them to move into the modern era of the as-a-service paradigm.
2. As a direct result of an uptake in consumption of “as-a-service” offerings across the board, we are now witnessing increased confidence, especially within enterprise, to utilise specialized/niche service providers for key strategic capabilities. This is a significant departure from the more conservative approach where decision makers would default to larger, more-proven providers and technology stacks. Lower risks to consume through subscription-based commercials and lower costs are the key reasons underpinning this trend.