If 2020 taught us anything, it was to expect and respond to change at a pace previously thought to be impossible. In the span of weeks, companies were forced to rethink their entire digital operating model and shift strategy, resources and priorities overnight. As companies leaned into their use of technology as a primary form of customer interaction, the ways they built and deployed technology products also shifted, creating ripples across the broader US staffing market.
At the height of the pandemic, temporary help services jobs declined by over 30 per cent annually1, while solutions firms such as Kforce declined by less than 1 per cent annually in IT staffing2, displaying an ongoing, steady demand for tech professionals in the US.
Heading into 2021, companies are striving for accelerated deployment of digital capabilities, capturing new and increased data created by those digital interactions, while reimaging how those capabilities are built and deployed in a remote environment. These trends are important to understand as organisations increasingly look for external partners such as Kforce to assist them with their digital journey.
How companies are going digital
Prior to March 2020, some business leaders were down the path of planning digital transformations within their companies, giving them a head start on what became the race of the century – to keep up with the pace of technology accelerating by 12 years in just 12 months. Others not so much. Many quickly realised that technology was no longer a luxury but a necessity, with 87 per cent of senior business leaders making digitalisation a priority, according to Gartner3.
With human-to-human interaction vastly reduced, technology became the primary conduit for companies to interact with customers and remove friction between customer and product. Those not already committed to digital needed to pivot and quickly re-engineer their world, reallocating funds to accelerate their company’s digital transformation to survive. With more than a third of 2021 tech budget increases influenced by COVID-194, that easily led to a tech talent shortage in an already constrained environment. By the end of 2020, more than 200,000 IT jobs were posted online in the US, proof that companies are deploying new capabilities across all industries5. Limits on immigrations also exhaserbated an already tight IT labor market.
Typically, employers partner with companies such as Kforce to place individual tech workers to supplement their existing teams. As the pandemic unfolded, it became clear that significant gaps existed in a company’s ability to execute projects or hire the talent needed to build new digital capabilities. In response, Kforce offers advanced technology solutions to these customers by building and deploying teams with embedded leadership, while providing clients time back to address the unfolding crisis. This efficient deployment of talent as a group – to, for example, build a mobile app – can’t use traditional staffing methods, but instead requires cohesive teams of talent to get from idea to production.
Data-driven business strategies
One result of this “digitalisation at scale and velocity” is massive skill shifts. The shift in skill needs was already a challenge, but more than 58 per cent of workforces report skill transformations since the onset of the pandemic6, with some more specialised roles becoming increasingly valuable. The digital-first interaction gave companies new data points to align their customer journey. It presents companies with the chance to glean new insights from this new volume of data.
More than three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses plan to increase spending over the next two years on data analytic capabilities, increasing needs within fields requiring analysis and feedback7. For example, data scientists and Python™ developers saw an increase in demand in late 2020, suggesting that companies may be angling toward a renewed focus on the data analytics and software building so crucial to overall business strategy8.
The urban exodus
Amid spiking cases and vaccine rollouts, one aspect of this new normal remains a reality – the more companies focus on technology, the less people are needed in office. More professionals are working remotely than ever before and that percentage is expected to double in 20219, as productivity has increased during the pandemic, according to a survey.
Kforce’s clients are seeing that effeciency, most notably among tech professionals.
Major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles saw a high percentage of outbound moves throughout the pandemic10. This culture change has allowed companies to reimagine how their work gets done from an internal and external talent perspective. Now only being bound by internet connection and time zone, companies can access broader talent markets previously out of reach, also allowing employees to reimagine their work-life integration. Companies that are early adopters of the remote labour pool have and will continue to keep a healthy advantage over their competition for highly skilled resources.
In this evolving, boundaryless environment, Kforce’s national presence, supported by local expertise, is proving to be a key differentiator in providing clients access to the best possible talent for these high-demand skillsets regardless of where talent resides.
If you are struggling to deploy projects or gain insights from your data in this demanding environment, there are two things in my opinion that can best position your company to thrive in this new normal: understand what you are offering talent-wise when compared with other companies and how you are articulating that in the marketplace. Then, work with internal teams to streamline your hiring processes before recruiting. Speed is key in this environment: the faster you can onboard, the greater the advantage you have in securing top talent.
For more information on Kforce, visit Kforce.com.