Beginning late last year and continuing into 2023, layoffs have been coming thick and fast in the global IT sector. This has created significant confusion, uncertainty, and concern within the sector. For those laid off, of course, it is a deeply challenging period. However, excellent opportunities are still there for them within the Irish IT sector.
As a company that is proud to have been a part of this sector for over 25 years, and that hires consistently within the market, we’d like to offer our thoughts.
A lot of change has occurred rapidly across late 2022 and into 2023. It looks likely that this will continue for the foreseeable future. The industry has taken a significant hit and there have been massive layoffs within Big Tech. This is happening for several reasons.
Many major companies significantly overhired in recent years, recruiting top talent and graduates without necessarily having identified clear paths and opportunities for them in the longer term. Companies are also readjusting budgets based on economic forecasts predicting downturns or recessions. A lot of very talented people are being let go and this is understandably causing significant concern across the sector.
As a part of this sector, we are naturally very conscious of these developments and understand the concerns. However, we’re also aware that Ireland has a very robust and diversified IT sector that grew significantly in 2022. The Industrial Development Agency Ireland (IDA) announced net growth in IT jobs across the year despite recent developments. There are indications that our IT sector will remain healthy despite global upheaval. Smaller, indigenous Irish companies with a global presence are still hiring- and still hiring really good people.
At Auxilion, we’re both optimistic and pragmatic, and we hire accordingly. We’re still hiring today. We’re very conscious that we need to remain innovative, and that we need to look after our people. We’re realistic optimists! We’re confident that we’re in a good position as a business in a country that has learned to adapt effectively to global factors.
Unemployment in technology in Ireland is still extremely low. There’s still a net demand over supply of available talent. So, while it’s important for organisations in the IT sector to be realistic, we also feel that we can remain optimistic and ambitious even in a challenging market. We can still innovate and grow, but we have to be aligned with what the market’s doing.
Niamh Cray, Auxilion’s Head of People & Talent, gives her view on the current context for the IT industry. “There’s a global shift in tech. Ireland is an island economy and we’re absolutely impacted by this. However, we have all the resources in place, such as the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, to support Irish businesses and ensure that we continue to grow. It’s still a talent market where demand outweighs supply. Organisations need to communicate that they are employers of choice.
“Our advice is to hire intelligently. Make sure that you’re right-sizing your recruitment strategy and talent strategy. This should include a focussed and live internal and external talent pipeline directly linked to an effective organisational design. The other side of that coin is ensuring that you’re leveraging and fully utilising your existing talent through your retention strategy, your internal mobility strategy, and your learning and development strategy. Keep current employees and contractors engaged.
“For external talent, you have to demonstrate clearly that you’re a good employer by developing your Employee Value Proposition. You have to build a positive reputation in the market. Some of the bigger tech companies have taken a reputational hit for how they’ve handled these redundancies and there will be long-term implications from that. They’re major companies and they’ll be fine, but the lesson is that you have to be seen as being a responsible, fair employer.
“The market will bounce back, it always does, particularly in IT. This is a period of transition. We’re currently engaging with a lot of customers about how they’ll approach the year ahead. A lot of companies are embarking on digital transformation programmes, change programmes, process improvement programmes. They’re focusing on bringing in the right programme and governance teams, the right Managed Services programmes to make sure they’re successful. They’re working on utilising and leveraging their existing technologies and bringing new technology in to streamline processes and help them get ahead of the curve. As a technology partner that supports these kinds of projects and processes, we remain firmly optimistic for the period ahead.”
A Period of Reflection
2023 and 2024 will be a period of transition for businesses, employees and contractors. For IT companies, we’re in a period of real reflection about how to recruit and retain talent and how to maintain growth. The companies that will survive and thrive will be those that look after their people, that continue to innovate, and that use this period as an opportunity to improve and enhance what they do. More than ever, IT companies need to invest in the right areas and invest in them intelligently. Leveraging current employees and contractors effectively and recruiting the right people is a crucial step in ensuring that your business continues to innovate and grow.
So, what do employers need to focus on to continue recruiting the talent they need? How do we communicate why people should want to work with us? It starts with a strong Employee Value Proposition. Clearly communicate the opportunities and benefits of working with your company. Demonstrate that there is strong leadership and a clear, ambitious vision for your company. Prospective employees also need to see that there is internal mobility and a commitment to training and development of current employees.
Then, it’s important to make the candidate experience a positive one- even for those that don’t end up getting the role in question. You may have another role for them down the line. Regardless, it’s important for an organisation’s reputation that people are treated fairly throughout a recruitment process. Providing your existing talent with opportunities to grow is a crucial part of retaining and attracting the best people.
Demonstrate that you are a good, responsible employer and a good corporate citizen and your company will continue to succeed.