IT contract market – What will be the key influences in 2019?

It is estimated that 4million workers in the UK are employed on a temporary basis. 1.56 million of these are what we define as professional contractors. In short this is workers at a professional level that choose a career in temporary / contract work. The IT profession arguably employs the largest number by scale and proportion of professional contractors.

The IT contract market is already significant but 2019 could be a defining year to shape the landscape of how workers are employed in the industry. Things that could influence are:

Brexit

It’s not going away and it feels like it’s not getting resolved. Continued uncertainty could have positive and negative effects. On one hand encouraging permanent members of staff to change jobs is always harder in uncertain times creating the need for temporary workers to fill the gap. EU citizens may choose too leave and be hard to replace. EU citizens choose not to come, thus increasing skill shortages. But on the negative side for contractors they are very disposable if companies choose to make cuts. Continued uncertainty or a poor deal could lead to recession meaning projects outside of business as usual are removed in which to cut costs and demand for contractor skills reduce. 

IR35

This piece of legislation has already been rolled out into the public sector and in short potentially heavily restricts a contractors earning capacity. Whilst the budget this year announced a delay in any rollout to the private sector the legislation is still coming. Short term contractors could consider alternative arrangements such as changing the way they work / availability. Long term and if announced it will be rolled out in next years budget organisations may start to re-consider how they employ contractors. At first glance IR35 could slow contractor demand and availability without addressing skill shortages. 

Digital Transformation

Many industries are at the centre of digital transformation. Whether it is public authorities introducing digital services to suit the demographic of the population, or retail companies adapting to consumer behaviour lots of companies are introducing new services driven by technology. The trend is likely to continue in 2019 and expand to new sectors that lack the existing knowledge and expertise to deliver on transformation. Given the project based nature of this it should have a positive effect on contractor demand for the contractor at least. 

Emerging Technology

AI, cyber security and big data are all behind new technologies that require skills to implement and maintain. For companies to stay with the market in many circumstances it is essential to introduce emerging technology into the business. This requires new skills, ones which often are not present in the organisation. Implementation and maintenance are two very different requirements and contractors are likely to maintain a key presence in influencing both elements as companies look to achieve best practice. 

Skill shortages

The simple fact is development of new technology is faster than development of the appropriate skills to manage and implement technology. If companies cannot hire on a permanent basis for a job thats needs doing they will focus attention an alternative routes which include hiring a contractor. As mentioned previously Brexit could also impact this as we lose EU citizens and struggle to import skills. 

Whilst it is a good time to be an IT contractor there are things to consider that could influence your long term thinking. For employers less contractors does not necessarily solve an issue. In fact quite the opposite as specialist skills become harder to source. 

Martin and Conley is a specialist in recruiting IT professionals of a contract nature across a range of industries. Should you be in search of new opportunities or personnel please get in touch at info@martinandconley.com 

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IT sales talent demand

It was reported in a recent article by ComputerWeekly that the UK technology sector is growing 2.6 times faster than the overall economy. London is now ranked as the second most connected place for tech in the world behind Silicon Valley in the USA. As the UK firmly establishes itself as a leader in innovation and adoption of new technology the talent behind the industry success is proving more valuable than ever. 

Technology companies are supported by a wide variety of skilled employees that drive the success of the business through varied operational responsibility. Perhaps as important than any department is the sales function. The performance of this area of the business can often define the success of a company. A good product or service is one thing but the go to market strategy determines the level of return. As a result as the technology sector continues to grow companies are facing a ‘war for talent’. Established businesses must not only compete with new players entering the market in attracting sales professionals but they also have a battle to retain talent as the growth of companies outweighs the growth in available talent. As an area of your workforce you will struggle to operate without and with no temporary solution available companies must act. We take a look at those who have been leading the way in hiring Sales talent in the UK across the sector over the last 12 months:

More than 5,000 employees

  1. Oracle
  2. Gartner
  3. Accenture
  4. IBM
  5. Amazon Web Services

Between 500 – 5,000 employees

  1. Softcat plc
  2. NetSuite
  3. Tableau Software
  4. The Hut Group
  5. Splunk

Less than 500 employees

  1. Bytes Software Services
  2. OneTrust
  3. Blue Prism
  4. CAE technology services
  5. Six degrees group

The above organisations have demonstrated the most active approach in hiring sales talent. However they represent a small proportion of the 18,302 professionals that have moved company and job in the last 12 months in the UK, according to LinkedIn. Over 13,000 jobs have been posted on LinkedIn in the last week seeking sales talent for the tech sector. The current trends suggest there will be no fall in demand. For prospective candidates it is a great time to be on the market with significant choice and value on the up. For employers it is a key time to ensure you have the right recruitment partners, maximise your employer brand, create an interview process that sells your company and be competitive with salary and benefits. 

Martin and Conley works with a range of leading tech companies of varying scales. Should you require new talent or new opportunity please get in touch at info@martinandconley.com 

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The value of social selling in technology sales

ZoomInfo published a blog in October, 21 Important B2B cold calling statistics. In which they reported that cold calling is ineffective 90.9% of the time. In addition HubSpot recently reported that only 24% of sales emails are opened in their article 73 Mind-Blowing Sales Statistics That Will Help You Sell Smarter in 2019. There is significant publicity at present suggesting that traditional sales methods are in decline. However despite the go to market strategy being questioned the sales profession is thriving across many industries and in particular technology. This would suggest alternative methods of driving sales have been adopted and to great success. Recently there has been particular attention on the value of social selling. 

Social Selling focuses on finding and engaging with prospects online. By using social media sites you can identify and connect with new prospects before interacting with them through the sharing of content or other forms of value added communication. A study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions. Such damning statistics suggest social selling is not an option, it is a necessity. When we consider 75% of the professional workforce will be millennials by 2022 the argument to adopt it as part of your strategy is further enhanced. 

We share some initial tips to help develop a successful social selling strategy:

Build a relevant network

Often we can get caught up in playing the volume game. As a result we have a tendency to focus on the easiest way to grow the size of our network. Taking this approach often leads to a network of personal relationships and colleagues from differing functions. This restricts your capacity to develop meaningful professional relationships and decreases the capacity to learn and keep up to date within your specialism. Make sure you focus your network on value added relationships. 

Use the right platform

There are so many social platforms to choose from today. Whilst there can often be an assumption each has a distinct purpose this isn’t always the case. If you take a sociable industry such as fashion, often there is a need to combine personal and professional interests in your approach to selling which would suggest a platform such as Facebook would be more appropriate. In general technology typically is best served via LinkedIn, due to the nature of the professionals but also the specific accessible data requirements to identify leads. However some of the more visual elements of technology such as UX may serve a purpose on other sites like Instagram. 

Share engaging content

The easy part is getting someone to be part of your network, but that is only the beginning. Social selling is seen as a less intrusive approach to the sales process. It is important to engage with your network through thought provoking content that will encourage them to interact with you or at least remember you. Failure to do this and you just disappear into their network, making future engagement even harder. 

Follow companies, prospects and publications

The beauty of using social as part of your sales strategy is it can help enhance your approach by feeding information to you. The style in which you engage with prospects is one thing but the content provided must have weight. To stay up to date with your market, follow the relevant companies and thought leaders. In addition to this utilise platforms such as Buffer or Hootsuite (have free versions) to track key publications and leverage that information as apart of your sales approach and use the information you curate to build your communication strategy. 

The above are some initial suggestions as to how to tackle social selling. It is however a broad subject and worth doing your own research online for what works and what doesn’t. In addition as a technology sales specialist recruiter our consultants are always on hand to provide advice and guidance around career development. 

Should you require a more detailed discussion on this subject, be a technology sales professional in search of new opportunities or require technology sales professionals to add to your team please feel free to get in touch at info@martinandconley.com 

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