I’m not sure how seriously to take this post at Ask Binc which says the software marketplace is not in recession. It looks kosher, but I’ve heard plenty of conflicting evidence.
On the other hand, Computerworld New Zealand reported last week; Demand for ERP staff still strong, despite economy.
And CIO Australia reports: IT contractors out in the cold, but IT staff jobs held safe.
Is the optimism misplaced? What’s your take on the state of the tech jobs market?
One of the themes of the Knowledge Workers web site over the past year has been the need to recognise and understand the role of skills in a modern economy. Despite the current recession, many skills are still in short supply. And this is acting as a break on the smart innovative companies that can drag New Zealand, or that matter any other country, out of the current economic mess.
New Zealand’s Productive Economy Council has weighed in to the debate making an interesting plea to the government over skilled migrant workers. In a press release the Council said; “
The government needs to think carefully before deciding to limit temporary work visas for skilled migrants or interfere in any way with the retention decisions of companies.
Cutting back on the number of skilled workers entering New Zealand would be a sure-fire way of making the recession last longer and bite deeper. That’s not an opinion, it’s a simple statement of fact.
There are roles in industry and elsewhere that create real wealth and add real value. These are skilled positions. The people doing those jobs earn money which circulates elsewhere in the economy and pays taxes. Restricting the pool of available skilled workers to perform those tasks is a way of hobbling our industries.
All migrants create work and wealth. People who bring much needed skills to New Zealand create even more work and wealth.
The Productive Economy Council’sSelwyn Pellett says:
The High Tech sector has only been able to survive in New Zealand thanks to skilled migrants and without them we would progressively lose over $2 billion in exports generated from that sector alone, and I suspect these figures apply in other elaborately transformed export sectors.
We’ve looked at this subject before in Bad economy good time for business start-up?
Here Brad Sugars from Entrepreneur.com lists ten reasons to start-up a business in a recession. Some ideas are excellent:
People are looking to change suppliers.
From a cost perspective, everything is on the table for most companies. Even if your prices are higher, if you can come in with greater value, you have a good chance at winning new business. You also have the advantage of being the new kid on the block when it comes to pitching your products and services. Many companies are desperate to find new partnerships with new companies that have a different, better or more innovative way of delivering those products and services.
Knowledge workers are likely to get through the recession in better financial shape than other workers. Here’re encouraging statistics from the USA:
One statistic which surprised me was the unemployment rate for college graduates. It stands at 3.3 percent compared to the high-school level which is over 11 percent. Clearly the demand for knowledge workers still exists, even in this depressed market. As we enter the recovery and leading-edge Baby Boomers gain enough confidence to retire this statistic will likely become even more startling.
The State of the Contingent Workforce. (no longer online).
Writing in CIO magazine Bruce McCracken says cutting the wrong employees can kill a business.
He writes; “Retaining strategically important IT staff in a recession can provide an organisation with competitive advantage. Outsourcing selectively now is a good option, but retaining in house project management skills is the key for IT leaders when the economic climate improves”.
This applies to more than just IT staff, many businesses are still in panic mode slashing through their payrolls in order to cut costs. The problem is not so much the cutting — although there are cogent arguments against panic driven staff cuts — but the indiscriminate way many employers choose to reduce staff headcount is often doing more harm than good.
McCracken supplies anecdotal evidence to support this view and writes;
When the storm passed after the recession of 2001, some firms were in position to increase market share at the expense of those who had made unwise decisions during the downturn. In an effort to reduce costs, many companies implemented across the board cuts and wound up sacrificing their future.
Feyi Boroffice makes three great points about big business laying off workers at The Recruiters Lounge.
- Most companies don’t have much fat to trim. That’s right. A lot of businesses were running on empty during the boom. Employees are still expected to work longer hours than they are paid for and be on call at the management’s pleasure. So cutting staff means cutting bone not trimming fat.
- Human capital is at bargain prices. People will work for less money.
- If companies sack all the workers, who is going to buy their goods and services?