Glass slowly filling
Posted on 6th August 2020
You can take two views on the most recent Markit recruitment figures for July. You can stress that they indicate that things are still bad (they are), or you can note that they are improving significantly. The truth is that both are correct, but I believe that pessimism simply creates a cumulative, downward spiral of gloom and I’d rather concentrate on the glimmers of light that shine through my slowing filling glass (Guinness, if you’re asking). However, in certain key sectors, of which IT is one, skills shortages continue in a number of key areas.
Overall, recruitment has been and continues to be suppressed, but the major change over the last few months is that the uptick in volume, in both perm and contractor markets, is continuing, as per the two graphs here. Sure, IT is not powering ahead the way blue collar and healthcare-related jobs are, for obvious reasons, but it’s definitely on the way back. This mirrors what we’re seeing at Be-IT, with more client activity and, crucially, significant growth in our July web traffic (which would normally be low during the holiday period) compared to the previous month. In my view, the single most important thing that IT bosses can do is hold their nerve as redundancies mount in the wider economy over the next few months. The seismic changes that are coming down the line in every sector of economic activity are all going to require a lot more tech than ever before and I see a slow but steady growth in demand for IT/digital professionals of every stamp over the next 18 months. If, as I’ve written before, successful trials of vaccine are announced, then we’ll see a real acceleration and change in business sentiment.
Fortunately, looking for the rainbows at the end of the storm is becoming slightly easier too. The current prevailing opinion, boosted by the IHS Markit PMI index returning to the crucial ‘above 50’ level in July, largely on the back of a resurgence in services (see right) is that we are on course for a V-shaped recovery albeit it will take longer than the optimists would like. It’s going to be a rocky ride, but hang on in and we might just come through this in better shape than anyone would have thought possible a few months ago.
Gareth Biggerstaff, CEO, Be-IT
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