Leaving virtually no industry unscathed, the Covid-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the global economy.

From emergency budget cuts, furloughed staff and virtual working, leaders have had no choice but to adapt in the face of uncertainty.  In April, we began measuring the impact of this rapid change on UK employers and candidates when it came to recruitment.

For the launch of our industry barometer, we asked professionals in the tech sector to share their thoughts on the effects of lockdown measures on business growth, future plans and career development. This is what we found…

A welcome upturn in business growth

Our initial findings were unsurprisingly dour, with 50% of businesses claiming to have experienced down-turn over the month of March. At the same time, 76% of businesses were pessimistic about the three months to come.

 

 

Yet, as the country has begun to open up once more, confidence is beginning to return as our industry charts a course to recovery. According to findings from our May survey, more than a third of businesses are now feeling positive about the future.

The threat of a second wave may still loom on the horizon, but the number of respondents who recorded business growth in the last month has now doubled – up from 7% to 16%.

When it comes to priorities for businesses, the overarching concern continues to be cashflow. However, surprisingly positive responses to our barometer found that 24% of leaders now see securing new business as their primary objective. This illustrates a sense of positivity in the market and promise for the long-term.

Fresh challenges from new adjustments

One of the key adjustments companies have had to make is to roll out flexible work arrangements and policies that allow people to work remotely and safely.

Many of our clients have already had such policies in place long before the pandemic, but remote hiring and onboarding is uncharted territory to others. The good news is, however, figures from our May barometer indicate that only 8% of businesses consider remote recruiting a challenge with 9 in 10 not flagging remote recruiting as a concern – likely a result of investment in solid remote onboarding systems and processes.

 

 

Related to processes, there is a notable increase in those looking to grow teams, with the number of businesses looking to recruit doubling in the last month from 17% to 40%. This will come as good news for candidates, of whom 1 in 4 have focused on keeping themselves busy and motivated during this period of uncertainty.

Fortunately, figures from our survey seem to suggest a light at the end of the tunnel is fast-approaching as a growing number of businesses begin to turn their recruitment engines back on.

 

 

What’s next?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s resilience and the need to operate with as much agility as physically possible. Our conversations with industry professionals have surfaced a wide variety of views on the severity and longevity of Covid-19 and its impact on the tech sector.

For the most part, leaders are fixing their attention on cash-flow management and talent retention. Nevertheless, a “green shoots” attitude is slowly creeping in as companies look to tackle the long-term challenges of attracting talent and generating new business opportunities.

Moving forward, we will continue to track responses from the tech sector to help us all understand how our community has been impacted and we’ll be sharing the insights from this on a regular basis.

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