While the current situation and economic trends may seem grim, it is not all bad news for tech workers. It is true that people strategies in the sector may be impacted, but there are still plenty of opportunities for tech experts in the industry.
Here is what Ecosystm Analysts say about what’s next for technology workers.
Today, we are seeing two quite conflicting signals in the market: Tech vendors are laying off staff; and IT teams in businesses are struggling to hire the people they need.
At Ecosystm, we still expect a healthy growth in tech spend in 2023 and 2024 regardless of economic conditions. Businesses will be increasing their spend on security and data governance to limit their exposure to cyber-attacks; they will spend on automation to help teams grow productivity with current or lower headcount; they will continue their cloud investments to simplify their technology architectures, increase resilience, and to drive business agility. Security, cloud, data management and analytics, automation, and digital developers will all continue to see employment opportunities.
If this is the case, then why are tech vendors laying off headcount?
The slowdown in the American economy is a big reason. Tech providers that are laying of staff are heavily exposed to the American market.
Salesforce – 68% Americas
Facebook – 44% North America
Genesys – around 60% in North America
Much of the messaging that these providers are giving is it is not that business is performing poorly – it is that growth is slowing down from the fast pace that many were witnessing when digital strategies accelerated.
Some of these tech providers might also be using the opportunity to “trim the fat” from their business – using the opportunity to get rid of the 2-3% of staff or teams that are underperforming. Interestingly, many of the people that are being laid off are from in or around the sales organisation. In some cases, tech providers are trimming products or services from their business and associated product, marketing, and technical staff are also being laid off.
While the majority of the impact is being felt in North America, there are certainly some people being laid off in Asia Pacific too. Particularly in companies where the development is done in Asia (India, China, ASEAN, etc.), there will be some impact when products or services are discontinued.
While it is not all bad news for tech talent, there is undoubtedly some nervousness. So this is what you should think about:
Change your immediate priorities. Ecosystm research found that 40% of digital/IT talent were looking to change employers in 2023. Nearly 60% of them were also thinking of changes in terms of where they live and their career.
This may not be the right time to voluntarily change your job. Job profiles and industry requirements should guide your decision – by February 2023, a clearer image of the job market will emerge. Till then, upskill and get those certifications to stay relevant!
Be prepared for contract roles. With a huge pool of highly skilled technologists on the hunt for new opportunities, smaller technology providers and start-ups have a cause to celebrate. They have faced the challenge of getting the right talent largely because of their inability to match the remunerations offered by large tech firms.
These companies may still not be able to match the benefits offered by the large tech firms – but they provide opportunities to expand your portfolio, industry expertise, and experience in emerging technologies. This will see a change in job profiles. It is expected that more contractual roles will open up for the technology industry. You will have more opportunities to explore the option of working on short-term assignments and consulting projects – sometimes on multiple projects and with multiple clients at the same time.
Think about switching sides. The fact remains that digital and technology upgrades continue to be organisational priorities, across all industries. As organisations continue on their digital journeys, they have an immense potential to address their skills gap now with the availability of highly skilled talent. In a recently conducted Ecosystm roundtable, CIOs reported that new graduates have been demanding salaries as high as USD 200,000 per annum! Even banks and consultancies – typically the top paying businesses – have been finding it hard to afford these skills! These industries may well benefit from the layoffs.
Verint has announced the intention to acquire Conversocial, a US-based social media management system provider for USD 50 million to integrate social messaging capabilities across Verint’s cloud platform. The deal is expected to be closed in Verint’s third quarter subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.
Verint has been expanding their digital engagement capabilities through acquisitions. In June, Verint expanded their Workforce Management (WFM) offerings to include AI-driven insights for better hiring decisions through the acquisition of HireIQ. To extend Verint’s omnichannel cloud Voice of the Customer (VoC) portfolio, Verint acquired Foresee. Verint is also building IVA capabilities and recently launched a low code version of their IVA solution to make it easier for brands to build the solution without the need for technical knowledge.
The Need to Enhance Digital Engagement
Using self-service and messaging as the first point of connection to engage with a brand is growing rapidly. It accelerated during the pandemic, and it is common now for individuals to engage with their financial institution, airlines, retail and others through social media. Now that customers are demanding it, brands are lifting their game and engaging with customers on the platform of their choices. This acquisition will allow Verint to deepen their digital engagement with customers across Marketing, Contact Centres and digital functions – it follows the pulse of today’s customers.
Digital discussions are accelerating and having a platform that can orchestrate as well as understand all the data from each digital and social messaging channel is important. Verint is taking the data discussion seriously and earlier this year they launched Engagement Data Management Solution (EDM). The ‘’data’’ piece is huge and cuts across functions – from back-office communications to gathering data across all channels and touchpoints. However, where this is going wrong for some enterprises is that all the data they collect sits in multiple repositories; in some instances the data has not been analysed for years! Managing the multiple social experiences, including data management and insights from these multiple sources, will be key to delivering proactive customer experience.
The data discussion is particularly significant for a vendor such as Verint – they are well known for their speech analytics and compliance management capabilities. These are all critical to managing multiple channels of conversation. They help agents to be accurate, efficient, and compliant; allow organisations to use asynchronous channels and social messaging and digital channels; immediately rectified errors through monitoring the data on the channels and so on. More importantly, they allow organisations to pick up points from conversations that can be passed on to Marketing to gauge the effectiveness of the messaging and campaigns. Organisations can ‘’identify and fix” problems by truly listening to customers.
If we look at the Conversocial customer stories, we realise how relevant their offerings are to industry requirements. They offer brands the ability to engage through an automated channel and chatbots. Whirlpool appears to have benefited by integrating channels to deliver better customer care as well as communicating with field engineers through WhatsApp. Another customer, Freshly – a meals delivery company – saw a spike in incoming queries at the start of the pandemic. They were able to use automation to ease of the load and say that 50% of the conversations were handled in-channel through automation without the need for human agent intervention. They were also able to use Facebook Messenger as a preferred contact channel and decreased their cost-per-contact.
This acquisition demonstrates how Verint is taking the digital and the data discussion seriously. CX Vendors that do not move fast in building end-to-end digital capabilities will find it hard to compete in a highly competitive CX market.