UK IT Industry To Buck Employment Trend And Grow In 2012

Employment

I predict the IT industry will buck the trend of a ‘slow, painful contraction’ of the jobs market predicted by some, and continue to grow in 2012. I believe that 2012 will be a year of significant change for those with a vested interest in IT with the industry seeing a resurgence in the number of IT-focused jobs.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently announced that it expects unemployment to peak at 2.7 million either at the end of next year or the beginning of 2013, and although I expect this to be the case across the board, it predicts that the IT industry will not be affected.

Instead, in 2012 the UK will see an increase in the amount of growth across the IT industry as organisations rely on technology and innovation to react to a constantly changing market. However, there is still a shortage of IT skills in the UK market that will impact just how much IT bucks the generaltrend.

As the economic crisis in Europe continues, it’s clear that whatever happens, there will be a great deal of change required, which means that the impact on IT and banking will be significant. For example, if the EU downsizes, it will mean reinstalling the drachma and other currencies back on to all banking and trading systems, and although this will be achieved at a cost, it’s clear that the opportunity for the IT sector would be considerable.

Growth in the IT industry will be further stimulated by an increased need for morerobust IT infrastructure and cyber security initiatives as organisations look to protect their bottom line in these times of economic need. We’ll also see businesses placing a greater emphasis on adding value through innovation, which will mean an increased adoption of cloud services and a greater focus on collaborative tools in the workplace.

IT is an essential part of almost every business, and in today’s economic climate, organisations are increasingly looking to IT to help them address efficiency and cost issues. As businesses continually upgrade, integrate and restructure their IT, it’s becoming clear that today, more than ever, organisations are turning to CIOs to give them a competitive advantage.

I believes that that growth in the IT jobs market will be driven by 5 key factors:

1. Collapse of the Euro?

Financial disarray in Europe will present IT providers with a significant opportunity. As the European financial crisis continues to worsen, it’s clear that whichever way things go, the risk of change is significant. For example, if we were to see a controlled unwinding of the Euro in the next twelve months it will have a significant impact on the IT industry across Europe as countries look to reinstate former currencies and align their infrastructure to new processes.

2. Cyber security

IT security professionals will benefit from the increasing focus on security. As organisations look to protect themselves against unauthorised access to their sensitive data, they will realise that no device is safe, and that security must go beyond the office and extend to those working remotely as well. At present, less than 50 per cent of all organisations have an adequate strategy in place to deal with increasingly sophisticated hacking processes, and with more organisations realising the extent to which cyber-crime couldaffect their bottom line, we’ll see them investing significantly in this area.

3. The cloud

2012 will be the year that businesses finally ‘get’ the cloud. In previous years, the cloud has been viewed with suspicion by those with concerns about performance and security. As more organisations look for innovative ways for them to gain a competitive advantage the coming year will see a marked increase in the number of organisations willing to embrace cloud technology, by either developing or managing a flexible cloud infrastructure or delivering application and growth projects.

4. Collaborative tools and social media

Corporations will learn the value of becoming truly collaborative. In 2012 IT services companies will spend more and more time creating collaborative tools for global organisations asthey begin to understand the ways in which they can use them to increase efficiency. As a result, we’ll also see a sharp increase in the number of corporate social networks implemented to enhance internal communications and add value.

5. Consumerisation of IT

Financial services organisations will be at the forefront of the increased consumerisation of IT in the coming year. Whereas banks and insurance companies have traditionally eschewed consumer devices owing to fears around security, the coming year will see them embrace new mobile devices, tablets and othergadgets to allow them to access information. What this means is that it willnever be a better time for IT professionals to ensure that networks in financial services organisations are primed to deal with these devices and have the requisite security precautions in place.

It seems clear that all of these factors will drive the agenda of CIOs over the next twelve months. Organisations will find that ifthey want to remain competitive, they will need to move with these changingtimes, otherwise risk being left behind. All of which will be good news for the IT jobs market, which will buck the trend and continue to grow while the others struggle.

Gary Stewart is founder and board director at Xceed. Gary has over 20 years experience of running large-scale IT Programmes, including a successful stint at a tier-one Consulting firm. Gary has significant Financial Services, Telecoms and Professional Services industry experience and has delivered complex global Programmes in highly challenging environments. He has a wide range of technical experience encompassing; infrastructure delivery, application development & deployment as well as network operations. However, he is especially strong on Data Centre design, build, management and consolidation. Having held Business Management, Transformation Management and IT Change Management roles in his early career Gary is accomplished operating in both IT and Business facing roles and delivers through strong influencing and negotiation. He founded Xceed in 2003.