With firms rushing to embrace new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and more, IT budgets are expected to increase, and that means more demand for skilled staff. While, in the past, IT has routinely been seen as a cost for the business, increasingly it’s now seen as being key to driving revenue growth  and that too will influence demand for the best tech talent.
The problem is with employment at levels not seen since the 1970s the jobs market is skewed very much in favour of the employee at the moment. This is especially true for those with specialist skills.
This means we’re likely to see employers focusing on groups that have historically been under-represented in the tech field. Already this year we’ve seen GCHQ making efforts to recruit more women into cybersecurity roles  for example.
Another solution to filling the talent gap for specific projects is likely to be an increased reliance on contractors and freelancers. In the USA, it’s predicted that freelancers may outnumber full-time staff by 2027.  The flexibility offered by using contractors allows businesses to build scalable teams to respond to demand at a lower cost than the salary packages that would be needed to attract comparable full-time staff.
AI and machine learning
A trend we saw in 2018 has been the increased demand for skills in the fields of AI and machine learning as businesses look to improve their efficiency. This is likely to continue in the coming year. New roles focusing on the deployment of AI technology are going to start appearing in many businesses. But can AI also help address a shortage of tech skills?
There have already been moves to employ more AI in the security field, for example, using technology to analyse logs and events, to weed out false positives and allow human staff to concentrate on the tasks that require their attention. Far from threatening jobs, this ultimately leads to more fulfilling roles for staff freed from the drudgery of sifting through immense volumes of data.
There’s no reason why this can’t apply to other areas too. The technology is good at spotting patterns large data sets, so the potential for analytical roles in a wide variety of database scenarios is vast. Again this is unlikely to threaten jobs directly but can free skilled analysts to handle the more challenging and fulfilling tasks that they signed up for in the first place. It’s frequently cited as a source of frustration for both staff and businesses that time is spent on data preparation tasks that don’t make the best use of skilled talent and could be usefully automated.
The tech market never stands still and 2019 will no doubt throw up some as yet unforeseen requirements. Speak to the experienced team at Clifford Associates to find out how we can help you meet your digital recruiting challenges in the year to come.
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