By Danny Graham who lives in Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia
The fact that I am finally getting around to this market update is evidence in itself that the job market has started to pick up again, despite Victoria returning to a Stage 4 lockdown across Metropolitan Melbourne. Back in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic started to gather pace in Australia, many businesses (including our own) were completely blind-sided and were forced to batten down the hatches and prepare for a once in a generation crisis. For all of us, this was a crisis unlike anything we had faced before. The sense of uncertainty and panic across the nation left many without jobs and a hiring freeze in many corporate organisations. This left those of us in the recruitment industry with much quieter desks than usual, and there was plenty of time for blogs and the like.
Fast-forward to July, August and now into early-September and we finally started to see some signs that we were coming out the other side. We were, and are still, by no means out of the woods, and there will be tough economic times for years to come. However, even with the 2nd lockdown here in Melbourne, we have seen businesses continue to re-build and start hiring again. I think there are two key factors here. First, organisations have realised that remote working has had little to no detrimental effect on productivity. Teams have still been able to get things done, and despite the challenge faced in many households of trying to juggle home-schooling with the parents’ day jobs, there have actually been a number of positives to take from the pandemic and how the ‘workplace’ of the future might look. Second, businesses have realised that we can’t stand still forever. In almost every industry huge changes are afoot and business leaders must either embrace these changes and pivot to a new way of working, or risk getting left behind. For many sectors, this will mean further investment in digital and online capabilities and a fast-tracking of technology adoption in areas such as AI and ML.
In the context of jobs and hiring in the world of Enterprise and Solution Architecture, we have used the slow-down in the market to evolve our services and offerings to our clients. We have seen a growing demand for more flexible and on-demand solutions for our customers. With this in mind we have launched our Architecture as a Service offering to sit alongside our existing services. This model will offer clients a much greater degree of flexibility in certain situations – removing the under-utilisation of resources and as such driving down costs on projects.
It is because of this second point that I foresee the market returning to a relatively buoyant state in Technology and Architecture very soon. If we are to continue working from home more and more, then there will need to be further investment in the infrastructure required for organisations to do this on a long-term basis. Recently I read an article where one Analyst noted that technology advancements that we had been planning to become mainstream in 5-10 years may now be fast-tracked to adoption in a much more imminent timescale. Bunnings only launched its online shopping capability at the end of 2019 but will now be forced to double-down on this investment as they look to support deliveries and ‘click-and-collect’ alongside (or for the time being in replacement of) in-store purchases for the foreseeable future. These investments are not limited to the big corporations. Small businesses will also have to develop these online capabilities but on a much smaller scale (and budget). I am sure we will see a number of these capabilities offered via low-cost, cloud-based applications from a variety of vendors in the next year or so.
It is certainly easy to be downbeat in Victoria right now, and there are undoubtedly a lot of people doing it tough. I do however think we will come through this stronger on the other side. In the years after the Spanish flu, there was a huge economic fightback through the 1920s and a period of innovation. Breakthroughs in modern industry led to a sustained economic recovery (and subsequent growth) through the decade. There will no doubt be casualties along the way, and no organisation will be immune to these new economic conditions. But for those organisations that tackle this head on, and drive onward and upwards with well-grounded technology investments, I believe they will be the ones that reap the long-term rewards.
Danny has over 10 years of experience working with organisations in the Enterprise and IT Architecture industry. Starting his career in the UK, he has worked for global organisations providing Recruitment, Training and Consulting solutions in Enterprise and Solution Architecture. During this time Danny has built up a wealth of knowledge in the Architecture domain which gives him the ability to deeply assess candidate capabilities and accurately align them to resourcing requirements for our clients.