How has Covid-19 heightened the demand for tech and digital skills?

Posting date: 16 June 2020

Since the start of the Information Age, the technology industry has grown year-on-year and this trend has only been escalated by Covid-19. The industry is playing a crucial part in the response to coronavirus – helping the healthcare sector track the virus, aiding banks at a time of heightened cyber threats and supporting companies across the globe take their operations online.

 

Before the outbreak, Europe’s technology industry achieved an annual investment of $34.3 billion, with $1.7 billion of that capital being invested in Swiss companies, therefore, ranking Switzerland in the top five. 2020 looks set to be a promising year for this industry as companies in every corner of the globe become increasingly reliant of technology professionals.

 

While we only seem to be in the foothills of Covid-19’s impact on the global workforce there are clear trends emerging and tech and digital skills are proving themselves to be more valuable than ever.

 

 

The healthcare sector

Covid-19 has seen the healthcare and life sciences sector become more dependent on technology. As the spread of the virus continued to pick up pace, companies and governing bodies turned to the one thing that could be shared faster – information.

 

New apps designed to track Covid-19 using the Apple and Google Exposure Notification API swiftly entered the scene with the first release in Switzerland. The SwissCovid app has been trialled on a voluntary basis and gained backing from 70% of users. Swiss developers are now looking to roll out the app to the Swiss army and medical professionals. This presents an opportunity for developers to offer their coding skills to fight against the virus – or pick up the basics of coding - but it also signals we’ll see mobile apps as solutions to future global problems and therefore drive up the demand for user experience (UX) skills and cross-platform development.

 

Meanwhile in the US, technology professionals have been pushing their AI skills to new limits to create innovative data platforms that provide information on the availability of hospital beds.

 

The growing ecommerce industry

Covid-19 has not only heightened the demand for tech and digital skills, it has nurtured our developing technology ecosystems. Ecommerce spending was growing at an unstoppable rate well before coronavirus and since it’s unknown when or if things will return to normal many retailers may choose to take their operations entirely online. This $3,535 billion industry will call for more sophisticated websites and high-level digital infrastructure - a challenge for retailers but an interesting opportunity for web developers, software support specialists and even solution architects.

 

A call for data scientists

In a similar way that ecommerce has taken a larger share of the consumer spending pie, banking institutes have resorted to taking their services online too. This ever-increasing digitalisation is generating more data than ever before and causing a swell in data analytics. Employers were already showing an increased interest in data analytic skills, with data science job postings surging by 256% in the last six years, and this demand shows no signs of slowing down. In response to Covid-19, organisations are going face to face with the increasing digital skills gap and actively fostering a digital culture.

 
The cloud has become more important than ever

For many individuals, the introduction of the cloud was the perfect answer to limited storage space, but for organisations, cloud services have proved an essential piece of the remote working puzzle. Within the tech and digital industry, cloud and infrastructure have asserted their dominance as top skills for employees to list on their CVs.

 

The rising threat to data security

Whilst businesses hail the functionalities of cloud services they must also recognise the added threat that cloud storage poses to their documents and data. Databarracks report in their 2019 Data Health Check that from 2016-2019 the number of data loss cases as a result of cyber attacks had almost increased twofold.

 

Evidently, cybersecurity was already proving to be a rising star in the digital and tech skills sphere but Covid-19 has offered a fast-track ticket to the top. The pandemic is not only bringing new tech and digital skills into the limelight but it’s magnifying the need for larger digital teams, introducing new roles such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and creating a boom in technology recruitment.

 

 

How can Swisslinx help you?

Prior to Covid-19, digital and technology was establishing itself as one of our key developing markets and this surge in recruitment activity is only set to increase. We recognise the importance of keeping pace with technology drivers and trends, and our deep understanding of the industry enables us to identify talent from both local and international markets. Contact us to find out how we can help you during the time of heightened demand for tech and digital skills.

What you need to know about starting a job during a pandemic

Even in normal circumstances, starting a new job can be a daunting experience. It’s a learning curve that requires patience, adaptability, and social awareness. However, beginning a new role during a pandemic is even more challenging, as you’ll be navigating a huge change while working remotely. Professionals across all industries need to be prepared for the unexpected, as well as the onboarding process and meeting colleagues virtually.   The pandemic has proven to be a stressful time for many businesses, so it’s important anyone starting a new role can manage their own time and work efficiently. Despite the pandemic, many companies across Switzerland and further afield are still hiring. Looking ahead, the Swiss labour market is on the road to recovery after a sharp decline when COVID-19 initially broke out – which is good news if you’re looking to progress your career and land your next role. Here’s how to ensure you make an excellent start to your new role during a difficult time.   Communication is key Communication is the backbone of any business. It’s essential for achieving productivity and maintaining good relationships. However, starting a job in a pandemic means that consistent and quality communication is all the more important. Since you’ll most likely be learning your new role virtually, you must understand the preferred method of communication. Whether your company uses Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom, you’ll need to ensure open lines of communication at all times while you learn the basics of your new role. COVID-19 has forced many businesses to change the way they work, with employees now expected to be more autonomous and flexible. When you’re virtual, you’ll need to make a conscious effort to connect with your co-workers and build relationships across the business. The pandemic has pushed us to embrace remote work and communication is fundamental for success.   Embrace the culture Businesses of all sizes have been forced to adapt their operations during the pandemic, and this includes workplace culture. Now more than ever, employers will want new hires to quickly learn the culture and align themselves with the company’s mission. In the COVID era of remote working, navigating company culture can be difficult due to the lack of in-person conversations. However, it’s important to recognise that culture isn’t bound to a location. Culture is all about how you connect with your co-workers. That’s why during the onboarding process, you will need to listen actively and engage thoroughly during remote calls. Since you likely won’t be in the office often, it can be harder to present yourself as a team player. But with the right transferrable skills and emotional intelligence, you’ll be able to enter a new role and build great relationships from day one.   Organisation must be a priority  Even in regular circumstances, time management is critical for productivity. But with the pandemic disrupting schedules, the ability to keep organised and track your progress couldn’t be more important. This means that when starting a new role you need to first understand what’s expected of you and make a plan that includes key dates and deadlines, with digital tools to help you stay on task. Because everything has changed so much in the COVID world, you will have to be more proactive and willing to share ideas with more experienced members of your team. As the situation evolves, you’ll need to organise your time accordingly and work in a way that gives you the flexibility to prepare for challenging situations. Starting a new job is never easy – but staying organised can make the transition that much easier.   Get in touch with our team of recruitment specialists There’s no question that starting a job in a pandemic is a real challenge for anyone. With the right leadership, co-workers, and tools at your disposal, you can thrive in an unprecedented time. The team here at Swisslinx is dedicated to providing quality career advice to help with your job search. We keep up with the latest trends in recruitment markets, from financial to digital and technology. Contact us to speak with a team member or start your job search now.

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Why recruitment can never be fully automated

Research shows that approximately 1.2 million jobs in Switzerland could be replaced by computer systems, algorithms and robots. However, the roles typically identified as being ‘at risk’ include bar staff, security guards and drivers – not recruitment professionals. On top of that, there are predictions that robotics and automation can exist alongside human professionals, enhancing their work rather than replacing them entirely.   Though AI has permeated every industry and there’s much reservation surrounding the technology, there are many benefits of automation - particularly for recruitment teams. That being said, recruitment remains a fundamentally relationship-led process that machines will never be able to replicate. Here’s why recruitment can never be fully automated and how AI can instead enable companies to redefine their talent acquisition strategies.   Benefits of new technologies While the human touch of recruitment can never be replicated, there are many ways that automation can help. One instance is AI-powered HR technology tools, which can reduce time to hire and improve the quality of hire simultaneously. AI tools and systems help recruitment professionals to sort through large volumes of applications and identify high-quality candidates – two major challenges that many consultants have faced in the wake of coronavirus. Prior to the outbreak of the virus, many companies were already using such technologies and the pandemic has triggered a widespread adoption of the technology, increasing investment in video interviewing software and virtual assistants.   In McKinsey’s The future of work: Switzerland’s digital opportunity report, results revealed that machine learning could increase the potential for automation of retail recruitment to 60% and to an even higher 66% for finance and insurance. So, how will it do this?   How automation and machine learning can help with the recruitment process People Analytics Recruitment has always been data-rich, but candidate information has traditionally been used to distinguish applicants from one another. The introduction of people analytics has enhanced this, repurposing data to predict what a successful candidate look likes. People analytics – similar to data analytics - tracks high-quality candidates and uses this information to create a personality matrix that predicts future successful hires. But while research from Deloitte found that 71% of businesses agree people analytics is high-priority, how much trust can you really place in a data algorithm?   Writing inclusive job descriptions Various AI tools can help with creating job descriptions using inclusive language such as gender-neutral keywords. As research shows that diversity drives financial progress, there’s more than one incentive for companies to strive for a diverse workforce. This application of AI technology demonstrates how automation will continue to benefit the hiring process and wider business goals by lowering the chance of using biased language.   Recruitment during Covid-19 AI-powered systems have proved their worth during the pandemic, preventing recruitment from coming to an altogether standstill and earning a permanent spot in the recruiter’s tech stack. As a result, the pandemic has accelerated the automation of recruitment, but it’s also exposed the crucial role of the recruiter.   The human element The human element of recruitment is about building relationships. Automation tools take admin tasks off the hands of the recruiter - particularly during the earlier stages of the recruitment process. Hiring teams can then reallocate this time to engage with the candidates who are further along in the process and perhaps more qualified for the role. Therefore, experienced consultants are essential when identifying high-quality candidates and during the executive search process – offering a human touch that automation cannot imitate.   Relationship-driven recruitment creates a superior candidate experience which is a crucial talent attraction strategy in a climate with a ‘war for talent’. Specialist recruiters are trusted to create, develop, enhance and maintain relevant talent pipelines so that companies have access to the best candidates from the talent pool. Whether the talent attraction goal is to ensure cultural fit, tackle D&I targets or source fresh talent from new markets, the human element remains the key piece to the puzzle.   AI and machine learning are enhancing the role of the recruiter Though 24% of Swiss employees fear that robots will replace them in their job, this view fails to consider how AI and machine learning can enhance their job role. Hiring professionals can harness technology to see better results in both their time-to-hire and in identifying high-quality candidates. Before the start of the decade, the job market had confidently established itself as candidate-driven, but now most recruiters and employers are faced with the challenge of sorting through high volumes of applications. This is where technology can help to streamline recruitment, whilst allowing consultants to focus on the core relationship-building and communication elements of the process.     Working in harmony with automation A recent report by Deloitte projected that 270,000 new jobs will be introduced in Switzerland by 2025 - the majority created by automation. The key takeaway is that AI technology doesn’t replace skilled professionals - rather, skilled hiring teams are needed to interpret the data that AI generates and add the personal touch. Though it’s still unclear to what extent recruitment will become automated, the role of the recruiter will remain an important one and will never be fully replaced by robots.   Stay ahead of the curve with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, our international team of consultants make sure to keep stay ahead of the curve, despite operating in an ever-changing recruitment landscape. Our deep understanding of our core recruitment markets and considerate approach to communication means we provide a service that is unrivalled by any technology. Contact us to find out how we can tailor our approach to suit your businesses needs.

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