The most surprising finding was that over 70% of respondents said that they were considering working abroad in search of perceived increases in job security and opportunity. What's more, even those looking to carry on working in the UK seemed predominantly unsettled in their current role with 92% admitting that they are either actively seeking work or at least keeping an eye on the job market.
In addition, a significant proportion of respondents (over 35%) said that they were considering work completely away from the IT industry.
What these findings demonstrate is that uncertainty still dominates the UK IT industry; employers are under increased pressure to achieve efficiencies and employees are starting to feel the impact of such pressures and constraints. As a result many are looking abroad or in some cases, deciding they have had enough of the IT industry all together - something which needs to be addressed.
As has been widely reported, the UK has faced an ongoing concern over skills shortages within the IT industry so losing further intellectual capital to other markets is a situation our economy cannot afford, especially as we look ahead to the prospect of economic recovery in the short-term. However, for those as closely involved with shaping and managing employment across the UK economy as we are, these research findings reflect real opportunity as well as highlighting potential concerns.
Employers who are willing to demonstrate a commitment to their employees and a progressive approach to the challenges of today's working environment have the potential to retain and attract the best candidates as they prepare for the upturn.
Over the past three months, we've noticed a desire for job security among candidates with an influx of IT staff looking to work in SMEs. Over 70% of IT placements made by Computer People in the past three months have gone to Britain's small businesses. As the economic downturn deepens, it seems that an increasing number of IT staff are turning to SMEs to provide them with a different career path and new opportunities.
Though the IT industry isn't immune from the effects of the economic downturn, one thing we are seeing is that it is unlocking talent that would previously have been unavailable for firms at a certain level to reach. Much as we saw happening in the City at the tail end of last year, high-flying professionals are now reconsidering careers with bigger firms, and are instead considering the perceived security of SMEs.
With 13.5 million people working within small businesses in the UK, the phrase' good things come in small packages' is becoming more and more applicable. IT professionals in particular are keen for a greater level of responsibility, ownership and variety in their day-to-day job, something they believe the SME market can offer them.
Technology based SMEs have proven to be extremely attractive to candidates keen to take their career to the next level. SMEs offer professionals a chance to make their voice heard and see the benefits to the business first hand.
There is currently a real need for businesses executives at the top end of large and complex organisations to understand exactly what's happening on the lower levels and one of the best ways they can access this information is through Business Intelligence (BI) tools.
In recent times BI systems have become increasingly sophisticated, which combined with the economic downturn, has lead to a huge increase in the number of businesses and organisations choosing to implement these systems to increase profit margins wherever possible.
BI offers the ability to analyse in great detail exactly what's happening in a business and where cost can be cut. For example, many organisations rely on multiple databases containing a variety of business-critical data - orders, sales information, contacts, supplier, invoicing information and much more. Skilled Business Intelligence workers are able to develop applications in which data can pooled into a data warehouse, from which organisations can run a variety of reports, build data relationships and pull out relevant information that they need.
Keeping on top of corporate data is integral to running a successful organisation and we're finding that many big companies are investing time, funds and resources in BI technology, BI consultancy and developing in-house skills to best analyse the data they have at their disposal. Even smaller establishments and companies are seeing the value of recruiting individuals with specialist skills in this area. Some organisations choose to enlist BI expertise to set up a system and train existing employees to create an internal team responsible for BI.
As a result, it's unlikely that the need for BI will reduce in the short-term as companies are always likely to analyse their operations. As such, all information skills, technologies, applications and practices used to help a business acquire a better perception of their current position will continue to be desirable.
BI is an area of expertise that could help to build a long-lasting and rewarding career in IT and for candidates who think it might be the right fit for them, there are certainly many opportunities out there to be taken.