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Technology Recruitment Trends: Perm & Contract Audio Interview

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​Are you looking to hire tech talent, looking for a new role or just interested in learning more about the most prominent technology trends for 2021?

In this audio interview with Cpl Technology Directors Robin Craig and Libby Kelly, Robin & Libby discuss the year gone by and what roles and skills are in demand for 2021. Libby also details the rise of contract recruitment within the tech space and emerging trends in this area.

Click play below to listen to Robin & Libby’s interview or scroll further to read the interview in full.

Reach out to Robin or Libby for any information about this podcast, if you are looking to change careers or are interested in hiring temp, contract, or permanent tech talent.

Download resources mentioned in this audio interview:

Read the interview in full:

Robin Craig 0:04

Hi, my name is Robin Craig. I'm director with Cpl, responsible for managing our technology division. I'm joined here today by my colleague and fellow director from our technology division, Libby Kelly.

Libby is responsible for managing our contract and temp technology recruiting divisions. Libby & I I wanted to give you a quick overview of the tech industry, as we've seen it over the last 12 months and to look forward to the year ahead as we're already two months into the year and to see what trends or early developments are emerging from 2021, which from my point of view, has been rather positive.

Some of you may have already downloaded our recent salary survey, I'd advise you to log onto our website to download this. It contains a lot of information around job titles and specific salary information and benefits, but also some really interesting insights around the wider market Intel and macro trends in the Irish recruitment market. For our discussion today, we're going to look back over the last year and then look ahead to 2021.

Libby Kelly 1:12

Thanks for the intro Robin, so you said, I manage the contract and temporary side. So Robin, we might just kick off. How did 2020 play out? And how would you then summarize it the technology space? From a permanent perspective? How did it look overall?

Robin Craig 1:34

Sure, if if we look back at 2020, you know, it's hard to get away from the fact that we're yo yoing in and out of various stages of lockdown, which we still are. So the permanent market it was really badly hit for April, May June. If you look at the first three months, it was looking to be a fantastic year of tech and then the pandemic hits mid April, as we all know, or mid-March I should say.

So really, April, May June were severely impacted from a perm point of view. A lot of firms just decided to put things on hold and were just unsure and there was a lot of uncertainty. So we were really severely impacted during those few months. But for the second half of the year or so, from July onwards to December, if we look at that second half of 2020, we started to see firms getting a bit more confidence in hiring again, as people might know, within Cpl technology, we have our divisions in tech broken down into specialist teams.

The ones that we saw the most hiring been done were software development, and data and really the emergence and growth of information security and I suppose all kind of cloud based infrastructure roles that devspace suppose you know, driven by kind of ecommerce and SaaS platforms and also kind of general web applications that still required firms to develop features and modernize and move the applications to a more scalable microservices approach.

That helped us get placements in in those areas across all the tech stacks. PMO, our project management team, were hit quite badly, I suppose. But they've bounced back quite successfully in 2021. But they were hit quite badly during that six month period, and didn't really see anything kind of bounce back as quickly as some of the others.

Libby Kelly 3:37

Yeah, I know. The project management space has historically been a very, very busy area, it's actually one of our largest desks in technology. It really did feel the impact and took the brunt of it. I'd say probably initially, when the pandemic hit.

Robin Craig 3:52

Yeah, it's good news. You know, as I said, it's kind of bounced back this year, but it seemed to get hit the quickest last year, but I got a positive if you look at the sectors, if we look at for people listening to probably want to know what sectors we're hiring, during that kind of period.

And some of these that we talked about are probably the ones that are started well this year as well with the financial services sector, you know, the pharma health care, and then actual tech firms, both the large kind of big, well known us tech firms, but also the smaller newly established firms who were were not working in sectors directly impacted by the pandemic.

Overall, you know, tough year but we did see, as I said, that second half the year things improve considerably from that initial kind of three, four months, which were really tough. So Libby, obviously I gave a kind of an overview of the perm side, they're looking back at 2020 from your, I suppose contract and temp point of view up here was how would you summarize 2020

Libby Kelly 4:58

Thankfully, tech contract has been really quite resilient to the pandemic. And the technology team has seen a significant jump in demand this last year, the lockdown saw an immediate shift in the market with companies having to pivot very quickly to bring in skills that they didn't have in their workforce. You know, the pandemic obviously, bought in a huge demand to go remote very quickly.

So, you know, we saw a big drive in the infrastructure space. Then I suppose, as a whole contract has really grown exponentially this year, we did a recent survey, actually, I think about probably 25% of respondents were already working as contractors, and we really only see that number continuing to rise this year and next year. You know, current contractors really is the perfect solution for companies who are having a project based roles, or they're looking to bring in skills only on a short term basis, or that they don't have them currently, and they need them really, really quickly.

So contract from that perspective, is really going to see huge growth. I'll give you a quick overview of the tech contract space, and what really has been driving growth in the last couple of months. So I mentioned earlier in our infrastructure desk, with the very quick move to our remote environment, we saw a lot of clients coming to us, I suppose looking for infrastructure support, people with the ability to get their staff working remotely, a lot of you know getting a laptop set up and running. So we saw a lot of movement in this space very, very quickly.

But I suppose looking forward with remote long term staying a part of the business environment for staff, cybersecurity, information security is really going to be a key skill in the infrastructure space. And I guess not just in the contract space in the permanent space as well, and temporary space. I really feel that that's going to stay high on the agenda, as well as say incident access management.

We've seen a huge growth in the data space as well, data is king, as we know, the pandemic has only just amplified that, really so, data and reporting analysis has has seen huge growth, data engineers with pipe platform seeing a surge for ETL and Bi and database developers were some of the top contractors in demand. But we really do expect contractors with experience in creating some real business insights and designing data solutions will continue that upwards trend for 2021.

Then software engineering and development has seen significant growth this past year, particularly around, Robin, you mentioned there at the FinTech, the med tech, even the pharmaceutical space as well. And then ecommerce has really grown, you know, the pandemic really amplified the need to have a very strong ecommerce offering. That's not going to change, I don't think I think we'll only see that more in the FinTech space as well.

And then, you know, the whole niche technologies, I think, with the ability to software development, particularly in contract, you know, working remotely was not an option for a lot of our contractors, you know, contractors, they're highly referenced, but everybody we put on site is only reference reference book, they've either worked for us before, but even on client sites as well. So remote workers was a challenge for companies, particularly in software development.

But we've seen that that's turned on its head now. We're having all our contract developers are working remotely. That's not going to change. What it's actually going to do is bring about a real change in niche technologies being available at our fingertips now, you know, we've always specialized in these technologies, but this is only going to make this so much more available. And then Robin, you mentioned the project management space.

Yes, it really did take a hit. I said that historically it is one of our biggest desks in Cpl Technology and it took a huge hit. But that renewed positivity, that I think everybody's feeling right now. You know, we're seeing that in the project space, there's a lot of contract roles coming in a lot of in the product management space is really seeing a lot of growth. And I suppose that's probably all within, you know, that whole digital growth that's happening as well. And consultancy roles as well are, you know, there's a lot of consultancies, looking for very strong consultants right now.

Then just to close out on the contract space, UX and the creative space, the design space, again that's considered a bit of a nice to have technology so that really took a hit in the beginning of the lockdown and the pandemic, but now, again, a lot of companies with that e commerce strategy, really driving a lot of businesses right now, the UX space has driven has gotten very, very busy actually. It's really taking off but you know, it's trying to get the movement in the candidate market.

That's where we're at right now. Robin, then look into yourself on the permanent side has has 2021 stars at all? We're obviously in a lockdown scenario still, but how are you seeing the markers from a permanent perspective?

Robin Craig 10:23

Yeah, I think it's significantly improved Libby thank God, it's a totally different story, we've seen a big increase in the number of clients who've contacted us kicking off the new year with roles. So there's been a steady flow of new jobs in to tech perm division, and since the start of the year, and they're across your financial services, as we mentioned before, is really, really strong. We work very closely with our financial services team, here in Cpl and they're, you know, everything from payments companies, a lot of new front office based trading firms, investment managers that are hiring.

So yeah, tech, financial services on the banking side is really, really strong. The other side that we mentioned, the whole healthcare and pharma side, so that's, as I said, like our financing, we work alongside her science and engineering division as well, who would work with almost all of the large pharma companies here in Ireland.

And they're really, as you mentioned, also, Libby, they're ramping up the digital transformation programs, and ecommerce. So we're seeing the big requirement for solution architects, developers, with some quite specific skills on the development side that are quite niche. Also then Libby, as you mentioned, as well, the UX/UI space, and the QA and test space within the healthcare and pharma, some nice, steady flow of new roles coming in there.

And then the other big area is the actual technology firms. So both the big well known, well established tech firms here are but also new entrants to the Irish market. Through our work with the IDA and our foreign direct investment team. We've seen a steady stream of requirements for software developers, some niche Android development roles, and then DevOps and architect roles as well. It's been a really good start to the year.

We've seen a big bounce in the new year as well, just really positive. I think one thing to note, we are getting a lot of new roles in but the actual selection processes are taking longer. So there's often I think we're seeing another stage or maybe two stages added into some of the selection processes.

I don't know what you think Libby, but I think it's sometimes clients are finding it more challenging to make hiring decisions, based on remote interviews so they're putting another few stages in or bringing more stakeholders into the decision. But that's slowing up the speed of placements, but overall a really positive outlook for 2021.

Libby Kelly 12:56

I think you're right Robin, Contract was still only really ever maybe a one, maximum two stage interview process - contracting can be as quick as, you know, a 30 minute call and then you're hired, and you're on site.

So it's always been quite different in the contracting space. But definitely, I've seen it here on the permanent side, you know, I think looking back as, as other periods where, you know, there's uncertainty in the market, for example, and it's that bit of extra assuredness, being absolutely certain of the candidate, you know, because maybe you don't necessarily have a lot of budget to for these hires, you know, so I would have seen these processes go on longer.

Robin Craig 13:51

I think you're right into is probably is worth doing another session, a later stage, helping candidates perform well in those video interviews, because I think clients are really looking at is this person going to fit in with our existing team with the culture and everything else, and it just started more difficult when you're doing it by video interview.

I think it could be something we can look at living maybe for another session to help candidates with that and bring their A game to video interviews. I hope everyone found that really informed as I mentioned, there's a lot more information within the Cpl salary survey, so I think it's well worth downloading the salary survey. I think Libby you mentioned some of the other resources that that Cpl have that might be of interest to people.

Libby Kelly 14:49

Yeah, Robin, you know, really in a nutshell 2021 is going to be the year for the contractor. We've been working very closely with Cpl's future of work institution as well with, you know, with around the home temporary and contract employment options as they become more and more attractive to clients and candidates alike.

They've recently actually released a white paper on the future of work, which is downloadable from the Cpl site, and we put a link to it alongside this interview, you know. I know a lot of our clients, our technology kind of already find this very informative, white paper, it's talking all about the future options, and I the move to remote, what its gonna look like post pandemic as well. We've been talking as being about fintechs there for a long time. I really think we're going to see real growth in that in the contract space as well.

And like I said earlier, med tech and pharmaceutical, and then the cybersecurity, machine learning, data, AI, all of these areas are really set for growth. Our technology team has specialized in contracting for 30 odd years. If anybody is looking to go the contracting world, or the temporary route, to just get in touch with us.

Likewise, any clients who are potentially looking at a contract option, instead of a permanent option, or indeed, if you have, you're looking to hire somebody permanently, maybe you can't find the skills come to us, you can potentially put a contractor in there on an interim basis. We do a lot of that for our clients.

And you know, sometimes those contractors then end up your permanent resource, you'll always have some contractors who would find a really good site that they enjoy, and they will actually go permanent. There's lots of opportunities there for for our clients and our contractors.

Robin Craig 16:49

Very positive, looking into 2021 from the perm side as well. So yeah, I think as you mentioned, some really interesting bits of information on the Cpl website, including the salary survey, the white paper on the on the future work and one thing I suppose that a lot of candidates are looking for now, which can link into this piece of research is all around work from home and flexibility.

That's high up on the priority list of candidates at the moment to make technology. Candidates want a lot more flexibility and ability not to be having to travel into work on a five days a week so it's really positive. So looking forward to 2021. And please keep an eye on our website for more podcasts like this. Thanks Libby for joining me.

Please reach out to either myself or Libby for any information at all about this podcast or people that are looking to change careers are also interested in hiring. Thanks again.

Please note this text was transcribed from the audio interview and has been slightly edited but may contain slight errors.