The demand for IT professionals has now been outstripping the quality market supply for decades. In addition to the fact that the labour shortage is growing significantly in terms of quantity, professionals with real skills and experience have become unavailable to many market players in recent years. IT development is a key factor for company development, and if it is not provided, it is impossible for the company to move forward.
The market for IT professionals
This market situation has serious consequences. On the one hand, companies are competing very intensively to attract the best employees and, on the other hand, they are having to invest considerable energy and money in restructuring their company motivation systems. Moreover, the market is “two-faced” in this respect. Companies offering modern, trendy, internationally unique projects, especially start-ups, have a surplus of IT specialists, while larger companies in more traditional fields are facing a serious shortage of staff in this area. This is a problem even for multinationals, which were once clearly among the most attractive places to work, but for large companies with a more local or narrow regional focus, it now seems almost insurmountable. One reason for this is generational change, as young people entering the labour market in the last 10-15 years tend to focus on developing their professional skills quickly, self-fulfilment, and respect for their freedom; features that mostly startups support. This is one of the reasons why outsourcing and body-leasing services, often used in the IT sector, are gaining ground, as they provide companies with access to real professionals during a “paid term”, who would have no chance of attracting such skills as employees.
COVID-19 impact on the market
Trends that began decades ago and have accelerated over the last ten years have been accelerated further by the pandemic. Opportunities important to the new generations – the home office, greater freedom, work-life balance management – have become much more prominent than in the past, and the already high expectations of IT professionals will make it even more challenging for companies that want to evolve. For reasons of cost efficiency and in order to retain their best IT colleagues, companies are already in the process of giving these employees more time off. In many cases, they have become “freelancers”, who are now being contracted out to the company. In other words, they are given a steady flow of work, which they can often carry out during a fraction of normal working hours, and can sell the resulting free capacity as they see fit. One of the effects of the pandemic on the global labour market is that people have reassessed their lives and have put the emphasis on their private lives and the love of work. In those positions where they can, the real enjoyment of work has become very prominent in workers’ decision-making preferences. The IT sector is clearly one of the sectors where workers can afford to be selective in their choice of job opportunities. And in this selection, tying their entire professional capacity to a particular employer is no longer an option. A serious consequence of the pandemic is that access to real professionals in niche areas will be exclusively through external assignments, except in some very trendy corporate environments offering continuous, excellent professional development.