Who? Where? How?
Companies worldwide have been grappling with these questions about their workforce operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bottom line: the workplace can no longer be defined, and that is a change that carries repercussions.
Many employees today, having worked remotely for an extended period, are demanding different requirements from their employers in how they approach post-pandemic normalcy. While many workers may miss the ability to collaborate with colleagues in the office, many others credit the remote work environment with making them more efficient and effective. Also, they undoubtedly appreciate eliminating their daily commute, allowing them to reduce their carbon footprint and spend more time with their family. They may want to remain 100% remote, operate in a hybrid mode, or create another flexible arrangement that capitalises on the fact that technology allows virtual collaboration with colleagues located anywhere in the world, promoting greater diversity of thought and talent.
From a technology perspective, remote work has placed new priorities on IT departments used to running a central headquarters and a few satellite branches versus a spider web of residential homes. On a positive note, companies can now get more creative about developing and recruiting talent thanks to high-speed connectivity and advanced videoconferencing capabilities. At Softlanding, we see that translating in the virtual onboarding process and the tap of ideas and talent from broader geographical areas.
As the pandemic has spurred many companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts, businesses are exploring ways to leverage advanced technologies such as AI to streamline tasks and increase capabilities. A McKinsey global survey found that companies accelerated the digitisation of their customer relationships, supply chains, and internal operations within three to four years. These business transformations require more qualified staff – and it is dawning upon industry leaders that there is a shortage of IT professionals. We are witnessing a heightened need for tech workers that can build and support digital infrastructures.
But just as important as hiring for new roles is upgrading the skills of the existing workforce, both with technical skills and competencies such as learning agility and collaboration. This will equip teams with the ability to continually develop and take on new skills while also providing an opportunity for employees to hone their capabilities and prepare for the future.
Not all consequences are dire, as this shortage of talent has made the compensation for IT professionals rise significantly. Taking the case of our country, the minimum wage in Portugal in 2021 is 665€, and the average Portuguese salary was around 1.005€ in 2019, the latest official data according to Pordata. However, the tech industry does not compare when it comes to the average wages in the country, assuming a much more favourable spot in guaranteeing higher earnings than most industries.
We will undoubtedly continue to see an accelerated pace of digitisation and virtualisation of business and society. However, as we move into a new year, the need for sustainability, ever-increasing data volumes, and increasing computing and networking speeds will begin to regain their status as key drivers of digital transformation. 2022 is sure to shape up to be a year of recovery, acceleration, and innovation. But that is a subject for future study.