Covid-19, economic challenges, Brexit and technological acceleration all continue to disrupt the business landscape this year. Businesses must continue to remain adaptable to market / pandemic conditions and ‘pivot’ organisational structures to accommodate disruptive technology change – all whilst being highly responsive to demanding customers with continuously evolving consumer habits.What is more, the unprecedented speed with which organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing challenges, has triggered the acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment. As such, we have seen organisations continue to review and adapt transformation programmes and projects, that were already underway pre-Covid-19, prioritising the move away from legacy systems and into the cloud, whilst increasingly building in Agile delivery mechanisms.Overall budgets allocated to group-wide transformation have diminished, therefore Programme Directors have felt the pressure to produce several different plans to the board on how they can deliver programmes with smaller budgets. This has resulted in increased competition between programmes causing delays in approvals and increasing time to hire. Unsurprisingly, organisations will continue to look at organisational restructuring this year - to further drive process efficiencies and cost savings - rather than invest in large multi-million-pound technological ERP transformations. Who’s hiring permanent & interim transformation professionals? The majority of employers actively recruiting senior transformation professionals remain within the Financial Services, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare and Technology sectors. Well capitalized, forward looking businesses that are fortuitously placed to see the current instability as an opportunity to invest, grow and seize market share will continue to invest in transformation expertise this year. We have recently been working with several PE-backed organisations who have been through deals/integrations and require investment in Change Managers to create synergies across functional areas as well as lead on organisational restructuring. On the whole, we have seen recruitment within the Retail sector limited to those with specialist Organisational Design and Development expertise - a result of drastic strategy and operating model change. However, those in better financial positions are seeking to bolster their digital capability and are pushing forward with their digital / omni-channel transformation. Transformation skills in demand Commercial Technology Organisations are increasingly investing in commercial and customer experience related programmes to ensure they retain but also attract new customers this year and beyond. As such, we’ve seen demand for Portfolio and Project Managers who have worked across commercial technology such as ERP, online web applications, webinar platforms and CRM/marketing tools such as Salesforce. Cloud The focus for many organisations this year will be on the delivery of IT portfolios of work, projects including the migration of on-premises systems to the cloud. As we have transitioned to remote working, skills in cloud-based services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, have and will continue to be of critical importance. The use of cloud systems looks set to remain prevalent even if we move back towards more of an office based working environment. Transformation professionals that have the skills to project manage the seamless deployment of cloud-based services will be required to ensure business continuity and productivity. In fact, moving to the cloud is what constitutes ‘digital transformation’ for the majority of organisations, rather than trends such as machine learning or perhaps crypto. According to independent analyst Ben Evans, “Only a quarter of large enterprise workflows have moved from the cloud at all so far – the rest are still ‘on prem’ in old systems and indeed mainframes…this really, is what I think digital transformation means.” Agile There is no question, that transformation initiatives will continue to be digitally focused this year however, project delivery is set to change to follow Agile, rather than the more traditional Waterfall methodologies. As a result, employers will seek candidates with experience delivering projects according to Agile methodologies and will no doubt appoint roles such as Scrum Masters, Agile Business Analysts, Agile Project Managers and Product Owners. Agile is an incredibly collaborative methodology, so employers will specifically be on the lookout for candidates who can; articulately talk through the lifecycle of a sprint or release, describe the pitfalls and challenges of the methodology as well as demonstrate empathy and appreciation of other roles within the team. Top 10 transformation jobs 2021 Here’s our list of the top ten senior transformation jobs, in demand, for 2021:1. Business Analysts (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)2. Project Manager (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)3. Programme Managers 4. IT Portfolio Managers 5. Programme Directors / Heads of Transformation6. Change Managers (System implementation)7. PMO Managers (Agile & Waterfall)8. Customer Journey (CX) Programme Managers / Project Managers9. Scrum Masters10. Product Owners Candidate Expectations When it comes to considering new opportunities, candidate expectations have shifted significantly over the last year. Candidates now expect employers to offer remote and flexible working practices - as standard. LinkedIn saw a 60% rise in users searching specifically for remote working opportunities between March and May 2020. Subsequently, employers don’t shortlist against a specific location but will now consider candidates from a wider pool of talent, from across the country. Candidates’ appetites to work on either a contract, fixed term or permanent basis have also changed. Ongoing economic uncertainly now means more professionals are open to opportunities of any kind, often opting for the role with the most longevity and best job security. How can we help? If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare. We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice. If you would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss our current interim or permanent senior transformation opportunities with a recruiting expert, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
22 Jan 2021
In my last blog, I wrote about the necessary workforce competencies and the type of cultural mindset that is needed to make digital transformation a success in this new era. But what are the technical skills and areas of expertise that support digital transformation? Here are five areas where talent is in high demand right now:Talent in demand1. Strategy & TransformationIncreasingly organisations are looking to the future, modelling different crisis scenarios, investing in new technology and exploring new customer engagement models or partnerships. The question of who is thinking strategically, beyond the business proposition as it stands today and shaping how it may look in 3, 5- or 10-years’ time is paramount to an organisation’s survival and future growth. Many organisations are facing wholesale changes to their operating model which is a highly complex and often daunting piece of work. As such, there has been a proliferation of new roles in the areas of strategy, innovation and change management. ‘Directors of Strategy’, ‘Project or Programme Directors’ and ‘Change Managers’ have become common place across many different types and size of organisation. However, the unprecedented speed with which organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing challenges, has triggered an acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment. 2. Cloud-based servicesUnsurprisingly, as we have transitioned to remote working, skills in cloud-based services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, have and will continue to be of critical importance. The shift to cloud based technology will no doubt remain prevalent even when we all get back to the office without restrictions. Professionals that have the skills to deploy cloud-based services as needed will be required to ensure continuous and reliable connectivity to these systems to ensure business continuity and productivity. 3. Cyber securityRemote working increases the risk of cyberattacks as hackers target people’s increased use of and dependence on digital tools, data sharing and communication. As such, organisations must enable secure remote working using a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection from the user's computer to their company IT system. However, even businesses with a quality VPN may need to improve the server capacity and network security to enable their entire workforce to use it at once and work remotely, securely. This means that top cyber security talent, already in high demand, will remain indispensable for employers as agile working practices continue for the foreseeable future. 4. Data analytics As organisations race to adapt to different ways of working and evolve best practice across their systems, people and processes, Data Scientists and Analysts continue to be in high demand. Modelling the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and understanding evolving customer behaviour is vital to the strategic decision-making process of any organisation right now. Data analysts who can provide the accurate analysis and interpretation of data, to the right people at the right time, will provide much needed foresight in these unprecedented times. 5. Automation & AITo help reduce administrative tasks and enhance process efficiencies, within and between different systems and departments, most organisations have invested in automation technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to some degree. The specific artificial intelligence or automation technology, its application and tools available (such as Robotics Process Automation, Chatbots or CRM) varies across industry and profession. Professionals who have demonstrable experience of either developing, implementing or integrating this technology within and between business functions and adapting it to the new virtual world of work, will be highly prized. As well as investing in technology and talent, organisations must look at their people from top to bottom and involve individuals who can provide ideas, or champion and lead transformative change. Those that believe it will all be driven from the boardroom and do not engage a diverse group in tackling change may well struggle. Understanding individual challenges in remote project delivery requires diverse perspectives and agile leadership that utilises the capabilities of individuals from every corner of the business. In an increasingly geographically agnostic business world, leaders have to understand how they can embrace technology, help their people to bring about better customer experiences and deliver lasting change that enables them to remain relevant. After all, how can you compete if you don’t evolve your operating model in today’s rapidly changing world?Those that can win both the hearts and minds of their workforce will successfully deliver the most complex of technical change with the highest levels of engagement. It’s strange how even the most baffling of technical puzzles always falls back to people! Download our insight paperFor more on this topic, download a full version of our insight paper 'Digital Transformation: What does it take to succeed?,' where we explore what constitutes the right mindset needed for change and share the technical skills and talent in demand right now. Download Share your insights If you need help finding talent with the necessary competencies to transform your business please get in touch. We’d also love to hear from leaders on how you are progressing your digital transformation projects in these challenging times.
18 Sep 2020
The scale and speed at which organisations are embracing digital technology is rapidly increasing. But, how do you keep your digital projects on track and ensure new tech is adopted in this era of remote working? What are the skills needed across your organisation which enable successful, lasting transformation? Our new insight paper ‘Digital Transformation: What does it take to succeed?’ explores these urgent questions. Download your copy and let us know how you are developing your digital transformation strategy and implementing your digital programmes and projects remotely. Download
06 Aug 2020
As Digital Transformation become commonplace and organisations pour their time, money and sponsorship into new technology, I can’t help but notice the lack of work going into changing mindset and as a result, can’t help but question the longevity of such initiatives. Organisations of every size and across every industry are placing their sights firmly on technology and doing everything they can to implement it successfully but there seems to be a lack of focus or clarity on the importance of cultural transformation, that should come hand-in-hand with any type of change. Digital and cultural change should be seen as one. Where digital transformation exists, organisations should be paying attention to shifting mindsets towards autonomous teams and constant improvements. It’s a given that change management teams know how to embed and support transformation programmes but to truly awaken an understanding and a compliance within your teams, you need to facilitate an evolution of their own behaviour, mindset and attitude to constantly change, as your business evolves. But, while a digital culture is vital. What does it look like? Do you need top-down sponsorship with leadership instilling a new culture of adaptability or do they need to empower middle-management to feed that message down to the workforce. A digital transformation is useless if it doesn’t revolve around the people. The question that remains, is how do you create a digital culture that allows your workforce to constantly evolve and what does it look like? I’d like to hear your opinions on the ‘Digital Culture’ we need in many evolving businesses. What do you think a digital culture looks like?
23 Jul 2019