Despite the impending introduction of IR35 looming large over private sector contractors, GDPR threatening to hit the least scrupulous and proactive organisations over their management and use of contact data, and digital disruption continually accelerating, 2018 was an active year in the IT jobs marketplace.
However, will 2019 be as healthy?
Well, now it has been announced that the IR35 laws won’t be rolled out into the private sector until April 2020, many organisations, both those hiring and those providing contract services, have time to plan for its introduction and forecast their resourcing more effectively. Also, from the start of 2019, they will be able to access the public sector’s data around the impact of IR35, so they will also be able to plan strategically using relevant insights. Ultimately, IR35 is going to make more contractors consider alternative options in 2019, including umbrella models and even permanent positions. However, they have plenty of time to consider their opportunities carefully.
Similarly, after six months of GDPR enforcement, Crimson has seen most of its clients working hard to get their compliance procedures in order, particularly in terms of policies relating to their current and future workforces. Despite wide-spread fear and intense changes, GDPR’s introduction has largely passed without note, with no ‘landmark fines’ being issued. However, the number of data protection complaints has doubled in that period, and, as a result, Crimson has seen an increased requirement for more candidates with cyber security and ‘GDPR skills’. These skills are required to protect contact information and ensure on-going compliance with data policies. Crimson expects this to continue throughout 2019 as the regulations embed further.
After the Brexit referendum outcome was announced in 2016, Crimson initially saw a slight softening in demand from some clients due to a ‘fear of the unknown’. The market didn’t dwell on this for long though, and good levels of activity continued throughout 2018. However, as an IT recruitment agency, Crimson is concerned that the current skills shortage may be exacerbated by Brexit, as a substantial portion of the UK’s tech talent originates from the EU. Indeed, The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) estimates that 6% of digital technology workers are EU nationals, and that 20% of tech workers in London originate from the EU. Therefore, Brexit could create a very substantial void in the IT jobs market place, particularly in the capital. Despite the UK government reserving a quota of 200 ‘exceptional ability visas’ for digital leaders, this allocation is unlikely to be significant enough to support the IT recruitment requirements of UK organisations.
Finishing on a positive note, Crimson has noticed a fresh injection of optimism from its clients. A lot of them have been talking excitedly about the transformation projects and challenges they plan to tackle in 2019. Crimson’s IT recruitment consultants are also experiencing client demands for candidates with fresh innovative approaches, the ability to challenge ideas constructively, and soft people-focused skills, as well as the usual technical capabilities. Candidates looking for new positions in 2019 should work on these areas of their repertoire.