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Bracing for Change in a Volatile Market

approaching stormThe labor market is experiencing a changing dynamic not seen in well over a decade. While the nation stalls in its recovery, barely avoiding the infamous fiscal cliff, the IT staffing industry seems to be thriving under these unique circumstances. Global economics and politics have come together to create a sustaining need for “green” technology solutions, cloud computing, mobile technology, and healthcare information technology.  These unique verticals fuel the IT staffing industry’s current position, but at the same time present unprecedented market volatility.

Back in the late 1990’s during the dot.com era, staffing firms needed to hone in on specific skill sets that could be marketable within this environment. Web developers and designers were hot commodities during this time.  With the Y2K conundrum looming, mainframe developers experienced resurgence and commanded hefty sums for their expertise. Marketability was defined by a technological skill set and recruiters needed to only scan a resume to determine whether or not a candidate had experience with the right acronyms. As technology and demand have changed, the current IT staffing industry has grown a unique complexity of skill and industry expertise.

A 2012 study by the IDC predicts that cloud computing services will grow five times as fast as information technology spending, increasing from $16 billion in 2009 to more than $55 billion in 2014. With decreased overall cost, increased speed and scalability, accessibility, and flexibility, cloud computing is becoming the norm for most small to medium sized organizations.

“Green” technology is on the forefront of many organizations as a robust focus on environmental preservation has taken hold. According to projections from Pike research, the global market for carbon management and related IT services is expected to grow by more than 40 percent annually to more than $4.3 billion in 2017, creating a significant and sustainable niche within the IT market.

Mobility is essential to nearly every aspect of business today. No longer does mobility mean merely cell phone availability, but has come to encompass the near totality of day to day business operations. The price of not embracing enterprise-wide mobility will far outweigh the cost of the traditional brick and mortar business strategy. Mobility facilitates increased flexibility, accessibility, responsiveness, and an overall increase in customer responsiveness and retention. Ubiquitous as mobile computing has become, there will be a voracious need across business subsectors for mobile application development.

Likely the most significant industry contributing to IT volatility is healthcare. Due in part to financial, tax, and healthcare reform questions created by President Obama, IT staffing firms that focus on healthcare-related IT services are well positioned. Government policy has created need for programs that electronically track a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and prescription history. Building electronic medical records, storage repositories, and mobile healthcare applications will keep this IT subsector comfortably at work.

Embracing the dynamics of change within the IT marketplace is the only way to stay competitive and valuable to your customer. Taking advantage of the instability and unique challenges this historic mix of market variables have shaped will create a resilient niche that will catapult your firm from ‘staffing provider’ to business partner.