In last week’s blog I commented on how quickly things change, and used the example of the severe downturn in the Oil & Gas industry: in the space of two years, moving from a requirement of 20,000 additional people in the UK to the loss of thousands of jobs, and the overall negative impact on the supply chain.
Although I am using the Oil & Gas industry as an example, this could apply to any other sector where there is severe disruption of some sort. The financial and banking sector is another great example. Small companies and people are adversely impacted by any economic disruption.
The key is to have the ability to flex and adapt as quickly as possible. In the ‘Lean Startup’ terminology it would be the ability to pivot, to change, and find a new path.
What does this mean within the IT world? The Oil & Gas industry has an extensive supply chain, and this includes many small IT companies who have a multitude of skills. If you try out a search on Company Connecting for ‘oil’ you will see there are 266 companies working within the Oil & Gas sector. If you drill down a bit further you will see that these companies have all sorts of skills across software, hardware, networking, IT support and management etc. These skills can easily be applied to other industries. However first of all the companies looking for these skills need to know that the IT companies exist and secondly be willing work with a company rather than directly employing people.
There are companies in the IT sector who need work. This may be because they are suffering as a consequence of a downturn in a particular sector, or because of their geographical location, or because they are just not that good at telling people what they do! These companies have resources which are underutilised and could relatively easily be used to plug the gaps in skills in larger organisations. This would help to create a collaborative ecosystem of IT companies and skills which is not wholly dependent on recruiting people into companies. Of course you could say, why don’t the people move from these companies that are struggling, to a company that needs their skills. There are many reasons why this may not be the best approach. Three reasons that come immediately to mind are 1) the economy needs small companies, let’s keep them going, 2) Not everyone is suited to working for a larger organisation and 3) we are told that we live in a virtual world – we don’t have to live where we work.
So in summary, let’s consider more collaborative working where large companies and small companies work together. Let’s create an IT ecosystem for collaboration. Let’s not always consider direct recruitment to fill skills gaps first.
Next week I will consider why people who set up their own companies may be just the type of person you want to work with.