06Jun

The COVID business slowdown is having a profound impact on the hiring environment for IT professionals.

Employers are finding it easier to hire the kind of tech talent that just a year ago wouldn’t even open their emails.

Job board Indeed says that since the beginning of the COVID shutdown, interest in tech jobs – as measured by the number of clicks each received — is on the rise. At the same time, Indeed says job listings for such IT positions as data scientist and software development are down 30% to as much as 42% since 2019.

The lingering economic impact of the pandemic is giving many businesses second thoughts about hiring permanent workers. Except for their most immediate tech needs, employers in the hard hit travel, retail and hospitality sectors are hesitant about moving forward with planned projects.

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This is putting employers “back in the driver’s seat,” says Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel.

While the hiring dynamics have changed, it would be wrong to think of it as a buyer’s market for tech. The industry unemployment rate is 4.6%, well below the national 8.4%.

Many of those contributing to the increase in job clicks Indeed is recording are tech professionals who no longer feel bound to a geographic area. Google Trends shows a steady increase in searches for “remote IT jobs.”

As we pointed out last week large numbers of remote working tech professionals are thinking of moving out of the nation’s expensive tech centers. The obligatory COVID shutdown has shown them — and employers — they don’t need to commute to an office in order to do their work.

When Twitter and Facebook announced permanent work at home policies a few months ago, job searches for the two companies spiked.

Employers are also recognizing the benefits of remote work. In August, Pinterest paid $90 million to cancel the lease of office space citing the company’s shift to work from home. An ever increasing number of advertised IT jobs are either remote or optionally so.

This is creating opportunities for employers willing to hire remote workers. Geography will no longer be a barrier to hiring. And with the larger pool of IT professionals, employers will be able to more successfully compete for talent.

Says Tim Herbert, EVP for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, the tech industry association, “We will continue to see employers evaluate their recruiting and hiring practices.”

Photo by Gevorg Avetisyan on Unsplash

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Green Key

Internet Slow? It’s Probably You

If your internet connection seems slow, don’t blame the internet. It’s you. Or to put it more precisely, it’s the equipment in your house, or the service plan you have or the way your home connects to the broader internet network. Or all three.

Millions of people are teleconferencing for work or school. We’re streaming more movies and You Tube videos than ever before; so many that in Europe Netflix, Google, Disney and Amazon have throttled back their picture quality to conserve bandwidth.

Zoom, perhaps the most widely used video conferencing service, has seen its usage – excuse the expression – zoom. At the end of 2019, the company had 10 million daily users. At the end of March it had 200 million, which has exposed flaws, bugs and security issues.

Now not mostly just for business meetings, schools have embraced Zoom to hold online classes. Families and friends are logging on to socialize and to play games, many now being designed specifically for the service.

New York Times analysis suggests that with nearly all sporting events cancelled – marble racing an exception – gaming sites are seeing double digit increases. Gaming of all kinds across all platforms soared by 75% as of March 19, according to Statista.

All this gaming and video usage is placing a strain on the internet. While the broader network is handling the load, most local connections were not built to handle the demand. Where business centers have typically been upgraded with high speed, high bandwidth fiber, residential areas are most often connected over cable.

Cable was designed to deliver video, not upload it, so video conferencing from home – as most of us are now doing – is fraught with dropped connections and jerky video. This gets worse as more and more users are online at the same time.

In areas that have been upgraded, slowdowns are more likely to be the result of your equipment or how much bandwidth you’re paying for. Before everyone was home and online at the same time, basic internet service and equipment may have only rarely caused slowdowns. Older WiFi equipment was not designed to handle multiple simultaneous video or gaming users.

“Still, despite these niggles, the internet seems to be doing just fine,” says the MIT Technology Review . “Health checks from RIPE and Ookla, two organizations that monitor connection speeds around the world, show minor slowdowns but little change overall.”

“In fact,” notes the article, “Far from bringing networks to their knees, covid-19 is driving the most rapid expansion in years.”

The article explains that streaming and gaming services are adding capacity, while last mile providers like Comcast and AT&T are experimenting with changes to their plans and are looking at how to upgrade the cables and wires that bring internet service into our homes. Comcast lifted data caps for two months.

“Some of these measures may be undone when the crisis is over, but others will outlive it. Once cut, red tape is hard to stick back together.”

Photo by Thomas Jensen on Unsplash

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Green Key

5 Reasons Not to Accept a Counteroffer

Even though a counteroffer may seem attractive, there are many reasons why you should not accept one. Here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t accept a counteroffer.