General thoughts & conversations
It is February already, and the world of Technology, Digital, and Data is moving as rapidly as ever.
I was back in the office on January 4th, and as expected it was a quiet city and was often difficult to get a coffee – who would have predicted that coffee shops would be closed early in the morning and restaurants would not serve lunch?! Unheard of in Melbourne.
The Aus Open, and to some degree the end of the school holidays brought a natural shift. My commute to the office is now as busy as ever! The energy and vibe in the city improve daily, as is the working atmosphere in the Emmbr office. It’s energised and exciting.
In conversations, our teams are asking everyone they speak with about their working patterns. Some people have shared that they have not returned to the office in over 2 years. A high percentage fall under the umbrella of the newest cheeky acronym, not the nicest one but it makes most people smile – ‘TWAT’s – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the office.
Most senior leaders that we are helping to find new roles have been openly stating that they want two days only in the office – nothing is clear and settled yet!
80% of my working week is now spent meeting with clients, and the majority are in-person. The appetite for coffee and lunch, has returned, and I am enjoying reconnecting with everyone.
In these insights notes, I will share a high-level summary of those conversations, and market intel from research, including insights into the overseas market. As always, I am happy to include extra information. Please feel free to share how we can improve these insights notes for you.
What is driving the market?
I am often asked about what I see as driving the market. As you may expect, the more variables in play, the more active the talent market. This quarter is no exception. Below are some of the influences that we are seeing.
Merger and Acquisition
- M&A is increasing, and some business sectors – for example, Health and Aged Care, are facing strong regulatory change and where the cost of adaptation is high, then Mergers are happening.
- Superannuation remains an M+A focus
- Organisations are facing challenges of increased costs for both materials and people. Despite an increase in sales revenue the focus on profitability is raising a question regarding investment strategies and IT business cases have been reviewed however investment remains strong where robust business cases are in place.
What is driving the market?
- The AFR shared in an article (6th January) that the 'most important trend' in technology as; Everything to do with artificial intelligence will be at the center of the technology sector this year. The latest infatuation with AI kicked into overdrive in November when OpenAI – a start-up founded by entrepreneurs Sam Altman and Elon Musk, and backed by Microsoft – launched a prototype of its ChatGPT bot. The tool generated answers to questions submitted by users and became a hit in tech circles.
- Gartner predicted spend on IT in Australia will grow by 5.8% in 2023
Enterprise business change
- Mining, Energy, Banking, and Education, Health, are all significant business sectors that are experiencing change or the need to change. Some are under the threat of merger, others expanding into new solutions -energy, facing disruption from their emerging competitors, banking- some global, or needing to embrace significant digital transformation - education and health in order to deliver to expected demand from their markets.
Top 3 questions I have been asked in 2023 (and answers)
Is the 4-day week likely to be a retention issue for me?
This question initially surprised me. We then ran polls and completed research to understand how to answer you.
The four-day week campaign shared results after a six-month trial which ran the world's biggest pilot for the working pattern for around 70 companies employing 3,300 workers.
Overall results show that almost every organisation will stick to a 4 day week post-trial, with 91% continuing or planning to continue and a further 4% leaning towards continuing. Only 4% of participants are not continuing.
More locally –
Unilever | Four-day work week trial to start in Australia
Despite the survey results, Emmbr is not hearing of a significant move to the four-day working week across our client base. Candidates are also not asking for this as part of their remuneration negotiations, and the exception has been those that wanted to work for four days and be paid for four days.
During the last quarter of 2022 we noticed a stabilisation in salaries in the technology and digital sector. The $20k, 30k, and sometimes $50k increases that candidates were being offered to entice them to move or to retain their skills had slowed. Salary packages increased are now in the 4 – 8% range.
Leadership roles are showing exceptions to this. There has been an increase in appetite for senior leaders to move roles, my research in December showed over 64% of leaders were going to prioritise their careers this year, and I have been hearing of new year salary reviews resulting in between 8 and 12% increases.
Contractor rates appear to have stabilised with some organisations now reviewing contractor spend, CAPEX v OPEX accounting and some significant digital transformations entering final phases. The expectation is that there still may be a slight rate increase for the first half of the year but generally, they have plateaued.
Is the downsizing of technology vendors an indication that redundancies will increase in Australia – is the market turning?
Although the numbers sound significant, the numbers of redundancies are often dispersed globally and therefore the reality of change is c 4-6% and a larger proportion is in the USA. There have been changes in the technology vendor market in Australia, some due to global vendor programs, others due to lack of ongoing venture capital investment in start-ups here however the demand for skilled professionals is high and any out-placed professionals are soon snapped up.
Market trends: what have you been sharing
Digital transformation – remains active, generally enterprise programs are underway or close to completion. Digital in mid-tier is on the increase.
Virtually all my January meetings included a strong focus on ensuring core IT solutions are solid, a focus on consolidation of business apps, upgrading of CRM,ERP,HRIS solutions and an increase need for Project resource, BA, PM’s etc including PMO Leaders.
Security has been the 2nd consistent change, Emmbr Leadership Solutions are delivering confidential CISO search projects. Uplifting capability from technically focused Head of level.
The Emmbr rebrand was launched in October 2022, and we had amazing support from our network. Thank you!
Emmbr was chosen to reflect our strategic objective to delight our customers in every interaction.
Anton Roe - CEO Emmbr, sums up our mission well - To solve problems by creating Talent Solutions and collaborating with companies to attract, hire and retain the best talent across Technology, Transformation & Data and Digital. Together we are also passionate about Diversity, Equality & Inclusion.
Our strategic focus was ignited as we entered Covid lockdowns, raising the question, what did we envisage the other side of this challenge to be like? The answer was CHANGED. We believed that the technology market would lead the change and that our industry would be disrupted. AI is already making a significant impact.
The old name of Marshall McAdam no longer reflected who we are and, more importantly, how we partner with and support our clients. We have always known excellent talent is at the heart of our success; the future now includes so much more.
In collaboration with our clients, we deliver specialist talent solutions, critical resources for Engineering teams, transformation programs, and across technology leadership, we are helping clients develop strong EVP messaging to address culture challenges, succession planning, and more.
2023 is about bringing our strategic vision to life.
The rebranding process to Emmbr identified us as the sage - the educator. You will see clear examples of this through our new website and learning hub.
Reach out to us anytime to find out more - www.emmbr.com
The next PEAK event is on Tuesday, March 14th.
We established PEAK in 2018 with the purpose of connecting senior and executive female leaders across the Technology, Data and Digital professions in Australia.
Ask Peak is the focus for March 14th
It is an opportunity to reach out to the broad PEAK network of expertise, for each person to share a challenge that they are facing and hear from others about their experience with the same.
Karina and I will be happy to hear from you if you would like some more information about PEAK
In Leadership Solutions I conducted a poll recently across Linkedin and via my talent pools. 42 percent of leaders responded that their own career planning and next steps are a priority for 2023. Retention of leaders and succession planning is an area that I strongly recommend you give focus to.
As ever, Emmbr is here to help, across leadership or specialist engineering talent recruitment – contract, fixed term and permanent skills. We also provide interim solutions for senior and executive roles, those highly experienced professionals that can help with strategic planning, overview roadmaps, review and negotiate with suppliers, culture triage and succession planning, and developing your recruitment value proposition.
Where you have a challenge, please feel free to reach out to me for a confidential discussion.
At Emmbr we are passionate about supporting you with your talent objectives and look forward to expanding our trusted partnerships further during 2023.
Christine, Karina and the broader Emmbr teams.
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