We spoke with William Jacques, Xcede Group Managing Director, who shared his insights on supporting clients and candidates during lockdown and what the future may hold for the digital jobs market.
Thanks for talking with us, William. How has Xcede adapted to lockdown measures?
As part of a global group, we had some early insight into what was about to happen. We had also previously invested in a robust WFH solution that allowed us to shut down two weeks prior to lockdown being imposed. It’s tough to effectively measure the extent to which we have adapted to working from home – market conditions changed so abruptly that our workflows and metrics have been severely impacted. However, all of our staff have worked hard to adapt their working practices, allowing us to enable company-wide contact and retain a culture of collaboration and comradery.
Have your plans for the future changed because of Covid-19?
Our overall goals for the organisation remain the same. We expect to see growth returning to the niche tech markets we operate in. Our ambition to be a globally recognised niche recruiter remains unchanged. However, I suspect the model for achieving this may shift – it’s unlikely we will require the same real estate footprint. Instead, we may need to create more complex and diversified technology platforms to operate from.
Are there any changes you have implemented that you expect to stay in place after the pandemic?
Without doubt, work from home will be a more commonplace working practice and finding the balance between a dynamic team environment and home-based working will be a key task for any business director. It’s unclear how social distancing may impact workplace density long term, but we may never see a return to pre-Covid-19 levels of onsite staff.
Along with many other organisations, we have also adopted a highly successful and effective video conferencing culture during this period. I actually hope that this reduces in due course – I find the artificial nature of virtual communication detracts from the experience of working with and learning from others.
How have you supported clients and candidates through the past few months?
We have tailored our support to the unique needs of our clients. We have facilitated video conferencing. We have worked with clients to navigate furlough. We have supported clients and candidates in delaying start dates where appropriate. We have also worked closely with candidates to support them through the notice process, providing advice if they are furloughed or facing redundancy.
Which markets can you see emerging or becoming busier as we begin to return to some type of normality?
That would be telling! But we are likely to see a surge in cybersec and infosec as organisations race to secure their geographically dispersed workforce across their domestic network. Robotics and process automation were already in high demand pre-Covid-19, and this market will receive additional investment as organisations seek to reduce the future impact of pandemics. We are also likely to see organisations continuing to adopt digital solutions to their business challenges; this will evolve away from ‘traditional’ digital markets such as B2C and retail to encompass wider industries such as supply chain, medicine, energy, utilities, and finance.
If you’re preparing your business to face the challenges of a post-pandemic market or you’re unsure about taking your next career step in the current climate, speak to Xcede. Our expert consultants can provide advice specific to your unique challenges and goals.