The labor demand related to IT positions, those disciplines related to computing and telecommunications, has skyrocketed in recent years. The digital conversion promoted by the different administrations, together with the effects caused by the pandemic, have raised the need for many companies to start their transformation towards a new era.
According to the Spanish Association for Digitalization, it is estimated that there were more than 120,000 vacancies in the sector in 2022. Another report from the first quarter of this year, carried out by InfoJobs, points to technological professions as the most in demand by employers in Spain.
In this context, DIRIGENTES interviews Gary Mullan, Director of Prosperity Digitalwhich clarifies the reasons for this phenomenon, as well as employability and the different characteristics of the jobs that professionals specialized in this area aspire to.
What are the reasons that explain the employment boom in sectors related to technology?
Technology permeates everything and growth in recent years has been very important in this sector.
But I would say that the most significant thing is not that the technology sector is growing, but that all sectors are moving towards technology. The famous digitization is that, and a part of the growth comes from there, from, for example, the shoe chain that is becoming a ecommerce. The law firm that transfers all your files to the cloud. Administrations offering their services to citizens on the internet. Or the large media agencies that are transformed into digital agencies, to give a few examples.
Seen from this prism, it is not difficult to see that all this activity is capable of generating employment in certain disciplines that did not exist before. And I would dare to say that this has only just begun.
What future potential does it have in terms of employability?
Giant. There has been talk for a long time about the shortage of technology profiles in Europe, that vacancies for these positions are not filled. Now it also goes beyond technology, it is difficult to find profiles of ecommerceSEO, MarTech, UX… and there will be more and more demand. The future is here, in these sectors, which little by little will replace other industrial sectors to take center stage.
If what we describe is true, the digital sector still has employability for the future, at least the next 10 or 20 years.
At the salary level, is the lack of labor supply in the sector reflected?
At the salary level is where this tension between supply and demand is most reflected. The shortage has pushed up salaries. Four-year profiles are considered senior in this sector. And they are paid accordingly.
At our salary guide that we make every year, we can see it. The average salary in the digital sector is practically double the average Spanish salary. We see professionals barely reaching the job market who aspire to – and get – salaries of more than 25,000 euros.
Being a sector characterized by constant change, can stability be considered one of its weak points?
It could be seen that way, yes. The lack of consolidation in the professional categories as a factor of uncertainty.
But another interesting characteristic of the sector is that professionals also show this dynamism, this ability to adapt. Someone with a good digital marketing profile is capable of adapting and pivoting in one direction or another as the market requires. You can specialize in SEO, or maybe you can specialize in Amazon Ads, for example.
The same for UX profiles, which could be oriented towards programming, pure design or even marketing. And so with almost all disciplines. When you enter the digital sector market, it is not so common to do so in a very closed role and with very specific attributions. It is more common to do it in a position that requires you to learn from various disciplines. Over time, that experience will help you go in the direction you feel most comfortable with (specialization), continue being a generalist, or try out within your job category.
In this way, let’s say the ecosystem moves in unison in its “non-stability”, with the market evolving and professionals with it.
What are the most valued skills in the sector?
It’s been almost two decades now that programmers have been hard to find, even though there are more of them than ever. And something similar happens in all areas.
On the other hand, at Prosperity we have noticed a large increase in the demand for profiles that are not so purely technical in other areas such as digital marketing and all its ramifications (SEO, PPC, Social Networks, Automation, Email Marketing, etc.); UX/UI design, which is the professional in charge of thinking about the user experience and how to create interfaces that are both easy to use and serve the business effectively; or product profiles, those experts with sufficient capabilities to carry out a product and align the different areas of the business so that the company as a whole can benefit.
As soft skills Those profiles capable of working autonomously, without much direction, are highly valued. That which is sometimes known as “proactive”, that worker who does not need extra motivation, and who manages to carry out his projects and who generates a positive dynamic in the whole team.
Finally, although it is a bit obvious, languages are highly valued. English is at the forefront, but languages that give access to large markets, such as French, Italian, or German – if we are talking about Spain – are an advantage, since in the digital sector it is normal for companies to want to expand into other markets. beyond Spanish. And English is the lingua franca in the offices as a large part of the team is international, so it is a prerequisite.
What impact do you think the metaverse will have at work?
It is not clear, although in the short term, the next five or ten years, rather a minor impact.
Since big tech companies began laying off large numbers of their employees late last year, the excitement for that future in the metaverse was meant to bring has given way to enthusiasm for artificial intelligence.
The metaverse has faded into the background, and being a project led primarily by Meta, and in particular by the vision of Mark Zuckerberg, it is heavily dependent on him in person. In this sense, it seems that he himself has decided to focus his efforts in another direction, to make Meta an efficient company once again. So, I don’t see a change engine to the metaverse in the short term, and even less at the work level.
Do you think that the popularity of cryptocurrencies in recent years will generate many job opportunities?
It has generated them in remarkable numbers so far, especially in terms of programming. In 2022 there was a break in terms of its impact, due to the failure of a few exchanges, and of course the FTX scandal, which has been a severe setback for the entire crypto universe that is experiencing a winter that probably will not last beyond 2023. .
How will AI-based programs like Chat GPT affect the job market? What sectors will be most affected?
Here I think we should be cautious. It is true that the advances have been spectacular, but there is still a point of maturity in the market to be able to assimilate these advances and really find the applications that make many jobs unnecessary.
Every three months there is a new version of ChatGPT for example, which is said to be exponentially superior to the previous one. And with the previous one, it was already said that millions of jobs would disappear, but there has been time for it that ChatGPT 4 has ousted ChatGPT 3 in such a way that what was said three months ago must be reviewed.
I believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is a game changer, but we are experiencing an overexposure of still anecdotal examples of what can be done with AI. I don’t think the change curve is as fast as it seems, and as a society we will gradually assimilate AI into our lives as has previously happened with smartphones, for example. I’m generally optimistic that it will bring more productivity and new opportunities, rather than eliminating millions of jobs from one year to the next.
With teleworking there has been an increase in the demand for digital solutions. What potential do you see in this aspect?
Huge possibilities. In addition to the hybrid work model, which is already a reality in the digital sector, and 100% remote work, the next frontier is asynchronous work in organizations.
A way of working with maximum efficiency and without the need to be in person at any time. To do this, tools will help a lot. project manager, the development of the cloud for all industries, internal communication tools between employees and customers, etc. It is not easy to transfer everything that happens in the office to a 100% digital environment, but it will be the future for many companies of what is called the “knowledge economy”.
For companies born in the face-to-face it is not easy to move to asynchronous and non-face-to-face work, but for those born “remotely”, let’s say, it is an incredible opportunity to take advantage of talent from anywhere in the world.
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