At the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, 61% of US jobs were remote. Now, three years later, nearly 30% of US jobs are still remote and 74% of companies are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid model. While Americans tend to favor a work-from-home lifestyle, the shift forces companies, and their leaders to question how they manage a team and reinvent the strategies they utilize. The traditional in-office team structure allows for quick communication, easier access, and more rigid schedules. However, a successful virtual environment demands perhaps greater flexibility alongside concise and transparent communication.
Neither structure on its own is indefinitely better than the other. It all comes down to the individual in charge of the structure. Regardless of the modality, noteworthy team leaders are tasked with striking a balance between management and humility. It is imperative that a leader can admit faults as they strive for progress, not perfection. They should be committed to learning who their team members are as people rather than employees. They should model communication that is honest and transparent and agile; and perhaps most important, they should be passionate about what they do. An employee’s ability to witness pride in their leader’s work is motivating.
The virtual switch that was forced upon the world simultaneously forced changes to the way that we knew our work teams. While it wasn’t easy, it presented companies with a way to develop and shift together. Individuals had to become more adaptive and understanding of one another as their own lives changed because of the pandemic. It allowed a degree of separation to exist, or be sought, between home life and work life whether we knew it or not. The fundamental changes endured by employees as people over the past three years have perhaps ushered in a positive and foreseeable change to leadership approaches that will only prove beneficial as time goes on.
Facing deteriorating conditions in the job market, job seekers and employers must adapt and evolve to remain competitive and successful. Layoffs have increased competition for limited positions, making upskilling and continuous learning essential for job seekers. As automation and AI use continues to expand, businesses need to prioritize internal upskilling to prepare their workforce for increased technological integration. Companies can foster a culture of innovation and resilience by providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills and develop expertise in AI-driven applications, ensuring a smooth transition to an automated workplace. HR leaders must cultivate talent and implement training programs to ensure an agile workforce. Companies should focus on reskilling employees and partnering with educational institutions to create a sustainable talent pipeline.
Collaboration between communities, companies, and educational institutions is crucial to align workforce development with market needs. By providing accessible resources, tailored technical training, and career guidance, these stakeholders can facilitate smooth transitions into evolving and new career paths. Embracing change, fostering resilience, and investing in skills and knowledge are vital in navigating the changing job market and turning challenges posed by layoffs and automation into opportunities for growth and success. By working together, individuals, businesses, and educational institutions can create a more resilient and adaptable workforce.
How are you leveraging yourself now that the Smart industry is ready to go mainstream?
Smart manufacturing is when one uses technology that capitalizes on internet-connected machinery to oversee the process of production. Smart devices, therefore, have all of their processes automated and use data analytics to enhance performance further.
The innovations and technologies powering the smart industry use the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). This involves a system of interconnected computing devices, digital and mechanical machinery, and people, animals, or objects possessing unique identifiers and the capability to transfer data to a network without any human-to-human or computer-to-human interaction.
Today, the megatrend of smart devices encompasses many things, including phones, cars, electronic appliances, tablets, watches, glasses, medical equipment, and so much more.
In the past, technological developments have caused some jobs to disappear while creating unheard-of roles. However, before thinking about how to use smart technologies to keep yourself relevant in the workplace, taking a deep dive and arming yourself with knowledge about the smart industry is necessary to grasp its implications in the world of work.
It is high time to understand the smart industry and why it’s the next big thing in technology.
What is Industry 4.0: Megatrends in the Smart Industry
1. Edge Computing
It would be an understatement to say that edge computing is reshaping IT and business computing.
What underlying concept is edge computing based on?
Edge computing refers to a distributed information technology architecture where the client’s data is processed at the network’s periphery or as close as possible to its source.1
Businesses today are overloaded with data. This has implications for how companies now do computing. Edge computing transfers some of the storage and computes resources from the central data center and closer to the data source.
Therefore, work gets done where the data is generated initially instead of being transmitted. This could be in a department store, factory plant, or a smart city. Then it generates real-time business insights, near-accurate forecasts, and actionable steps for businesses and organizations.
With edge computing, the performance of devices becomes boosted. It also enhances privacy protection, data security, reliability, and resiliency. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are also well supported by edge computing. Finally, many businesses have embraced edge computing because it reduces operational costs and helps them meet regulatory and compliance requirements.2
2. Industry 4.0
The first industrial revolution involved using steam power, which led to the mechanization of production. The second industrial revolution capitalized on electricity and assembly line production. Partial automation and the emergence of the computer led to the third industrial revolution. Finally, cyber-physical systems such as the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems are the defining features of the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 (4IR).
In the 4IR, smart devices, which can handle vast amounts of data, will have enough information processing capability to make autonomous decisions that can powerfully aid key business processes such as supply chains. This can also offer vital support for human input.
Industry 4.0 will be made possible by four significant innovations. These are high-speed internet, Ai and automation, big data analytics, and cloud technology.
A McKinsey study reported that Industry 4.0 will have robots replace 800 million workers globally. While many of you may feel threatened by this data, the World Economic Forum also reported that automation will create new jobs and allow employees to fill new roles with tasks that did not exist before the automation era.
The blockchain is a distributed database or ledger shared within a computer network. Then it is stored in a digital format. You have probably heard of this in conversations involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In cryptocurrency systems, the blockchain is responsible for maintaining a secure and decentralized record of transactions without any need for a third party.3
Blockchain greatly disrupts the traditional finance sector, such as banks and payment systems. This is also why many governments worldwide seek ways to regulate the blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrencies the way traditional finance sectors are regulated.
This is also why blockchain is a megatrend today and draws so many people to it. For one, you do not have banking hours because the blockchain never sleeps. You can tap it anytime. However, putting money in the blockchain and trading it as you do in the stock and capital market may allow you to double or triple your investment in a matter of days or have them all wiped out in just a week.
An innovative wireless network with tremendous potential – this is what 5G is all about.
5G utilizes shorter frequencies, resulting in larger bandwidths. What does this mean for you? Higher internet speeds, enhanced capacity, lower latency, and better service.
This year, 2022, is said to be the year when 5G launches in a big way. According to Boston Consulting Group, 5G will funnel around $1.7 trillion to the American economy in the next decade and generate some 4.6 million new jobs.
Experts also project that 5G will lead the way toward realizing smart factories, smart buildings, and smart cities. It will boost productivity by an estimated 30 percent and make assembly times 50 percent more efficient.
Furthermore, 5G, when combined with edge computing, will enhance digital experiences. The combination also promises to improve performance, enhance data security, and allow more efficient operations in almost every industry.4
As a job candidate and future employee, you may be working for a business that can already virtualize the cloud beyond the limitations of the data center.
While these trends can potentially eliminate jobs that can already be automated, as a job candidate, you are living in the best of times and in the worst of times. As a tech professional, here are some practical ways to prepare in advance for when these megatrends in the smart industry start to take over the world of work.
Obsolescence Can Be Avoided: Future-Proof Yourself
While these trends can potentially eliminate jobs that can already be automated, as a job candidate, you are living in the best of times and in the worst of times. As a tech professional, here are some practical ways to prepare in advance for when these megatrends in the smart industry start to take over the world of work.
1. Build Future-Resilient Technical Skills.
Innovations in technology, particularly in the smart industry, call for a set of skills that are constantly updated. This is where upskilling and reskilling are very much needed. These include technical skills such as computer programming, coding, project management, financial management, and other tech-based skills.
The demand is high for tech talent with industry-specific skills and targeted training. As a tech professional with a unique skill set and technical training, you should be researching and decoding global trends all the time to better prepare for the new roles needed in the smart industry.
2. Hone Your Soft Skills.
It would help if you kept in mind that soft skills are equally important as technical skills. As a job candidate, the intersection between your tech/hard skills and soft skills is the sweet spot to leverage in looking for a role that suits you best in the smart industry.
Soft skills include communication, teamwork capabilities, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, people management, and, importantly, emotional intelligence. These are the skills that robots cannot replace humans and are, therefore, must-haves.
3. Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset.
The ability to transform an idea into reality is the best proof that you have an entrepreneurial mindset. You can only make innovation possible when you spot a need and change your objective to answer that need. More importantly, it would be best if you remembered that entrepreneurial management must go hand in hand with having the ability to work with teams and to think critically.
LEVERAGE YOUR SKILLS AND MAKE THE SMART INDUSTRY YOUR PLAYING FIELD.
You can never go wrong with preparing for the megatrends in the smart industry. Make the Fox Search Group a partner for high-impact job searches to prepare yourself for an exciting tech labor market powered by the smart industry.
Reach out to us to enlist the support and help of a staffing agency that knows the latest trends and the direction paved by the latest technological innovations in the job market.
The swift changes across all industries in today’s global economy have affected all roles from top to bottom. But only a few know that these changes have impact up to the level of the C-suite, particularly in CIO and CTO positions.
Today, CIOs and CTOs both play vital roles in ensuring that information technology (IT) systems and services are in tip-top shape. Also, as technology leaders, they are important in ensuring that the company reaches its business goals and that the services they offer also benefit external customers.
However, as organizations evolve at breakneck speed through technology, how do we draw the line between similar roles?
The CIO Role
Traditionally, the Chief Information Officer or CIO is the company executive who leads the teams in implementing and managing information and computer technologies.1 The CIO primarily calls the shots for IT operations within an organization.
The CIO analyzes how new technology that a company adopts improve existing business process. They can also set out to integrate new systems to improve existing ones.
As technology continues to evolve and with more companies doing their digital transformation, the CIO role is becoming increasingly popular. As a result, many job candidates with years of IT experience behind them are attracted to apply for CIO roles in a tech company or a business.
The CTO Role
On the other hand, the Chief Technology Officer or CTO in the C-suite leads in fulfilling a company’s technology needs in the vital areas of Research and Development (R&D).2
CTOs also consider a company’s short-term and long-term needs, including company resources toward investing in new technology that will drive the company’s growth.
The CTO typically reports to the CIO and also to the CEO. Back in the day, most companies only had a CIO. However, as technology became indispensable for all companies and new technology became ubiquitous, many organizations now have one CIO and one CTO.
Deep Diving into the CIO and the CTO Roles
The CIO: Outside Looking In
The significant difference3 is that CIOs are more inward-looking. It’s because a CIO must ensure that costs and expenses are managed wisely in a company’s IT infrastructure. Hence, a CIO’s primary clientele is his colleagues. A CIO is obsessed with figuring out how to do more with less.
The CTO: Inside Looking Out
On the other hand, the CTO is not so much concerned about the internal process. Instead, they focus on new ways, innovations, and technologies to improve a company’s business goals and growth prospects. Thus, a CTO is more outward-looking as the focus is on improving customer experience through the company’s products and services.
Technical But Entrepreneurial
In totality, the CIO and the CTO are viewed by their colleagues as a technology leader, having the shared responsibility of helping reach business goals, lead in technology strategy, and support the company’s business strategy. Hence, and especially more so today, both functions also play the role of a business leader.
As technology continues to pummel through the global economy and this post-pandemic workplace continues to evolve, how must you expect the role of the CIO and the CTO to change further? Is it already enough that they possess superior knowledge on emerging technology and above average skills in information technology?
What does the 21st century enterprise and Industry 4.0 need from a CIO position or a CTO position today?
The CIO Role and The CTO Role Redefined
Why should their roles change in the first place?
When these roles emerged in the 80s, the global economy and the world of work looked completely different. For one, there was no pandemic. Also, geographical boundaries seemed more apparent many years ago compared to today.
Moreover, the current IT, computer science, and business innovations were not yet present back in the day. As a result, technology did not singlehandedly lead to growth and transformation the way that it is now.
But one significant change we see today is the merging of technology and business. Back then, the stereotype for scientists and geeks was that they stayed in laboratories, basements, or libraries. Today, geeks are found heading some of the world’s most familiar brands and in the zenith of the corporate ladder.
This was only made possible when technology and business seamlessly merged. You may be skilled in computer science or IT, but do you also have what it takes to communicate your ideas to leaders who may need to become more familiar with technology?
Does your technological prowess able to tide you through leading a team and finding solutions to problems? Can you effectively implement your vision to help external stakeholders, such as customers and other vital clients?
Technology as Business Strategy
In today’s rapidly changing world, technological superiority needs to be complemented by an entrepreneurial mindset. Hence, CIO and CTO roles need to expand from concentrating only on technology infrastructure but also to covering business strategy.3 CIOs must also become business strategists. This is the bare minimum today in the tech sector and outside of it.
According to Axiom’s lead data scientist and tech mentor Donncha Carroll, today’s CIOs and CTOs must strike a balance between their obsession with systems and their keen eye for improving customer experiences. Tech models must combine with business models and in-depth knowledge of business markets, even if you are a tech professional. This is why more business leaders are becoming CIOs and CEOs, even if their backgrounds are not primarily in technology or an allied field.
What Does This Mean for Job Candidates?
As a tech professional replete with years of experience across several tech roles, while these credentials are admirable, it remains a reminder for you not to be complacent but to continually upskill.
Expand your horizons and look for short courses on business, business strategy, and leadership, which can greatly complement your technical know-how. The secret is that your soft skills must balance your technical or hard skills. Your left brain should complement your right brain — the yin and the yang.
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The importance of lifelong learning and upskilling, despite years of experience, cannot simply be overstated. Navigating the changes in CIO and CTO roles, it’s best to have a partner to help you land that dream tech job.
Choose the Fox Search Group. With our team of expert recruiters, you are several steps closer to finding the ideal company that is most suitable for your professional profile. Talk to us today and be one of our many success stories!
Employee mental health is key to your company’s success, as it directly impacts your employees’ performance, productivity, and motivation. Organizations will find it hard to achieve long-term growth without programs and policies addressing mental health at work.
Anxiety, burnout, depression, and other mental health issues affect employees’ well-being. You may not notice, but some of them may have already been showing signs of mental health issues. For instance, do you have an employee showing a drastic personality change? Do they seem agitated, stressed out, or even angry? Do you notice someone who seems to be withdrawing from the rest of your team? Has an employee approached you about dealing with feelings of hopelessness?
These are all signs of a possible mental health condition, and it happens more in the workplace than you think.
A 2021 Gallup survey of employees across the United States revealed that 57 percent experience significant work stress.1 That is an easy and alarming majority. Imagine how this stress can translate to other workplace issues and impact your employees’ quality of work.
This is why it is pertinent that managers take on a vital role in helping employees manage their mental health at work and proactively. Together with their employee, managers must confront any mental health challenges in the workplace.
However, in confronting mental health wellness in the workplace, many managers make mistakes that, unfortunately, tend to do more harm than good. Here are the most common ones.
Mistakes that Managers Make on Mental Health Wellness
1. Failure to Mitigate Mental Health Stigma
A significant percentage of the US workforce often shies away from revealing the real status of their mental health with their superiors. This was the insight from Modern Forrester Consulting’s June 2022 survey conducted among employees, hiring managers, and C-suite executives.
Despite their prevalence, workplace stress, burnout, and mental well-being remain taboo topics that an employee would rather not discuss. The survey reported that only 51 percent of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health status with their bosses, and 49 percent would rather not.2
Most employees value what their employer thinks of them for practical reasons. They want to be viewed as competent individuals that employers can depend on anytime. With this “ideal” perception that they don’t want to change, they deem approaching their employer to discuss mental health may be seen by their boss as a sign of weakness, incapability, and liability.
This is why managers must go out of their way to let employees know that mental health is not taboo. They must take the lead in breaking the stigma and creating an environment where mental health concerns are discussed and addressed.
2. Lack of Focus on Mental Health SUSTAINABILITY.
In another survey, more than 70 percent of C-suite executives feel they are promoting an environment conducive to workplace mental health. It’s because their employees have paid time off to attend to work-life balance, including free time to cater to their employees’ mental wellness.2
However, the survey also revealed that only 53 percent of employees feel welcome to use their paid time off, considering all the demands in the office. Moreover, only 46 percent feel welcome to take time off for a mental health break.2
Any employer should know that mental health initiatives, such as counseling, yoga, quiet times, and the like, will only work if they approach mental health holistically. They must not be used as palliative solutions to deep-rooted problems in company operations, policies, and structure.
Employers should take a closer look at the potential causes of mental health problems among their employees. Are your employees overworked? Do you need to make changes in your workforce, a shift in the organizational chart, or the daily workflow? Are certain people causing undue stress in the workplace? These are hard questions that call for transparent answers from managers.
3. Lack of Flexibility in the Company
Unfortunately, many employers are still in denial about how the pandemic permanently changed the world of work. As a result, some managers fail to truly understand how this global public health crisis and its resulting mental health breakdown have negatively affected the workforce. Hence, they insist on operating as if the pandemic never happened.
One recent study revealed that 74 percent of employers believe their employees demand too much mental health support. Moreover, 71 percent of employers believe mental health programs are too expensive, and 69 percent do not see the need to prioritize mental health benefits since employees did not receive the same before.
As a manager, reflect on the possibility of offering remote work to your employees. Have you ever considered offering time flexibility to your employees? This could be helpful, especially to mothers and homemakers. How about assigning “no meeting” days to your employees?
Once you are past these most common mistakes, here are some actionable tips that can help boost your initiatives for holistic and sustainable mental health awareness efforts in your organization.
1. Build a Company Culture that Thrives on Connections
Assign people from within your organization to check on their colleagues periodically. This is where your middle managers can best come in. This is needed more now that remote work has become quite ubiquitous.
Encourage regular check-ins during coffee breaks or right after town halls. Make your company more human by establishing a culture of good communication and personal connection.
2. Spend Time with Your Employees.
Designate dedicated time with your team. If your company is already too large for you to meet all your employees in one go, break them down according to teams. Sponsor regular company lunches or dinners, and create regular programs where you can spend time with your employees.
It need not be the whole day. Instead, spend a few hours with them over lunch or early dinner and over some drinks. Model this behavior to your employees by simply living a little. Being an example to them can go a long way.
3. Offer Flexibility at Work.
If you want to retain your employees while contributing to workplace mental health, then you may want to implement a more flexible working schedule for them. Allow more time for employees to work remotely so that they can properly manage work-related stress connected with the daily commute, inclement weather, and affairs at home.
4. Create a Psychologically Safe Workplace.
Along with establishing open communication lines, spending dedicated time, and offering flexibility at work to employees, you must also develop a workplace that’s free of discrimination and celebrates diversity and inclusion.
When your employees feel welcomed and accepted, they also tend to be more open and communicative. Hence, it is YOUR responsibility to create this kind of environment where they can grow and thrive—for your mutual benefit.
CONSIDER PARTNERING WITH THE FOX SEARCH GROUP FOR YOUR TALENT-SOURCING NEEDS.
To help you focus on building a psychologically safe workplace, collaborate with a staffing firm like Fox Search Group that not only takes mental health at work to heart but also prioritizes diversity and inclusion. At Fox Search Group, we can take care of sourcing top professionals for your company and support you in finding individuals that can contribute to an environment that supports mental well-being.
Together, let us create a diverse, inclusive, and healthy workplace for your employees and your company. Talk to us today!
In today’s remote world of work, do traditional tech hubs still exist? And if so, how will these tech hubs redefine themselves?
Truth be told, tech hubs are slowly losing their luster in the fast-evolving tech industry. As a result, the tech workforce is increasingly being lured away from the traditional tech hubs and onto newer innovation centers. In addition, the digital transformation of many industries and organizations has likewise signaled the workforce to be dispersed instead of converging in a select number of tech hotbeds.
Despite these market movements, can these so-called tech hubs stand still as the center of tech talent and innovation, or is it time to pass on the baton to emerging hubs?
Tech Hubs: Where Have All the Tech Workers Gone?
Is Silicon Valley still the best place to find all the action when looking for tech employment?
Many of the world’s biggest names in tech had to sacrifice their workforce during these challenging times. Big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft have announced high-profile layoffs. Given this, there are clearly other tech hubs that job seekers should explore other than Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the Bay Area, New York, San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Seatle, among others.
Aside from these traditional tech hubs, a handful of emerging tech centers also attract tech professionals these days. Areas in the US that are slowly gaining an image of being a tech city include Atlanta in Georgia, Austin and Dallas in Texas, Chicago, and the Midwest cities of Indianapolis, Denver, Columbus, and Kansas City. Emerging tech hubs may also be found in Salt Lake City in Utah, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina, and Phoenix, Arizona.1
These new tech cities feature companies that have also been heavily investing in technology innovation and tech startups that are now growing in numbers. These new tech hubs have been growing consistently and attracting more tech talent in recent years. As a result, these emerging tech hubs paint a more realistic picture of how the US tech industry is evolving and becoming more geographically diverse.
Indeed, tech workers must focus on more than just the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, or Washington DC in their search for tech jobs. The reality is that more and more tech hubs are rising in North America, where tech employment may be found.
Flexibility: The Secret Weapon to Find Top Tech Talent
If the pandemic brought anything positive and groundbreaking to the world of work, that is the possibility of flexible work arrangements. In fact, many say that 2022 is the year of remote work.
A recent survey published in CNBC reports that 72 percent of tech workers prefer a flexible work arrangement from their employers instead of returning to onsite work full-time.2
Flexible work arrangements emphasize a tech employee’s autonomy and allow managers to customize policies and initiatives to the needs of each employee. It also supports efforts to promote employee well-being and work-life balance – priorities that have shot up in the preferences of many tech workers.
A report from the ADP Research Institute revealed that 67 percent of employees would take advantage of flexible work arrangements if their tech company offered this. Moreover, the same report revealed that employees value flexibility in a tech job as much as they value a significant pay raise.3
This new normal of flexibility in the workplace also tends to boost morale and employee productivity. A similar study revealed that 90 percent of employees feel they are as productive working remotely as working onsite. Some even said they are more productive working from home than in the office. Similarly, 84 percent said they would be happier if their tech company decided to make flexibility a permanent fixture in the company policies.4
Tech Hub No More: Tapping on the Global Talent Pool
The saying “the world is your marketplace” could not be truer now than ever before.
The truth remains that finding top tech professionals in the US is a mammoth task rather than simply a walk in the park.
Because of this, many CEOs and hiring managers believe that if these vacancies cannot be filled by swaying tech professionals from the traditional tech hub, then the answer must be to look for them elsewhere in the globe. This is particularly true for 90 percent of tech startups in the United States.5
Technology companies in the United States have also hired their tech workforce from other tech hubs globally, such as Beijing, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, London, Shanghai, Singapore, and Vietnam.
On the home front, this is partnered with a heavy investment in tech talent by upskilling and reskilling current employees. This has been a developing trend in the tech sector for the industry to attract and retain its top talent.
Many tech companies have resorted to either nearshore or offshore outsourcing to hire tech talents. Nearshore outsourcing refers to outsourcing talent from a nearby country or territory with a similar time zone. On the other hand, offshore outsourcing refers to outsourcing talent from distant countries such as India, South Africa, or the Philippines. While the former may be easier to manage, the latter is usually more cost-effective.
The war on getting tech talent is still far from over. CEOs and hiring managers in the so-called “biggest tech hubs” must be more strategic in rethinking their hiring process to attract and retain top professionals. Similarly, job seekers should continue enriching their experience and skills to stay at the top of the game.
FOX SEARCH GROUP, YOUR PARTNER IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES
Need help landing your dream tech job? Or are you a tech company looking to attract top tech talent? Work with the Fox Search Group, a reputable staffing firm that can serve as your partner for all your hiring needs. Stay competitive in the tech market with the Fox Search Group. Talk to us today!