Despite advancements in technology and artificial intelligence in the workplace, Colliers latest research reveals that over 62 per cent of enterprises in the Tech, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector are seeking to employ more staff to drive their company forward, demonstrating that the human factor still plays a critical role in business development.
The report was conducted by global real estate advisor, Colliers International, following a number of in-depth interviews. The study also shows that only 12.5 per cent of the firms which were interviewed were looking to contract their workforce.
Surprisingly, technology was viewed as the least important strategic resource by all but one company. Yet most businesses surveyed did expect big change and efficiency improvements through the introduction of new technology in the business and the workplace, especially the development of cloud-based systems.
Guy Douetil, Managing Director, EMEA Corporate Solutions, commented: “Over the past fifteen years, job growth in the TMT sector has been vast in both Europe and the US. Since 2000, professional, scientific, and technical services-based employment has expanded by 50 per cent in Europe and 31 per cent in the US, significantly above the average nine per cent expansion in total job growth in both locations. We expect this development to continue as the importance of technology in our economy increases. The study reinforces the TMT sector’s reliance on commercial real estate and shows it is increasingly becoming an important value-added part of the evolution of TMT businesses as they in turn put people at heart of their decisions.”
In order to satisfy their search for talent, improve customer-facing services and operate more cost-effectively, all TMT companies surveyed viewed off-shoring or near-shoring as a key part of their business strategy. India and Central Eastern Europe (CEE) countries continue to prove to be the most favourable expansion locations.
The consensus among all the companies surveyed was that human resources (HR) remains the most important strategic resource, which is needed to drive business growth over the coming years. Without the ability to tap into pools of technical talent, the business would not be able to grow at the desired rate. With unemployment levels contracting in both Europe and the US, many expressed concern over the challenge of expanding their footprint.
Alongside HR, commercial real estate (CRE) was viewed as playing an increasingly important and active role in driving the bottom and top lines of the business. Providing an attractive and efficient workplace was viewed as increasingly critical in attracting and retaining talent. More specifically, adopting better building management systems (BMS), which were implemented by portfolio managers, was viewed as an important step in improving building utilisation. The research reveals that adopting new and alternative ways of working (WOW) has enabled a third of companies to optimise their portfolio, resulting in lower costs and an overall improvement in operational performance.
Damian Harrington, EMEA Head of Research and co-author of the research added: “When questioned on major macro factors that were impacting their business and the world at large, some 70 per cent of companies said that the clear risk factor was Brexit, stating the economic impact, currency volatility and the potential limitations to accessing talent if migration was curtailed as a result, as key issues. At the time, very few of the businesses were outwardly concerned about the impending outcome of the US election. We suspect this view has changed, although this will depend on whether ‘Trump the Moderator’ or ‘Trump the Isolationist’ takes charge.”
Guy Douetil adds: “The new U.S. visa programme for technology workers is currently under threat again so the US-based TMT sector might have to fight to protect visas for the H-1B permit. In a country with full -employment, the expansion of the TMT sector will be challenging without fresh talent. However, this could act as a boon to the European tech sector if the US struggles to handle capacity issues, adding an extra dimension to the war for talent in 2017 and beyond.”