The world is a very different place from where it was this time last year. Europe is at war, inflation is rampant, and a global recession is starting to gather pace. While we all weather the storm in different ways, no one is entirely immune to the effects of these challenges.
It’s important to have as many early warning signs as possible when it comes to impending changes and challenges in your industry. And with staff typically being a company’s biggest expense, recruitment is probably the first place to look for signs of how an industry views the current economic outlook. I sat down with Damian Harris, Global Talent Acquisition Manager at ITAM Review Careers to hear what he had to say.
With a recession looming/already here in many countries now, how is this affecting recruitment? Is this having an effect on demand in the ITAM sector?
As it stands right now, it doesn’t appear to have affected the ITAM/SAM/licensing world in a significant way just yet, at least from a recruitment perspective. We’ve generated four new clients in the last few weeks alone for example (some of whom have more than one vacancy), so while something is clearly looming, as it stands, companies are continuing to invest in their ITAM workforce. This is true at both the consultancy and end-user/corporate level.
Global recessions are never uniform in how they affect countries and industries. Do some regions feel stronger than others to you?
At the moment it’s buoyant. Both end users and ITAM consultancies are still hiring right now. There has been a positive shift within companies to take ITAM seriously, so I feel that’s been keeping demand high. Markets like US and Germany are always buoyant, as is the UK where we recently placed two roles. Some European companies are starting to appear cooler, but again it’s too early to tell whether this is the start of a trend or just the decisions of individual companies.
What are the main skills that businesses are looking for from ITAM practitioners right now?
FinOps is certainly a skill that people are asking for now so I would encourage any ITAM professional to boost their credentials in this area as it will improve their attractiveness to employers and boost their salary prospects. They should seek to gain skills and certifications around FinOps, join FinOps communities etc. Anything to boost their FinOps credentials.
ITAM trends aside, it is worth remembering that companies will always be audited, so any ITAM professional must be up to speed on audit defence and compliance.
Something else that really came into play last year is SaaS licensing, since it plays such a crucial role in Digital transformation. Clients are increasingly seeking out candidates with experience in SaaS licensing, particularly with vendors such as Salesforce, ServiceNow, Tableu etc. I would implore licensing professionals to get up to speed on these vendors.
When it comes to experience with particular software publishers, which ones are companies asking for right now? Do you know if this a sign of rising audits with these publishers, or simply more companies using this software?
Well, I can start with the vendor my clients are generally not looking for at the moment; and that’s Microsoft. But this isn’t because they don’t need it – they certainly do. It’s simply because Microsoft is so widely used it’s generally the very first skill they recruit for when building an ITAM team.
IBM and SAP are both pretty prevalent and always in demand. They are both very niche and technical areas with a relatively small global talent pool, so it’s lucrative for those with the skills in this area. Specialists that really understand Oracle are also rare.
Occasionally we get requirements for a very specific, niche tier 3 software vendor, but such occurrences are so rare that it’s not something we can draw any conclusions about.
As I said earlier, demand for SaaS experience is clearly growing, so experience with vendors like ServiceNow is asked about far more than it was just a few years ago.
Last year the ITAM Review Salary Survey showed that average salaries in ITAM were very healthy, having increased 13-15% since 2019, with the highest growth (27.5%) in the USA. How are salaries holding up right now given the more difficult economic climate?
Salaries are still good, especially if you’ve got a niche skill or proven success. For example one candidate recently received an offer that was higher than both the candidate and employer were initially expecting, driven by the value of their niche skills. Salary demands have certainly been higher over the last 12 months, especially in the US and UK.
While some companies are known to pay better than others, there hasn’t been a noticeable change in the rates being offered – overall they’re still buoyant. Clearly the benefits of being in a niche environment where skills are in a relatively low supply are continuing to play out.
One of the top 3 reasons for leaving an employer is financial, so it’s only natural they would want a higher salary when they move. However, it is worth acknowledging that money isn’t always the primary driver for some people, and the differences can be cultural too. Some countries in mainland Europe for example are less driven by remuneration but about other factors such as personal growth and development, and benefits like health and insurance etc.
Ultimately though I don’t foresee salaries going down any time soon. While the volume of moves might dip slightly as global markets tighten, I can’t see salaries going down at all. ITAM is simply too important for that.