The media is full of doom and gloom about an inevitable global recession. There seems to be some debate about how deep our economy may decline or how long the economic downturn might last. Either way, we can be sure that more challenging times are on their way for all of us. But while global stock markets might be panicking, how might this affect the average tech worker in the UK? Below we outline 5 reasons IT Jobseekers shouldn’t worry about a recession and offer bulletproof tips to help you prepare for a downturn.
Let’s first consider what a recession is and where we are now to help you get your head around the difficulties that may lie ahead.
What is a Recession?
Under normal circumstances, businesses run at a profit which creates healthy competition within the economy. Individuals living within that economy grow more prosperous as its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) increases.
After a period of healthy growth, competition can get too fierce, salaries rise to an unsustainable level, and the cost of living increases to an unaffordable level. When this happens, as it has done recently, central banks, such as the Bank of England here in the UK, the Federal Reserve in the USA or the European Central Bank, raise interest rates to make spending less attractive and encourage people to save money.
As a result, GDP decreases. Writers and editors of various financial publications have different definitions of a recession. However, it has become acceptable to assume we are in a recession when the economy shrinks for two three-month periods or two consecutive quarters in a row.
Where are we Now?
This week, the Bank of England predicted that the UK could face the most prolonged recession since records began. Moreover, they warn of a challenging two years ahead and expect unemployment to double by 2025.
Why IT Jobseekers Shouldn’t Worry About A Recession
So we are right at the start of what might be, for many people, a difficult couple of years. However, that doesn’t mean that IT professionals need to panic. Below are six reasons why.
1 – Worrying is a waste of precious energy
Seriously, worrying about anything wastes time and energy and negatively affects your mental health. While there are likely hard times just around the corner, you’re unlikely to have any control over them. No amount of worrying can either delay their onset or enable you to influence them in any way.
Instead of wasting time worrying, why not channel your energy into something more positive such as updating your CV or online portfolio? Planning will also put you in a positive mindset, making difficult times much easier to bear. Not only that but if you are unfortunate enough to lose your job, at least you’ll be ahead of the competition when it comes to finding a new one.
2 – The UK tech sector is pretty resilient
Unfortunately for them, retail and hospitality are usually the sectors most likely to suffer as consumers tighten their spending habits. However, companies still have enormous demand to improve their technical capabilities.
While the IT sector may not be 100% recession-proof, it is more resilient than many others. The tech community was severely hit after the dot com bubble burst, and many tech start-ups went out of business. However, since then, the demand for digital services has grown. Therefore, we’re unlikely to see mass IT job losses during the next few years.
3 – It makes sense to invest in scarce skills during a recession
If the UK enters a recession, some companies will likely, unfortunately, make redundancies to reduce costs. However, the savviest employers understand the benefit of employing staff in an economic downturn.
So, while some employers will likely freeze recruitment, many organisations may capitalise on hiring scarce skills before their cost of them rises again.
Alternatively, companies may resort to promoting internally to fill senior positions and backfilling the entry-level vacancies to save money.
4 – Some businesses thrive in a recession
Economic recession isn’t all bad. It’s just a period that the economic cycle must inevitably go through after a period of growth. All a recession means is that an economy has enjoyed a period of such prosperity that continued advancement is no longer sustainable.
However, not all businesses suffer as a consequence of an economic downturn, and many even thrive when the rest of the economy is struggling.
For example, any debt management or recovery business will likely do well. Likewise, companies that make small affordable luxuries such as chocolates and lipsticks often see increased sales. While we may see job cuts in some sectors, others may increase recruitment activity.
5 – Technology often provides the solution
There is a wide range of ways that technology can help businesses reduce costs and increase profits. Therefore, while companies often cut back on spending in a recession, some may still see the value in investing in new technology.
6 – Sometimes a change does us good
While nobody relishes the thought of losing their job, it can often open the door to new opportunities that will enable us to broaden our skill sets.
Going through redundancy can be a stressful time, but often, the jobs people get as a result are much better than the ones they had before.
Our Top 6 Tips to Help Tech Professionals Survive a Recession
Our advice to tech professionals as we head into a recession would be:
- Tie up the loose ends of any projects you’re currently working on
- Keep your GitHub repository up to date
- Update your CV with your latest skills and experience
- If you’re not in the habit of saving money, now might be a good time to start
- Don’t invest in any expensive courses that might not lead to anything
- Take what you hear in the news with a pinch of salt; good times don’t sell headlines
A Few Final Thoughts on Reasons IT Jobseekers Shouldn’t Worry About a Recession
For those who lose their jobs, the journey through an economic downturn can be bumpy. However, recessions are not all bad for everybody. In fact, when we go through an economic slump, as individuals as much as businesses, what we learn from it makes us stronger. For example, it teaches us to be more careful with money, and as a result, we make better long-term choices.
We hope that all our reader’s jobs will be safe through whatever turbulent times lie ahead. However, if you are worried about your job security, our team of expert IT recruitment consultants is always here to offer advice.