Impact on IT jobs due to Corona Virus Crisis: 6 deciding factors

If you are employed in IT sector, how safe is your job after the corona virus crisis is over? Are all the jobs safe or will IT sector have to cut lots of jobs? Here's an analysis.

While the IT industry as a whole is expected to survive the crisis, there will definitely be an impact and several jobs might be at stake. To understand if your job is at stake, following factors are crucial.

Factor 1: Vertical you work for.
IT companies provide software, consulting and support services to companies that are in different businesses, often referred to as verticals. If your client is in an industry that is severely impacted by Corona Virus crisis (Example Airlines and hotels), it is very likely that your project will be affected and your job could be at risk.

Take a look at below table where I've categorized most verticals into four groups-
  • Positive impact is where the companies in this vertical are likely to get more funds, may have new priorities and requirements and hence there could be more work for IT people working in these verticals. 
  • Neutral Impacts: Some industries like BFSI will continue to function without any impact. IT projects related to these verticals will mostly continue as is
  • Slightly Negative impact are those whose sales and business are affected due to lockdowns, supply chain issues and weak consumer sentiments but these may get resolved in a short term once crisis ends, so companies in this vertical might survive the crisis and their long term IT projects may not face drastic cost cutting
  • Significantly Negative Impact: These are verticals hit hard by the corona virus crisis. Many companies might even go bankrupt which would mean guaranteed scrapping of all IT projects. Those who survive also will postpone all non essential projects by an year or two. Only extremely essential IT services (like support/maintenance) may be retained while all upgrades, enhancements, new implementations might be cancelled.
Thus check the impact on the vertical you are working for, to assess risk factor of losing your job.

Factor 2:  Nature of your work
  • Are you providing critical support without which client can't function?
  • Is yours a consulting/management role which can be easily axed?
  • Is the project you are on crucial for your client in their survival or it is something fancy/luxury they can postpone?
Factor 3:  Flexibility of your role.
Some jobs in IT field are flexible across verticals. For example a developer can build applications for airlines as well as for banks. Network admins, HR, QA these roles can be moved across verticals if one vertical is facing crisis. However, if your job is very specific to a vertical- example SMEs, Consultants, Analysts who are there for their expertise of an industry and now that industry is not giving any projects, then these roles will be declared redundant first.

Factor 4: Your position in your team
What was your rating last appraisal? Are you an important member of your team or your absence is not likely to have a major impact?. If the pressure comes to cut a few jobs, those who are least contributing or those who are deemed expendable will be axed first.

Factor 5: Your company's cash position and management approach.
This is not the first time IT industry is facing challenge. There were recessions earlier. Companies that have enough cash and companies that are generous not to fire in large numbers might be kind to their employees even if there're not enough projects. Many companies are known to fire at will to conserve cash, so you can assess the probability of your company deciding to trim workforce.

Unlike airlines which are severely short of cash, most Indian IT companies have enough cash to sustain for several months and are also well diversified and not dependent fully on one vertical or country. So IT companies are in much better position to support their employees longer, but then nothing can go on forever. At some point they might decide to cut manpower depending on the aftermath (cancellation of projects, clients unable to pay and other operational challenges)

Factor 6: Country wise impact:
  • If a country gets into prolonged lock down, an IT company may decide to shut office in that country.
  • If your client in a particular country is unable to resume business, that could have direct impact on your project.
  • If work from home options in your country are not really viable and you are unable to go to office for a prolonged time, then company may shift this job to another country
  • If your country's Govt is generous and has offered some aid to your company or your client's company, that could mean the job is on.
  • If your job depends on renewal of Work Permit/Visa and countries decide to tighten the norms further to project local jobs, it may have an adverse effect.
Assess these 6 factors and make a calculated guess on how safe your IT job is. Best wishes.

Do share your thoughts in comments.

4 comments:

  1. *small correction in factor 6 ,point 1, in that "country"

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think oil & gas & logistics is positive

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you think so? Since oil price has crashed, no new investments, lots of cost cutting will be there.

      Delete

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