According to a survey1 conducted by Gartner in 2016 among 948 IT professionals from 30 countries, 22% considered the cloud as the technology that would most impact their jobs and careers in the next one and a half years. This was double the figure for data and analytics, the next most popular choice. Yet the cloud’s impact extends beyond the realm of IT, affecting professionals across several industries. Here’s a look at how the cloud is transforming the job market.
It is not surprising that the need for cloud-savvy professionals is continuously increasing, given the growing adoption of this technology. The rising demands for cloud talent have contributed to the fragmentation of roles across the IT industry and driven changes in the nature of jobs. Investigating current hiring trends provides insight into attractive skills and capabilities for job candidates to have. For example, the title “software engineer” has adopted a broader definition – cloud specialist, cloud computing systems engineer, cloud alliance manager all now fall into the “software engineer” category, yet each role has different and distinctive duties ranging from cloud environment design to managing cloud computing service provider partnerships.
The increasing adoption of the cloud also streamlines the structure of IT teams. An IT team used to consist of server teams, network teams and security teams but now a cloud team often suffices to take care of all tech related issues, and to some extent resolves the age-old grudge match between security and networking staff.
In addition to changes in the specification of their work, IT professionals are getting more involved in business strategy development and decision making. As a result, their jobs are transcending application development and becoming more business-focused. According to a survey2 back in 2011, 71% of CIOs who adopted cloud computing, compared to only 44% of non-cloud adopting CIOs, see themselves as high-level management with greater opportunities for a strategic role in the business.
More new opportunities are likely to be created for non-IT professionals as well. For example, a marketing professional familiar with the cloud’s capability in promoting new products has a greater chance of accelerating his or her career prospects.
Last but not least, the cloud also holds the potentially alarming prospect of helping AI robots or software replace human workers, such as when a Japanese insurance firm recently replaced 34 workers with an AI system. This is especially the case if the AI is controlled, programmed and repaired remotely through the cloud.
Traditionally, HR processes involved using an on-premise payroll and talent management system, and filling out paperwork. Those were time-consuming procedures. The tedious nature of these processes would result in human errors, sacrificing time that could have been invested in more important work. The adoption of the cloud can make HR much more proficient.
American apparel retailer Brooks Brothers adopted cloud software to manage compensation, biography, performance and other information two years ago. Whenever an applicant accepts a job offer, Brooks Brothers sends out an email with a link for the applicant the fill out all the required paperwork and shares orientation related materials such as FAQs and a video from the CEO. The adoption of the cloud has eliminated 15 paper-based processes and has boosted productivity and employee data efficiency by 10 percent and 50 percent3 , respectively.
Beyond the technological shift, the deployment of cloud software is conducive to improving efficiency and streamlining critical functions in an HR department. HR managers have full access to data collected through the cloud-based system, which empowers them to provide better support and organizational insights to grow the talent pool.
Other examples include British cosmetics and beauty brand Elizabeth Arden, which migrated its HR technology to the cloud in 2011 to create a single global source for employee data which is consistent and easy-to-use. Twitter traded its on-premise HR system for a cloud-based system in 2012, rather than having multiple systems around the world. Austrian jeweler Swarovski adopted a cloud-based human resources system in 2015 to transform HR from functional to strategic, which also helped the end-to-end business by filling in vacancies quickly enough to carry out succession planning. HP currently finds analytics favorable to closing deals and efficient decision making.
Working remotely has been possible thanks to the cloud. A report by the London Business School shows that more than half of the workforce will be working remotely by 20204 . Compared to the conventional method of storing files, virtual servers allow user access from any location and real-time collaboration. Such flexibility is likely to increase employee satisfaction, reduce stress levels and further improve productivity with the work-life gap narrowing down. In addition to benefiting staff, remote working helps protect the environment by reducing transport commute times, which reduces energy usage and pollution. Mobile working also cuts operations costs such as rent and electricity.
Thanks to the era of cloud computing, the nature of IT and the skill sets required from IT technicians and non-IT professionals have changed significantly from 10 years ago. Moreover, not only have tech departments changed, but so too have the other areas of a company become transformed by the cloud. As cloud computing becomes more sophisticated, processes like job recruitment will become less time-consuming and more efficient.
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