IT: a sector immune to the crisis?
Even before the year has come to an end, 2020 is already known as a black year for the many players in the global economy affected by Covid-19. Nonetheless, digital and computing professionals are still doing quite well on the labor market. EPITA-trained engineers are obviously no exception.
Developers, engineers and high-profile IT professionals were doing quite well before Covid19 hit, as they attracted the attention of recruiters. This is backed by figures published by the APEC (Association for the Employment of Executives): from 2014 to 2019, the number of “recruitments of executives in the digital sector” rose from approximately 35,000 to nearly 60,000, showing a nearly 14% annual growth in job creations. Young graduates (executives with under 6 years of experience) accounted for about 2/3 of those hired. The year 2020 should also show similar numbers, with a forecast of nearly 67,000 executives recruited in the digital sector. However, the pandemic has changed things, not so much in terms of demand (these business profiles are still being sought after and structural needs are real), but in the realization: given the lockdown and decrease in availability, nearly ¾ of companies have had difficulties finding future employees. Above all, the increased importance of the digital sector in this difficult period (in which people from many countries have to use digital tools to work, entertain themselves and communicate with others) has further reinforced the willingness of recruiters to hire tech professionals, particularly those working in software engineering (cyber security, computer architecture, infrastructure, artificial intelligence, data, embedded systems, multimedia and image processing…). Now, more than ever, new IT talents are spoiled for choice. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who have chosen, among others, an engineering school like EPITA.
For Claire Lecocq, recently a guest on the BFM Business news channel, it is important to remain optimistic when facing the current situation. “Before lockdown, the market was very tight, with more offers than skilled applicants, recalls the Assistant Managing Director of EPITA Paris. 85% of companies even stated that they were having a hard time recruiting personnel. Since then, the crisis has brought balance, with an increasing number of job offers in the software engineering sector. This may be seen in the internships leading to fixed-term and permanent contracts signed by the vast majority of our students majoring in these fields. We have even found that the digital sector has resisted these troubled times, with 70% of EPITA graduates now in the workforce!”
Claire Lecocq on the BFM Business channel
The only downside is in the field of consulting, which is showing a different trend, with twice as few internships turning into full-time jobs. This is due to major transformation projects that have been put on hold while waiting for the health and economic situations to improve. But again, positive signals have been noted.
“The market is showing signs of recovery, even small ones. 86% of companies have said that they have relaunched their projects and that business is picking up again! One can imagine that in the field of SMACS (Social-Mobility-Analytics-Cloud), strategic projects acting as market drivers, will resume their place. Moreover, our partner companies are saying the same thing: they plan to invest in the cloud to better exploit their data and for reasons of availability,” says Claire Lecocq.
The enthusiasm of the companies coincides with the upheaval experienced by employees during the lockdown. Indeed, now more than ever, this crisis has demonstrated the growing importance of the digital sector in both our personal and professional lives, making companies’ digital transformations essential. “This will impact companies, management and many other areas, Claire Lecocq asserts. People are beginning to realize that digital services are able to balance performance and responsibility inside a company. This crisis has given rise to new demands from employees. For example, 90% of our graduates do not think that they will have to be at their workplace every day. This crisis has led to real changes!” “The changes in our customs and practices require new priorities (focus on user experience, increase in online services…) and especially a growing need for developers and engineers, who will be able to achieve this, updating existing infrastructures, boosting networks and servers, and even revising security measures to ensure the integrity of information systems and the protection of users. This makes EPITA graduates the ideal applicants for French and international companies.
Indeed, already acclaimed by international companies (21% of graduates from the class 2019 work abroad), EPITA students enjoy two major advantages. The first is related to the school’s reputation for innovation and mastery of digital technologies, combined with the international and intercultural dimension promoted by the school (notably symbolized by the traditional 2nd year semester abroad).
The second advantage is the French engineering model, which has historically shaped professionals, who are highly appreciated across the globe. From London to Palo Alto, French engineers are recognized as those who, in addition to having strong scientific knowledge, master the basics and boast technical expertise in a specialized field, while showing additional qualities (management, project management …). In other words, EPITA developers and engineers have everything they need to play a major role in the post-19 Covid economy. All the more so, they will most likely be on the front line.