Understandably, there’s been plenty of media focus around the impact of Covid-19 on jobs and unemployment. And with the government taking significant steps to prevent job losses, the lead indicators show that NZ unemployment is going to peak at 5.8% in 2020, dropping back to 4.9% in 2021. Whilst these figures are much better than the initial predictions of 13% unemployment, what they don’t consider is the self-employed/contingent workforce. The uncertainty created by the pandemic (compounded by a shrinking economy) has resulted in organisations reconsidering capital expenditure and reassessing their exposure to risk and financial plans. The technology sector hasn’t escaped the impact of this – with various projects being cancelled, postponed, or scaled down. So, as a self-employed or contract technology professional, what can you do to place yourself at the forefront of the comeback?
1. Stay active and have a routine
A disciplined regime has been proven to be a key contributor to mental well-being. At a time where stressors are abundant, an upbeat focused attitude is your biggest asset. Add in regular exercise and you’ve won half the battle already.
2. Review and polish your profiles
As the market picks up again, any recruiter will tell you that applicant numbers are going through the roof! In such a challenging market, your first impression is your CV and LinkedIn profile. Do your experience justice. Do you talk to your value proposition clearly? Do they present you as the ideal candidate for the role you’re about to apply for?
3. Reconnect with your network
Get out there and talk to your peers in the industry and you will find a couple of things: a.) you’re not alone in the challenges you face and b.) it’s not all doom and gloom out there. Technology is the solution to so many business problems and Covid-19 has not made those problems go away. Being in touch with the right people might just open the doors to your next engagement!
4. Upskill yourself
The technology sector is driven by change like no other! This means there is no shortage of learning opportunities out there. There are new technologies, methodologies and standards being released regularly, so gaining an understanding of these provides additional strength to your profile and professional offering.
5. Break the mould
The current environment lends itself to engaging in activities that add value to yourself and the community. Engaging in professional groups and community projects can help generate value whilst contributing to the greater good. Teaching or coaching others is also a great use of your time!
6. Prepare for your next challenge
The future is looking bright and all indicators point to an economic recovery, so there is a good chance you’ll soon be taking on another engagement and be fully utilised. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set your affairs in order now. Meet your accountant and/or lawyer to determine a financial plan, compliance obligations and other trading requirements to ensure you’re in the best shape going forward.
Despite the uncertainty of the past few months, the good news is – programmes of work (and contract opportunities) have already started to re-emerge in the tech space. What are your thoughts on New Zealand’s tech contracting market, and where we are heading? I’d love to hear your thoughts!