With an improving economic climate, a return of investor confidence and a positive outlook for growth, there is certainly a sense of optimism among organisations.
However, as companies continue to build on the growth that the sector has already experienced in the last twelve months, many are also preparing for change.
The pace of evolution and innovation taking place in the tech sector, and which is almost unique to the industry, has forced a number of technology firms to undergo organisational restructure this year, and I envisage many more doing the same.
What is driving this change? The prevalence of mobile technology and high speed broadband connectivity is changing the way that people connect, while technology innovation that has given rise to wearable technology and robotics is changing the way that people interact with the world around them.
As a result, we are seeing a shifting of purchasing power from corporates to the individual, with increasing reliance on user-experience and quality of service. For technology companies this presents new opportunities to engage with potential customers, enter new markets, and diversify.
However, it also creates a bigger demand for skills, and with the employment market strengthening all the time, technology companies will have to work hard to attract the talent they need to drive successful business transformation
Ongoing skill shortages in the UK will inevitably see a number of key roles being offshored or outsourced globally in the coming months, which means that employers will have to compete even harder to attract and retain those skills, in the face of increasing financial pressures.
Pay rises are not expected to increase significantly higher than the average this year, but one way that organisations can gain a competitive edge in the talent stakes is by engaging their employees with their benefits package, and here we expect to see the use of branding and total reward statements demonstrating greater return on investment.
Growing consumer use of IT is also being reflected in the greater use of flexible benefits by employers in the sector, with improved business efficiencies being achieved through the use of a single outsourced administration provider.
Cost control will be a key challenge for reward professionals in the technology sector, particularly in areas such as private healthcare coverage. Another emerging trend is towards prevention, with more healthcare screening, health and wellbeing initiatives and the introduction of ‘open referral’ all helping to reduce employer premiums.
This will be a challenging year for technology companies as they engage in the global war for talent that will enable them to innovate in a way that will drive up their share of the growing consumer market.
And with over a fifth of Technology companies looking to change benefit or service providers in order to secure that talent, 2014 will also be a busy year for the employee benefits industry.