Friday, August 10, 2012

Cloudy outlook for jobs?

I recently came across a report from the London School of Economics about the impact of Cloud based applications on employment (you can read it here ). It’s no surprise that the report forsees growing numbers of jobs because of the cloud, but there is a bit of sting in the tail.
Firstly job growth is reckoned to be twice as fast in the US as in Europe and in the short term comes from the staff needed to set up and run the data centres that the cloud applications reside on. In the longer term job growth comes from formation of new companies providing software as a service. Larger businesses, the report envisages, will retrain “surplus” IT staff.

So far so good and this is the pretty much the new cloud orthodoxy. There are some nagging doubts though. For a start with a prospect of long term financial constraint can you really see the “surplus” IT staff, many of whom are already contractors, being retrained or isn’t more likely they’ll be looking for new jobs?

As far as the growth of new small businesses, those of us who have been around long enough will remember the dotcom bubble as people with great ideas saw the nominal value of their companies shoot through the roof only to turn over and fail when it came time to deliver.

Whilst the growth of cloud services seems inevitable, companies will need to be sure that they plan the migration and look at the contingencies before betting everything on the latest application. Unlike the dotcom explosion, it’s not just the jobs in the start-up that are at risk.

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