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Talking technology and the third sector
Odgers Interim continues to attract market leading consultants from across the industry, which enables us to offer our clients unrivalled access to a wealth of interim talent. Here, Paul Wright, consultant within our technology sector, and Louise Beales who leads our third sector practice, discuss the demand for commercially minded individuals with an eye for regulation and detail.
Throughout Paul's experience within the sector he has witnessed a change in the type of candidates that are in demand in the technology industry: “Technology continues to have a major impact on the workplace and processes, particularly given the digital landscape. My accountancy background has afforded me key insights when working with fin-techs, digital start-ups and commercial organisations. The perception that technology teams are hidden away in the background couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology companies are at the forefront of product development and interfacing with clients. It’s a sector that moves incredibly fast, so possessing commercial edge, operating at pace and speaking the business language are essential skills for interim managers.”
Already working with senior executives across all functions for organisations in the charity, arts, culture and heritage sectors, Louise sees this demand for commercially minded talent: “Charities need to reduce costs and work smarter. Consequently, the third sector is looking for visionary individuals who will enable organisations to make a step change.”
Regulation and detail
Having run his own financial technology search business, Paul is familiar with the needs of modern business: “Cyber security used to have quite a narrow meaning, but it’s ever expanding, especially due to high profile leaks which have damaged corporate reputations. IT Security vendors have proliferated as the pressure on compliancy with regulation has grown globally. This applies not just in banking but also greater traceability throughout supply chains in manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceuticals for example. Experts are needed to help them meet expectations and legislation.”
This pressure is prevalent in the third sector too, Louise comments: “The voluntary sector has gone through a turbulent period of late, and the Government has responded with the Charities Act this year. With the act’s main provisions to strengthen the powers of the Charity Commission to intervene in cases of misconduct, abuse or extremism on the part of charity leaders, there is increasing need for organisations to tighten up.”
Louise believes working closely with government is crucial: “Charities need to be at the negotiating table, and individuals with a background in lobbying will be increasingly influential, particularly as charities need to be smarter with their revenue. Interim managers with acquisition experience may also be in demand, as Government funding continues to be uncertain, mergers may be on the horizon and these will need to be carefully managed.”
Paul draws some parallels when working with public sector clients: “The public sector is under increasing pressure to be more efficient digitised and secure. People often forget the significant amount of data public sector organisations hold – this data needs to be protected in the same way as any other business, and on a tighter budget.”
Whilst there are challenges within both technology and third sector recruitment, there are undeniably opportunities contends Louise: “The candidates I work with have a real passion for social responsibility and justice. There is a genuine desire to help transform the lives of others and with the ever-increasing financial challenges, clients are under immense pressure to look beyond the next five years and ensure sustainability of their services. Transformation is a must. As such, it’s a very dynamic space to work in and I feel privileged to be supporting such a diverse range of organisations within this practice area.”
Paul adds: “Transformation at pace is key in the technology sector this year, whether it be cyber security or cloud infrastructure change, digital transformation or extracting greater business intelligence from big data. Looking further ahead, with children now being taught code at school, technology is set to become an even more diverse and interesting space, as technology embeds itself further and further into the fabric of our lives. Change in technology is the new normal.”