Tag Archives: Data

Green shoots of recovery for UK tech jobs market

The UK technology labour market is showing the green shoots of recovery after a torrid 12 months which saw the number of job vacancies plummet, a new report says.

Vacancies in the IT sector plunged more than 40 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous 12 months, as employers across the country tightened their belts amid uncertain economic conditions and rising interest rates during late 2021 and 2022 as the pandemic ended, the analysis shows.

However, in the first three months of 2024 there were 18,551 IT vacancies, a rise of nearly 16 per cent compared with the last three months of 2023 and 1.4 per cent up on the monthly average in 2023, when the market was significantly stronger.

The report on UK tech employment trends in the first quarter of 2024 has been published by Manchester-headquartered recruitment marketplace Hiring Hub. It is based on research by Vacancysoft, a provider of labour market data and analytics.

Information used to compile the report was gathered from the career centres of company websites and relates to unique job postings only, not duplicated ones.

Hiring Hub founder Simon Swan said: “Last year’s job market slowdown, which saw over a 40 per cent reduction in IT and tech jobs from the peak of 2022, clearly left its scars.

“But there is good news to share: the green shoots of a mild recovery were visible in the first quarter of 2024, leaving me cautiously optimistic about the next few months as employers are clearly adapting to higher interest rates, tighter financial conditions and seismic technological shifts catalysed by AI.

“We definitely felt this temperature change at Hiring Hub, with March 2024 the best month for job uploads on our recruiter marketplace this year. While there’s still a degree of uncertainty around the economy causing obvious headwinds, the jobs outlook is gently improving and the sentiment should be one of cautious optimism after a tough second half of 2023.”

He added: “Driving the rebound in IT jobs is a thawing of venture capital investment, as funders that were sat on the sidelines last year with dry powder to deploy seek high-quality start-ups and scale-ups whose growth they can fuel – jobs typically coming a few months downstream of each deal.”

London, which was particularly hard hit in 2023 as IT jobs there plummeted by more than 50 per cent, is the main beneficiary of increased VC activity, says the report. The capital and the south east combined accounted for more than 52 per cent of all IT and tech roles between January and March this year.

Nationally, there were more than 6,000 tech vacancies in February and March and only just less than that in January. March was the strongest month since August 2023.

The technology, media and telecoms sector accounted for 48 per cent of IT vacancies in the first three months of this year, followed by financial services on 22.7 per cent and consumer goods and services on 8.5 per cent.

The report says the trend of more jobs specialising in data has continued into 2024, as businesses look to integrate and exploit the opportunities which AI presents. This has meant the importance of data is more prevalent, leading to more jobs in this niche area.

Skills in greatest demand are IT development and engineering, IT management, infrastructure and support.

James Chaplin, chief executive of Vacancysoft, said: “After the downturn in 2023, the signs are positive. As economic conditions pick up, so the IT jobs market has been taking shape, with London in particular being the biggest beneficiary.

“A big part of the uplift can be attributed to the pick-up in VC funding. If VC and private equity funding are indicative of where the market is going next, we believe that technology firms specialising in climate and ecology will lead the way. Funding into these businesses is now at record levels.”

Hiring Hub, which is backed by Manchester-based private equity house investor MonacoSol, connects employers with recruitment agencies to help them find quality candidates quickly.

Over 50% of SMEs say resisting bribery and corruption results in lost business opportunities

  • New research shows 59% of SMEs believe that standing up to bribery and corruption will result in lost business opportunities.
  • However, 67% of UK respondents agree a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence.
  • 68% of UK respondents say stringent anti-corruption guidelines increase the likelihood of large contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

A new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Bribery and corruption: The hidden social evil on your doorstep, delves into the true extent of how bribery and corruption impact small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced transparency and robust regulatory frameworks.

 

The research shows a high prevalence and deep concern about the damaging impact of bribery and corruption on SMEs, with more than half (59%) of SMEs and their advisers believing that standing up to bribery and corruption will cost them business trade or opportunities. The UK appeared more relaxed, with 46% thinking taking a stand would cost them.

 

Yet the survey also reveals a strong understanding of the benefits of standing up to bribery and corruption. 77% of global respondents, and 67% of UK respondents, agree that having a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence in their business. Furthermore, 68% globally and 68% in the UK say it increases their chances of getting lucrative contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

Jason Piper, ACCA’s head of tax and business law, said: “Corruption is a poison; it distorts markets, stunts economic growth, and deters investment.

 

“Many very small businesses don’t have the bargaining power to refuse when small bribes are demanded of them. Entrepreneurs have to choose between paying the bribe or losing the business – and often that is no choice at all for someone trying to support a family.

 

“Our report aims to arm businesses and regulators with the necessary insights and tools to root out corruption and foster an environment of transparency and trust. This could include the use of the latest digital tools. Just as technology is being used by criminals, so regulators and enforcement agencies should embrace it in the battle to detect, prevent and respond to them.”

 

Drawing from a broad spectrum of global data, expert opinions, and real-world case studies, the report explores the multifaceted impacts of corrupt practices on SMEs and economic development. It highlights the severe consequences that businesses can face, including legal penalties and damage to their reputations.

 

The report also considers the effectiveness of current anti-corruption laws and policies across different countries, suggesting that while some progress has been made, much remains to be done to align international efforts.

 

Piper added: “As global markets become increasingly interconnected, the imperative for accountability and ethical business practices becomes more pronounced.”

 

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added: “The threat of bribery and corruption is something that businesses across Wales face on a daily basis. The fact our members are reporting improved prosperity through having anti-corruption policies in place is a good start, but there is more we can do to help them moving forward. How best to address modern-day corruption can be confusing, but we hope our latest report will provide some clear advice on how members can identify and prevent such activity.”

 

ACCA hopes this report will serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging entities across all sectors to evaluate their practices and align with the best standards of business conduct. The report is recommended for business leaders, policymakers, and regulatory bodies worldwide committed to uprooting corruption and fostering a fairer business environment.

 

The full report can be accessed here.

 

Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

Human Data Sciences founder nominated for prestigious recognition award

HUMAN Data Sciences founder Professor Craig Currie has been shortlisted for the prestigious Data Saves Lives national award.

Sponsored by Health Data Research UK (HDRUK), the award recognises individuals for leveraging data to improve patient care, advance medical knowledge, and enhance health outcomes, highlighting the profound potential of data in saving and enhancing lives.

The Data Saves Lives award is part of Cambridge Spark’s Digital & AI Excellence Awards which celebrates critical digital transformation skills in the era of AI, and recognises the pioneers who have harnessed the power of digital and AI as catalysts for change. The winners recognised at a ceremony later this month (March).

The nomination is due to his innovative approach to healthcare analytics and in recognition of the significant impact of the groundbreaking healthcare analytical platform, Livingstone®.

Livingstone®, developed by Human Data Sciences, is a cutting-edge platform designed to empower users of real-world healthcare research by delivering instant analysis that would have otherwise taken months, or years, to deliver.

The platform utilises data science and artificial intelligence methods to analyse vast amounts of healthcare data, which then enables practitioners to make informed decisions, predict health trends, and provide proactive care.

This health analytics engine, being the first of its kind, has been instrumental in identifying at-risk populations, identifying optimised treatments, and ultimately, enhancing the quality of life and life expectancy for countless individuals.

Commenting on the recognition, Rhiannon Thomason, CEO of Human Data Sciences, said: “The nomination for the ‘Data Saves Lives’ award is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of our talented team. Livingstone was born out of a commitment to revolutionise healthcare outcomes through the power of data. Being recognised on this platform underscores the impact our work has had and will continue to have in saving lives, and improving health outcomes.”

Professor Currie, Chief Scientific Officer of Human Data Sciences, added: “We are deeply committed to advancing healthcare through innovation. This nomination highlights the potential of data-driven solutions in addressing some of the most pressing challenges in healthcare today.

“Looking forward, Human Data Sciences remains dedicated to its mission of transforming healthcare through data science and technology. We look forward to sharing our achievements and future plans with peers, industry leaders, and the wider community at the award ceremony.”

Number of newly incorporated UK businesses sees uptick in 2022, despite challenging economy

Analysis of data from Companies House reveals 774,420 new businesses registered last year, up 3.5% from 2021. The number of new UK businesses incorporated in the full year of 2022 (1 January – 31 December) was also 19% higher than five years previously, according to analysis of Companies House data by B2B PR agency, Definition.

However, the data also suggests a significant slowdown in this growth rate over the last two years, most likely as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and an uncertain economic environment.

In 2020, there were 13% more businesses registered than the previous year, compared to just a 3.5% increase between 2021 and 2022. In fact, 2021 was the only time during the five-year period in which the number of newly incorporated businesses was lower than in the previous year.

Online retail remained the most commonly registered type of business last year, with the annual number being 225% higher than in 2018. The data further reveals that online retail leapt from ninth most popular category in 2019 to reach the top spot in 2020, replacing management consultancy.

The top ten most popular types of business incorporated in 2022 were:

1. Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet
2. Buying and selling of own real estate
3. Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate
4. Management consultancy activities other than financial management
5. Freight transport by road
6. Other service activities n.e.c.
7. Information technology consultancy activities
8. Other retail sale not in stores, stalls or markets
9. Other business support service activities n.e.c.
10. Take-away food shops and mobile food stands

Matthew Robinson, client services director, Definition, commented: “Our analysis of this Companies House data suggests that, despite seismic socio-economic events, the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit remains strong as, over the past five years, there has been a steady increase in the number of new companies established annually.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, 2020 stands out as a very significant year – with the number of new online retail businesses established being more than double that of the previous year. This alone contributed massively to new business activity at the height of the pandemic. It remains to date the most popular type of business venture – and it’s hard to see that changing any time soon.”

More than half of businesses at risk of facing hefty fines for breaching GDPR requirements, warn researchers

Confusion over Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) is leaving businesses at risk of receiving hefty fines from the Information Commissioners’ Office for breaching GDPR requirements, running to 10s of 1000s of pounds, according to new research commissioned by data company fifty-five.

The survey of over 500 marketers revealed the majority (54%) haven’t set up a Consent Management Platform (CMP), which is critical for managing consent in line with legal requirements. 47 per cent say they do not need one, potentially putting their business at risk if they are not otherwise meeting the complex needs.

CMPs ensure consumers give consent for brands to store and use their data for tracking and marketing purposes. Brands cannot store data or market to customers if they haven’t provided a correctly administered pop up (or privacy notice), which requires active consent. However, the study highlights widespread confusion about this mainstay of the increasingly privacy-first internet. Of those surveyed who have a CMP in place, 37 per cent agreed the complexity of regulations and policies is confusing.

More than a quarter of all marketing managers surveyed (27%) admit they are not sure who was responsible for its implementation. 31 per cent think senior leadership are responsible and only 16 per cent thought it fell to the marketing department, despite marketers having most use for the information collected. Six per cent said the legal team is responsible, focusing on the compliance elements of a CMP.

For those who hadn’t implemented a consent management platform (CMP) there seemed to be a degree of potentially misplaced confidence about their reasons for not doing so. Nearly half (47%) said their business didn’t think it was necessary and 29 per cent were confident their business was compliant as it was.

According to Richard Wheaton, Managing Director at fifty-five: “We are in a new era for digital marketing and it is imperative that marketers act to fully ensure compliance with the law. Our study shows a majority of businesses have failed to implement one and this is concerning. A large part of the confusion stems from not understanding who has primary responsibility. However, confusion about complexity is not an excuse. Marketers as the brand communication owners must ensure they comply.”

Alongside widespread confusion, marketers are concerned about the impact implementing an CMP could have on their results and reporting. Of those who have implemented CMP, nearly three in 10 (28%) said it had impacted marketing’s ability to win customers, increasing to 35 per cent of large businesses. Meanwhile 17 per cent admitted they were confused about what to do in respect to data collection for website visitors.

With 43 per cent reporting that their customers were happy they had implemented a CMP, in comparison to only 15 per cent said they were unhappy with the inconvenience of pop-ups and privacy notices. Brands that provide a better privacy experience will benefit from increased trust and enhanced customer loyalty, which is crucial in a deteriorating economy, while a recent study* found that 43% of consumers said they would switch from their preferred brand to a second-choice brand if the latter provided a good privacy experience.

On the back of these findings fifty-five is warning brands that they must adapt to the new era to remain relevant for privacy-concerned consumers. Those that don’t risk going out of business in a tougher economic climate.

Richard Wheaton continued: “A CMP correctly installed need not be overly onerous and it is crucial to work with the right experts to ensure continued consumer trust and compliant data gathering. Implementing a CMP effectively can minimise the impact on marketing and build more content-driven and profitable relationships with more privacy-focused consumers.”

Confluent Appoints Richard Jones as Vice President of Enterprise Sales, Northern EMEA

Confluent, Inc. (NASDAQ:CFLT), the data streaming platform to set data in motion, today announced the appointment of Richard Jones as Vice President of Enterprise Sales, Northern EMEA.

Jones brings 17 years of experience in leadership and regional sales roles at fast-growth technology companies across EMEA. He will use this to spearhead Confluent’s growth in Northern EMEA, with a focus on empowering his team to strengthen relationships with customers and ensure they are maximising opportunities for leveraging data in motion.

Jones joins Confluent from Oracle, where he was Vice President of Sales for Utilities in EMEA. Prior to that, Jones held the role of Head of Global Sales for Astute Solutions, a SaaS software provider in the Customer Experience market. Under his leadership, revenues more than tripled, leading to a successful sale of the business.

Richard Timperlake, Senior Vice President of EMEA, Confluent, comments: “Richard brings a huge amount of experience to the business, including deep knowledge of SaaS, a focus on customer love, and a clear vision for developing our people. He will make an exceptional addition to the team at a time when data streaming has never been more important to today’s infrastructures.”

Jones comments: “I’m delighted to be joining the EMEA team at an incredibly exciting time in Confluent’s hyper-growth trajectory, as more and more organisations recognise data streaming to be a business-critical asset. I’ll be working closely with a really talented team to build on their transformative work with companies thus far, with a view to ensuring each and every one of our customers thrive in this new data streaming era.”

Prior to his roles at Oracle and Astute Solutions, Jones held a number of Senior Leadership roles with Ventyx ABB.

Disney first interactive email wordsearch for Encanto campaign

Disney is sending its first ever interactive word search email this week in celebration of its latest hit, Encanto. Armadillo, the Bristol-based CRM agency, created the in-email word search. Previous interactive email examples from Armadillo and Disney include quizzes, games, and unique carousels – word searches never seen in Disney emails before now.  

With the knowledge that Disney fans enjoy taking part in quizzes, polls and other ways to show they know the films inside out, users are asked if they have a ‘gift for word searches’ and upon completion of the word search, are warmly welcomed into the magical family Madrigal. Armadillo achieved interactivity in email using pure HTML and CSS. Inputs, labels and animation are the key elements to making this work.  

The word searches were achieved using a table-based grid to display the content. All the correct letters in the table could be clicked on turning the cell grey. Once all correct letters for the word are selected the whole word is then highlighted. At the same time, a strike-through and highlight appears on the question. This provided a great user experience as it’s clear which questions have already been answered. 

Steve Brailey, Lead Developer at Armadillo says: “we wanted to try something new that we haven’t seen before in an email; something that would provide an engaging and fun experience for the recipient. I’ve been prototyping a few ideas in this vein recently, and it not only worked really well, but the client – and now their audience – really reacted to the feeling of magic it brought.” 

Rob Pellow, Innovation Director at Armadillo comments: “Interactivity in email is a huge opportunity to reduce the engagement barriers with your audience. Whether that’s allowing them to more easily explore your product, better understand your content, or just giving them something fun to play with. It also allows you to get a better picture of what content they find valuable or interesting. Our Development team at Armadillo don’t believe in “can’t” when it comes to email and are constantly proving that there are no real limits to what is achievable within this channel.” 

Armadillo is able to track the engagement by using tracking pixels that get activated when a letter is selected, and when all correct words have been found. 

ResTech company Walr creates CIO role following ISO 27001 accreditation

Walr, the ResTech company behind the data creation platform, today announces the appointment of Yaron Brenman as CIO. The announcement follows the company’s internationally recognised ISO 27001 accreditation for information security management, also secured this week.  

With more than 20 years in the insights industry, Yaron began his career at Confirmit (now Forsta), before moving into numerous leadership roles at other well-regarded research firms.  

Previously Walr’s Head of Americas, Brenman’s new role as CIO demonstrates the company’s desire to put quality front and centre. Combining his commercial expertise, deep industry knowledge and eye for the small print, Yaron will be responsible for making sure the company scales quickly and sustainably, without compromising on data security.  

This milestone, alongside the ISO 27001 accreditation, signals to customers that their data is being looked after. 

Lewis Reeves, Walr Founder and CEO, comments, “This represents a fantastic step forward for the business. As we scale quickly it’s important that we build an extremely secure data company that delivers the highest level of trust and confidence for our customers. Yaron’s industry experience, understanding of technology and attention to detail brings significant value to the business.” 

Brenman adds, “Data sits at the very heart of our company. We are dedicated to helping our customers and team curate insights with simplicity, from the secure confines of the Walr Platform. Our ISO 27001 certification proves our commitment to constantly scrutinise our technology, so it is held to the highest security standards. I’m looking forward to improving and refining our processes further as we continue on this trajectory of growth.” 

Evri Appoints Chief Data Officer

Evri, formerly Hermes, has appointed a Chief Data Officer, a new role designed to support the company’s continuing growth and ensure that it is leveraging its data assets to maximise operational and delivery performance.

Harvinder Atwal joins the business from MoneySuperMarket where he was Chief Data Scientist and was responsible for integrating advanced analytics and machine learning to deliver a sophisticated and personalised customer experience. Prior to this he worked for Dunnhumby where he was Insight Director for the Tesco Clubcard Development. In his new role Harvinder will be focusing on developing a best practice data strategy for the business, setting a vision for data for the next 3-5 years. This will include ensuring the business continues to operate to the highest standard of data compliance and security.

Commenting in his new role, Harvinder said: “I was attracted to this role because of the scale of the business, its strong growth trajectory and the dynamism of the sector. My background is in operational research and using data algorithms to improve performance and I am excited to be using my skills to support Evri on its ongoing Transformation journey.”

Fash Sawyerr, Chief Transformations Officer at Evri said: “This is a key area of our business and it’s important that we have the right calibre of person in place. Harvinder is talented and experienced and we are confident will be a great asset to our team.”

“Everything will still blow up in your face despite Google cookies delay,” warns Braidr data boss

Marketing chiefs must act now or sleepwalk into a cookieless nightmare

Marketing leaders have been putting the financial futures of their businesses at risk by failing to grasp the importance of dealing with the consequences of a future without cookies.

Despite Google last week confirming a surprise delay until 2024 in ditching 3rd party cookies, marketers are being warned that they must get their houses in order, now, or businesses will suffer financially.

Data collected by data intelligence firm, Braidr, indicates that fewer than 1% (0.83%) of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) in the US – and even less in the UK (0.25%) – have been engaging in crucial discussions about the cookieless future and the significant impact the shift will have on their businesses.

Braidr has analysed the Twitter profiles of more than 15,000 CMOs and similar professional roles across the UK and US over the past 12 weeks.

Far from engaging in what is perhaps the most significant digital shift since the introduction of mobile technology, marketing leaders are distracted by the role of AI in business. 

The vast majority are failing to discuss the impact that the loss of 3rd party cookies and increased privacy demands will have on marketing – and company finances, if not mitigated imminently.

Dora Moldovan, co-founder and managing director of Braidr, said: “It’s mind-boggling, and concerning, in equal measure that virtually no-one has been paying attention to the biggest online shift in front of us.

“Despite Google announcing a short delay, the next e-generation is looming incredibly fast, where everything that we’ve learned over the past 20 years, and the tools we know are going to disappear, yet CMOs are talking mostly about  AI, the Metaverse and Elon Musk. 

“While all these topics are exciting and sometimes entertaining, none of them will have such an immediate impact on the bottom line as the sunset of 3rd party cookies.”

As a leading expert in the cookieless future and data science, Moldovan’s advice to CMOs and marketing leaders the world over is stark:  

“You need to be asking yourself a crucial question today, and not tomorrow. Are you frickin’ data ready? Are you seriously data ready for everything that will blow up in your face in 2024? Because it will!”

Since Apple announced changes that make Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFAs) significantly less valuable than before, marketers have seen changes to their marketing costs and outcomes affected (especially on FB ads) and this is set to amplify once Google removes 3rd party cookies from its Chrome browser. 

In addition, Meta last week  announced its first ever decline in revenues, blamed partially on Apple’s privacy changes – which make it harder for Meta to harvest user data for its targeting algorithms.

This is hurting not only advertisers but also the platforms themselves. The advice given by the likes of Google and Facebook is to turn to measurement, attribution, and activation of 1st party data.

Yet Braidr’s study of Twitter discussions among senior marketers shows that few are giving the subject the consideration it requires, with 20% of UK CMOs engaged in discussions about business strategy, including digital transformation (14% in the US). 

Data issues, such as business transformation, feature in 15% of marketers’ Twitter conversations, with a similar number in the UK discussing Elon Musk (11% in US). 

Facebook, Metaverse, Web3 including blockchain, make up another 14% of their conversations. 

“Failing to deal with the future will hit businesses’ bottom lines. They will pay over the odds for media-buying to find the same customers which they had up to now,” adds Moldovan.

“For smaller brands trying to cut it in the world, it’s going to be prohibitively expensive because targeting will be extremely broad, and it will be difficult to achieve segmented targeting, reaching the customers they really want.”

Braidr says the answer lies with data: from the way businesses approach tracking (moving towards server-side and API based) to implementing Google Ads Enhanced Conversions and FaceBook’s CAPI. 

Braidr points marketing leaders to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or alternative products that are able to collect data without full reliance on cookies, as well as attribution and marketing mix models and the holy grail of the cookieless future – 1st party data activation.

Marketers’ focus should shift to understanding as much as possible about their customers: their behaviours (online & offline), their attitudes and beliefs outside their brand’s touchpoints, and their social presence/fingerprint.

London-based Braidr, part of the Tomorrow Group, launched last year and has won some big name customers. The agency acts as an outsourced ‘chief data officer’ for customers, and is the all-important bridge between non-data expert IT and marketing teams.

Moldovan concludes: “The cookieless future is here and it becomes imperative to know everything about your customers. Failing to know will cost your business dearly. If you want help preparing for your data future, Braidr is here to do just that.