If you forced me to choose one word to sum up 2018, I would pick the word “Wow!” The last twelve months have been a whirlwind of activity for the BlueSky team, the economy and most importantly, for our clients.

There were several things that drove and amplified the 2018 “Wow!” factor. A positive economic backdrop, created by the tax cut rolled out a year ago, was the biggest influencer. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, it’s clear that the tax cut led to a big increase in corporate spending, mostly in the form of share buybacks and M&As.

The net result of that activity? A big increase in hiring. This is evidenced by the fact that in September of 2018, the unemployment rate hit 3.7%, a low not seen since 1969. With those numbers, competition for skilled talent in the general hiring market is heating up.

According to ManpowerGroup, 46% of companies are finding it hard to get the skilled workers they need. The real estate and construction sectors have seen very healthy growth over the last year and hiring in the education and the health services arenas continues to grow at a rapid pace. Many other sectors are experiencing the same type of pressure to add to their skilled headcount. With all that activity it’s no wonder that hiring managers are on a mission to fill open roles. But if you really need a set of heavy-duty hiring challenges, look no further than the tech industry.

It’s often said that history is cyclical. And if you look at the technology transformation that began in the late 1990s, you’ll notice a pattern. About every 3 to 4 years, simultaneous advances in technology converge and we enter a period of tremendous change. In the last year, we’ve seen amazing growth in the areas of cloud computing, AI, RPA, data science, Big Data analytics and IoT. The proliferation of mobile technology, the digitization of business processes and the “consumerization” of the B2B market are just a few of the digital trends that are accelerating the pace of technical change. And fueling the frenetic pace of hiring in the tech industry.

We see 2019 as the start of a new, intense cycle of change that will be fueled by the transformative technologies that have been such a big part of making 2018 a “Wow!” year. While that change will be driven by the technology sector, organizations from every industry will also be heavily focused on change management as they begin to integrate this new technical magic into their own IT infrastructure. That means the “War for Talent” will not only continue through 2019, it will likely escalate as the competition for top-tier tech talent picks up momentum and spreads across multiple industries.

The next 12 months will be an exciting time for everyone. While we don’t see an end to the volatility in the stock market or the drama in politics, the good news is that we don’t see an end, or even a slow-down, in hiring either. Now, more than ever, it’s important to find a partner that can help you navigate the dynamic, technology-focused world in which we all work. The team at BlueSky is excited to roll-up our sleeves and do just that on behalf of our clients in 2019 and we wish you the best of luck in the coming year.

Cheers to a great 2019!

Jeff Stout

President, BlueSky

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, we’ve updated our website. Aim your browser at BlueSkyPSG.com and stop by to have a look. If you’re struggling with a new hire or need interim consulting services, you can take this shortcut to the Our Services section on our new site. We’re ready to help in any way we can.