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Permanent employees ranked as the main driver of agility in tech firms, not artificial intelligence

New report reveals 91 percent of companies think strong talent over technology are the keys to start-up success

Growing tech businesses are still far more focused on recruitment of permanent resources than they are on either short-term or gig economy type recruitment or on turning to artificial intelligence (AI) or other software resources, according to a new report on business agility from specialist technology law firm Boyes Turner.

The report, titled “Building agile businesses in a changing world, delves into what agility is for tech firms and why it’s important to the growth of their business. The report includes a deeper dive into insights on talent within a firm, international growth, and the impact of workspace on agility.

Additional findings from the report revealed that:

  • 62% of firms say being able to adapt and change to market conditions is the definition of agility.
  • 91% of firms say change-ready people were most important to growing an agile business, while only 9% say AI or other technologies are more important.
  • 62% of firms say they either predominately or exclusively recruit long-term, permanent employees, with only 4% saying they favour short-term resources and contractors – none are exclusively turning to this type of short-term resourcing.
  • 49% of firms say they see no benefit from the gig economy, and 47% see some benefit, but only 4% say their firm benefits greatly from it.
  • Three fifths of employers (60%) also say they’re investing in training and coaching their existing workforce to maximise agility and resilience to change.

Mark Blunden, Partner and Head of the Commercial and Technology Group at Boyes Turner, said:

The gig economy and AI capture the public imagination, but our report shows businesses still value recruiting, retaining and developing long-term employees and training and developing them in preference to more transient types of employment types or technology and AI solutions. Agility is critical in today’s fast moving, ever changing world – but businesses tell us that agility comes from having a loyal and change-ready workforce, not turning to the gig economy or technology as a quick fix.”

Despite this vote of confidence in long-term employees to drive growth, firms do face constraints on agility caused by both their workforce and their workspace:

  • Only 35% of companies say workforce and workspace go hand-in-hand in supporting agility.
  • 30% of companies say their office space is a constraint on the agility of the business.
  • 35% say flexibility of employees and their capability to handle change is a greater constraint on agility than the physical workspace.

Mark Blunden added:

“The vast majority of fast-growing firms are based in leasehold properties. In our experience, though, far too many assume leasing office space is as simple as moving into your first shared flat. In reality, there are many inflexible contractual rules that can make your office more of a straight jacket than a launchpad. A flexible workforce needs an adaptable working environment to deliver on its growth potential.”

The full report, “Tech be nimble, tech be quick, tech don’t forget the legal bit: Building agile businesses in a changing world” is available to download at www.techbequick.co.uk