Reports that the green shoots of a UK economic recovery are poking through are premature, according to IT chiefs.
Asked whether they can see signs of recovery in the wider economy, the latest silicon.com CIO Jury poll returned a resounding ‘no’ vote.
With CIOs from a range of sectors and industries responding to the poll – including retail, social care, recruitment, travel, media and the public sector – just one CIO among the 12-strong jury reckons recovery is now underway.
His view is not shared by the rest of the Jury, however. Ibukun Adebayo, IT director of social care organisation Turning Point, said: “The recession has wreaked havoc upon millions, and the tough conditions will continue for a while yet.”
Adebayo added that any businesses apparently seeing green shoots are likely to be those which have slashed overheads by reducing headcount and cutting “investment in human capital”.
“The [businesses] that will come good are those that haven’t thrown the baby out with the bath water, by removing their core competencies out of the business while slashing their headcount indiscriminately, with no clear strategy on how to retain the brains that will enable the green shoots to rapidly evolve, turning the company into a leaner but more profitable business,” Adebayo added.
IT chiefs are also of the view that any apparently positive signs seen now are not filtering down to the rest of the economy.
Mike Cope, IT director of Virgin Atlantic Airways, said: “Stock markets are up but [we’re] not seeing this in the real economy”, while Neil Harvey, IT director of Sindlesham Court, believes there is “nothing sustained” on the recovery front at present.
Meanwhile Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director for publisher Hachette Filipacchi, said the media industry is not expecting a return to rampant prosperity any time soon. “In media we expect the market to be tough for some time to come. And when it recovers, in our industry, it will not be at the levels of business previously seen,” he said.
Consumer confidence is also likely to be in the doldrums for a long time to come, according to Mark Beattie, CIO of waste management and recycling company LondonWaste, who added: “I think it’s very hard to see what consumers will do even when the shoots start to appear. Spend or save?”
This CIO Jury was:
- Ibukun Adebayo, IT director, Turning Point
- Mark Beattie, CIO, LondonWaste
- Pete Crowe, IT director, Fat Face
- Steve Clarke, systems & operations director, The TalkTalk Group
- Richard Storey, head of IT, Guys & St Thomas Hospital
- Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi
- Paul Haley, director of information technology, University of Aberdeen
- Mike Cope, IT director, Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Neil Harvey, IT director, Sindlesham Court
- Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
- Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
- Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
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