Tech executive survey looks at the state of the sector amid the pandemic

About two-thirds of leaders believe that companies will begin to "get back on track by August." The report also shows a slight uptick in business in recent weeks.

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Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the modern plague continues to take its toll on populations and economies around the globe. To manage the crisis and protect local healthcare systems, various states and have since initiated lockdown in orders and restrictions on business operations. This has resulted in a wave of layoffs and furloughs. As of last week, more than 36 million Americans have now filed for unemployment benefits. Early economic forecasts from the United Nations painted a rather grim picture, estimating that coronavirus could rob the global economy of up to $2 trillion.

In recent weeks, most states have started to lift lockdown measures allowing businesses to continue a surreal new normal of day-to-day operations amid the pandemic. A new CompTIA online survey of more than 200 associated member communities and its Advisory Council takes a look at the direct economic impact of the coronavirus on the tech sector. The survey includes respondent information recorded between April 27 through May 1. Below, we've curated a recap of the more illustrative key findings.

Balancing client needs and the long-term outlook

Overall, technology executives remain largely optimistic about the long-term economic trajectory of the sector with about two-thirds of respondents believing that businesses will begin to "get back on track by August." The report also illustrates a slight uptick in business in recent weeks. Last month, 83% of respondents received inquiries from new customers, these numbers are up 7% from March.

"While no wants to see any business struggle, it is encouraging to see that the great majority of companies in the business of technology have shown the resilience to maintain a solid level of activity during this uncertain time," said Nancy Hammervik, CompTIA's executive vice president for industry relations.

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Many companies have been in communication with clients about restructuring current contracts or the terms of these payments. More than half (58%) of respondents noted experiencing such restructuring requests. In general, customer postponements or entire cancellations affected more than half (58%) of the respondents surveyed in April, these numbers were up 15% from March.

Hiring, layoffs, and training

The economic uncertainty and the added lockdown measures have complicated hiring and staffing in the interim. More than 40% of respondents were taking a "wait and see" stance on staffing entering May, without making any staffing changes at the time. Although some executives did report increasing workforces during this time. Among these companies, 13% added additional staff to assist with needs related to telecommuting, cybersecurity, and "other essential services."

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Approximately 70% of respondents were actively training some members of their staff or were preparing to incorporate additional training within the next two months. For about one-in-three of these companies, this training is focused on aiding employees with soft skills as well as "business skills" such as problem-solving and communication.

As for new positions, nearly one-third of respondents said they had delayed interviews and general recruitment. More than 20% of respondents reported reduced hours for their staff, including both part- and full-time employees. An additional 18% of respondents reported laying off suspending work for contractors. Nearly one-in-five (17%) reported laying off employees.

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