Unlike many segments of the economy that have succumbed relentlessly to the pandemic, the computer science (TI) is on an upward trajectory. While the economy as a whole stagnated, with a decline of 0.1% in the second quarter, the activity of information and communication, which includes the computer sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), grew by 5.6% compared to the first quarter, underlines the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
In June, computer services activity was 27.8% above pre-pandemic levels, with positive effects on job creation. In the first half, 107,000 jobs were created in the region, including telecommunications services, according to Brasscom, an industry trade association.
Disaggregated data from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) August Services Survey, obtained by Broadcast/Estadão, indicate the continuation of the positive scenario: companies have started spending more on technology, increasing demand .
The telecommunications and information technology sub-sector reached August with the highest level of confidence among all activities in the FGV’s Services Confidence Index (CSI), at 106.0 points, higher than the general result of 99.3 points. The employment forecast indicator, one of the components of the ICS, is also higher in the breakdown of the telecommunications and information technology sub-sector, at 117.5 points on a scale of 1 to 200.
Computer services are leading the movement, ahead of telecommunications, according to Rodolpho Tobler, head of the FGV Services survey. Since October of last year, more entrepreneurs are anticipating new hires than layoffs in this sub-sector. “This segment has the most confidence in the service industry and has given a signal that it can improve further in the coming months,” Tobler says.
For pundits and executives, the pandemic accelerated a movement that had preceded it. In the first two decades of the century, big tech – such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple – trampled on traditional conglomerates – such as the oil companies Exxon and Shell and the supermarket chain Walmart – in the ranking of the biggest companies. most valuable in the world. world, marking the rise of the technology sector in the economy.
According to Sérgio Gallindo, president of Brasscom, although nobody has “nothing to celebrate with the pandemic”, the crisis has had effects “in tune with the digital age”, such as the encouragement of remote work, which has favored the communication tools already available. If Covid-19 had hit the world five years ago, perhaps “cellular networks wouldn’t be able” to accommodate these changes, Gallindo says. With the combination of a new corporate culture and the right technological conditions, some of the changes tend to be permanent.
“Companies operating in this segment end up benefiting from the emergence of new businesses, including the provision of video conferencing applications and cloud data storage,” says Rodrigo Lobo, head of the monthly services survey ( PMS) of the IBGE.
Before the pandemic, in December 2019, online meetings on the video conferencing platform Zoom had 10 million participants per day. In April 2020, the number rose to 300 million. In Brazil, the number of free users has increased 31 times, according to Alfredo Sestini, head of Zoom for Latin America. “From what I tell other companies and leaders, it’s a cultural change with the pandemic. The way of working, of thinking, of living will be different.”
Demand has also increased for business software, cybersecurity and digital marketing tools, and e-commerce applications and systems. Traditional in the development of management systems for retail, Totvs was already preparing to offer more services to its customers before the pandemic.
As the crisis took hold, it saw demand from businesses to digitize their operations increase, says company president Dennis Herszkowicz. In the second quarter, net sales were BRL 763 million, 22% higher than the same period in 2020. In the first half, the company, which has approximately 10,000 employees, hired 300 professionals to manage growth.
Locaweb has also hastened to diversify the service offer beyond the hosting of websites on the Internet, taking into account the demand of small and medium-sized merchants who are forced to bet on e-commerce. According to the president of the company, Fernando Cirne, the objective is to offer solutions allowing the client to create the entire e-commerce structure in a few days.
The executive believes that demand will continue to rise – even after hiring 425 employees in 2020, and another 494 this year, Locaweb has 246 vacancies, the company informs.
“E-commerce penetration in Brazil was 8%, very low compared to the United States and China,” Cirne says, adding that the race for the segment has saved many businesses from bankruptcy.
The pace of professional training does not meet demand
The information and communication technologies (ICT) macro-sector, which includes telecommunications services, the technological field of companies in other sectors and the equipment manufacturing industry) may employ less than other activities, such as civil construction, trade or services in general (bars, restaurants and beauty salons, among others), but has the prospect of opening up outlets in the years to come.
A 2019 study by Brasscom, an industry trade association, estimates that from this year to 2024 around 420,000 new jobs will be created in these activities, a simple average of 70,000 per year. But higher, domain-focused courses (such as systems analysis and computer engineering) train 46,000 students a year, encouraging companies to compete for top professionals.
“All senior leaders say they are no longer hiring because there are no talented professionals available. It’s not a shortage of staff, but it’s a stress,” explains the president of Brasscom, Sergio Gallindo.
According to the sector representative, the supply of professionals has apparently been provided by workers trained in other fields who seek courses and training to specialize in information technology. Several companies in the sector report investments in training. Locaweb, for example, will create a unit to deal with the file. “There are a lot of positions to be filled with a longer filling time than we would like”, specifies the president of Totvs, Dennis Herszkowicz.
According to calculations by Brasscom with official employment data controlled by the federal government, in May the average wage in the ICT sector was R$4,047 per month, twice the national average of R1,968 $.
Industry executives are demanding a general improvement in the country’s education system, with a focus on strengthening the technology-oriented curriculum, but for Brasscom’s Gallindo, it is possible to move forward with specific measures . University courses, for example, can adapt their curricula to the needs of companies, and a strengthening of higher education funding policies could reduce dropout upon graduation.
The information comes from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.