IT Industry News – February 2017

February 2017 saw very little M&A action. Nokia paid $371 million for Finnish telecom software company Comptel, as it reinvents itself, and Apple picked up an AI startup company RealFace.  Another company in the news, but for the wrong reasons was Samsung which is in the middle of a significant bribery scandal.

On the economic front there were a lot of positive indicators out of the US, including adding another 246,000 jobs. Canada also added 48,000 jobs in January which followed a good December in job creation. Around the world, the UK is starting to see some labour impacts from the Brexit decision as EU nationals are not applying for jobs they used to do. Brazil reached a record high in unemployment, in India hiring activity declined and in China there is expected to be a boom in hiring.

Perhaps more interesting this month than the M&A activity, or lack thereof, were some other tidbits of news. The Irish government have an Action Plan for Jobs that is ahead of plan as of 2016 and is looking to create 200,000 net new jobs by 2020. An Ipsos survey suggests that Canadians are spending more time on mobile apps than ever, which might explain why everyone you see walking along the street has their face buried in their phone! Another survey suggests that within the last year 60% of small businesses were the victims of cyberattack! Finally, another study suggests that global gender diversity is moving, albeit slowly, and at this rate it will take another 20 years to hit parity!

In this Issue:

> General Interest
> Company News
> Merger & Acquisition Activity
> Primary Sources


> GENERAL INTEREST

General

A Canadian Ipsos survey found that nearly 60% of Canadian small business owners and C-suite executives either suspect or know for certain they were the victims of an external cyberattack during the last year, with 50% of C-suite executives indicating that they know for certain that their company experienced a breach.

Canadians are spending more time on mobile apps than ever, even as global growth in mobile app use slows down. According to the latest numbers from Yahoo Inc. subsidiary Flurry, Canadian mobile app use grew by an average rate of 74% in 2016, far exceeding the global average of 11%.

As demand for engineering talent grows, employers will increasingly struggle to hang on to their best and brightest, according to the "Focus on Engineering" report released by Experis. 67% of engineers surveyed said they are likely to explore other job opportunities this year and 81% are confident they will land that new role. And while job hopping is on the rise, almost all the engineers, 96%, are happy with their career choice and have no plans to switch and 95% would recommend engineering to others.

A new study from executive search firm Egon Zehnder, ‘2016 Global Board Diversity Analysis’, shows that gender diversity is slowly progressing but at the current rate of progress, it will take 20 years to achieve gender parity.
The executive search firm’s bi-annual study, which examines board data for 1,491 of the world’s largest companies across 44 countries globally with market capitalization exceeding €6 billion, has been produced since 2004, making the 2016 analysis its most extensive to date.

Economy – Canada

The Canadian staffing index rose 4% in January from December and was up 6% when compared with January of 2016. The index, which measures staffing activity in Canada, rose to a reading of 100 from a reading of 96 in December. "The January index value was up 6% compared to the same month last year," said Timothy Landhuis, research manager at Staffing Industry Analysts. "However, after adjusting for the fact that January this year had two more working days, the index reading suggests that overall volume of billed hours was down slightly year over year on a comparable-days basis."

Canada added 48,300 jobs in January from December, building on gains observed in the latter part of 2016, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from Statistics Canada. The number of full-time jobs rose by 15,800 in January, following a significant increase in December; part-time jobs rose by 32,400. Compared to the same month a year ago, Canada employment rose by 276,100 jobs in January, an increase of 1.5%, with most of the increase occurring from August to January.

Economy – US

The US Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose in January following a moderate decline in January. The index rose to a reading of 114.8 (1985=100), up from 111.6 in January.

US real GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the fourth quarter, according to the second estimate of GDP growth released by the US Commerce Department. The new estimate is unchanged from the "advance" estimate. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.5%.  Real GDP grew slower than the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey, which called for a 2.1% advance in the fourth quarter, as slower investment by businesses and state and local agencies offset stronger household purchases.

The Conference Board’s US Leading Economic Index rose in January, suggesting continued economic growth in first half of 2017. The index rose 0.6% in January to a reading of 125.5 (2010 = 100), following increases of 0.5% increase in December and 0.2% in November.

The number of IT jobs in the US edged up 0.3% in January from December to almost 5.3 million, reported the TechServe Alliance, an association of IT and engineering staffing companies. Year-over-year, IT employment in the US rose by 3.86% in January, adding 195,600 IT jobs. Engineering employment growth edged up 0.1% in January from December to more than 2.5 million jobs. Year-over-year, the increase remained anemic at 0.74%, representing 18,600 engineering jobs.

The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index edged up in January to a reading of 130.04 from December’s upwardly revised reading of 129.73. The January reading, which followed a slight decrease in December, is up 2.4% from the same month a year ago. The US Department of Labor reported the US added 227,000 jobs in January and gained 14,800 temp jobs.

Economic activity in the US nonmanufacturing sector began 2017 at a slightly slower — but still strong — growth pace, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index. ISM’s non-manufacturing index edged down in January to a reading of 56.5 from December’s reading of 56.6. However, the employment portion of the index rose to a reading of 54.7 in January from December’s reading of 52.7.
Readings above 50 indicate growth.

US private-sector employment rose by 246,000 jobs from December to January, according to the ADP national employment report. This is a jump from 151,000 jobs added in December and the largest increase since June, when private-sector employment rose by 262,000 jobs.

Economy – outside North America

The jobless rate in Brazil reached a record high of 12.6% in the three months to January with the recession leaving 13 million unemployed, reports Reuters. The unemployment rate was up from the previous year’s 9.5% and the previous quarter’s 11.8%. The number of jobless people rose by 34.3% compared to last year, reaching 12.9 million in the period ending in January 2017. Brazil’s economy contracted in 2016 for the second year in a row as it went through the worst recession in its history.

More than half of firms on the Chinese mainland are expected to take on staff this year, reports the China Daily with data from international recruitment firm Michael Page. The report, which surveyed nearly 1,000 employers, found that 55% of domestic firms will increase their hiring in 2017, compared to 41% of multinational corporations.

The number of job vacancies in Germany increased in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to the previous year, according to data from the Institute for Labour Market and Professional Research of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). In the fourth quarter of 2016 there were 1,044,000 vacancies nationwide, 6,000 more than the same period last year. The majority of vacancies were in West Germany, which reached more than 801,000 while in East Germany they were just over 242,000. 

Overall hiring activity in India declined 2% in January compared to the previous year, according to the latest Naukri.com Jobspeak Index. The index stood at 1.707 this month, down from 1.48 in January of last year. Among the top metros, Delhi/NCR saw a decline in hiring activity of 11%, while Mumbai saw an 8% decline and Bengaluru saw a 6% decline.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in South Korea stood at 3.5% in January, down 0.1% when compared to the previous year, reports RTT News, with data from Statistics Korea. The data also showed that the number of employed people stood at 25.69 million in January, up 243,000 from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, reached 8.6% last month, down from 9.5% a year earlier.

UK sectors, which employ a high number of EU nationals, are beginning to experience skills and labour shortages which could be due to a slowdown in the number of EU workers seeking jobs in the UK, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development) and the Adecco Group. The report suggests that despite a near-record number of vacancies, UK employers are struggling to fill roles with the right candidates as a result of both labour and skills shortages. Official ONS data and the Labour Market Outlook suggest that a fall in the supply of EU nationals may be playing a key role.

In 2016, the number of online job ads grew by 14.7% compared to 2015, according to a report from Jobfeed, a Big Data tool for vacancies for recruitment technology firm Textkernel. The report, ‘The Belgian online job market in 2016′, vacancies for internships, student jobs, volunteering, freelance and franchises were omitted. Among the occupations, administrative assistant was the most sought after profession in online vacancies in 2016.

The Irish government has published its Action Plan for Jobs 2017 which comprises 164 actions aimed at creating 45,000 jobs this year. The target of the plan is to support the creation of 200,000 net additional jobs by 2020. There are nearly 190,000 more people employed now compared to when the first Action Plan was launched in 2012, surpassing the original target of an additional 100,000 jobs by 2016.


> COMPANY NEWS

Two senior executives from electronics giant Samsung Group are taking responsibility for their involvement in the company’s ongoing bribery scandal by offering to resign, according to a South Korean news agency. Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-gi offered to resign. Both executives had been previously identified as suspects by the South Korean prosecution team that investigated and ultimately arrested Samsung vice chair Lee Jae-yong, known professionally as Jay Y. Lee for his involvement in alleged corruption charges involving impeached South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Prior to his arrest Lee, the son of company chair Lee Kun-hee, had been accused by the investigation team for participating in payments that Samsung made to Choi Soon-sil, the presidential friend and advisor at the heart of Park’s impeachment scandal, in exchange for government support of a company merger that, according to the Korea Times, was designed for Lee to increase his stake in Samsung as a whole.


> MERGER & ACQUISITION ACTIVITY

Apple Acquires Israeli AI Startup RealFace

Apple has acquired Tel Aviv, Israel-based Realface, a machine learning startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users. Founded in 2014, RealFace says it has developed an innovative way of recognising people, self-reportedly building A.I software that "brings back human perception to digital process".

Nokia Pays $371 Million for Finnish Telecom Software Company Comptel 

Nokia is acquiring Finland-based telecommunications software company Comptel in a cash deal worth €347 million ($371 million). Founded out of Helsinki in 1986, Comptel develops software for Operations Support Systems (OSS), which are basically systems used by telecom service providers to help manage and configure their networks, including managing faults. Comptel is actually a public company, trading on the Helsinki Nasdaq OMX since 1999, and counts 800 employees in more than 30 countries.

Datto Acquire Open Mesh

Datto is bolstering its MSP networking solution capabilities with an acquisition and launch of new products. The Norwalk, Conn.-based data protection vendor has acquired Open Mesh, a cloud-based networking solution provider based out of Portland. Open Mesh’s ethernet switching and access point technologies will be combined with the current Datto Networking Appliance to create a new line of Datto networking products.


> PRIMARY SOURCES:

IT World Canada – http://www.itworldcanada.com/
TechRepublic –  http://www.techrepublic.com/
ZDNet – http://www.zdnet.com/
Information Week – http://www.informationweek.com/
Staffing Industry Analysts – http://www.staffingindustry.com/