IT Industry News – July 2017

Cincinnati Bell Inc. is buying Hawaiian Telcom Holdco Inc. for $650 million and OnX for $201 million. Mitel announced its acquisition of ShoreTel for $430 million as well as Toshiba’s unified communications business. In Toronto, digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot, acquired Pixel Point Digital. PNI Canada Acuireco Corp. has purchased Sandvine Corp. for $562 million and plans to merge Sandvine with Procera Networks.

Reports indicate Microsoft plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs while streaming platform, SoundCloud has laid of 40% of its employees, and data storage provider, Seagate, plans more staff cuts due to weak financial performance.

According to threat intelligence provider, Risk Based Security, the number of publicly-reported data breaches in Canada this year is up to 59. In a study conducted by Forrester Data, it is projected there will be 5.5 billion smartphone users around the world by 2020. In other news, there has been a recent increase in investments in European startups according to Invest Europe.

In this Issue:

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


The economy – Canada

The Canadian Staffing Index, which measures staffing activity in Canada, increased by 1% in June and was up 5% compared to June 2016.

Statistics Canada reported 388,000 job vacancies with nine of the ten broad occupational groups reporting an increase in the number of job vacancies. The average hourly wage increased by 55 cents to $20.40 in the first quarter of 2017.

Full-time jobs increased by 8,100 while part-time jobs rose by 37,100 in June according to Statistics Canada. Unemployment decreased to 6.5% with total employment at 18.4 million. In June, employment rose in professional, scientific and technical services.

The Conference Board of Canada has released their updated economic growth forecast and projects the economy will grow by 2.6% in the latter part of 2017 before slowing to 1.9% in 2018. It is expected Real GDP will grow 2.8% in 2017 slowing to 2.0% in 2018 and even further to 1.6% in 2019.

The economy – US

Claims for unemployment insurance decreased to 234,000 mid-July according to the US Department of Labor. The Leading Economic Index in the US increased 0.6% to 127.8 (2010=100) in June. The number of unemployment benefits applications in the US reached its lowest point in 44 years indicating the strongest job market in over 10 years in America according to MarketWatch.

The US Commerce Department reported growth in US Real GDP at an annual rate of 2.6% in Q2 of 2017. MarketWatch reported the largest source of economic growth in the US is a rebound in consumer spending.

The ADP National Employment Report indicated private-sector employment in the US increased by 158,000 jobs in June. These jobs were all in the provision of services while goods-producing jobs remained steady. Mid-size companies led in job creation adding 91,000.

Temporary and contract staffing increased 4.4% in July according to the American Staffing Association (ASA). The ASA staffing index increased to a reading of 95.21 in July with an average of 94.10.

The US Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 121.1 in July. Consumers anticipate the US economic expansion to continue throughout the rest of 2017.

The economy – Mexico

Bloomberg reported Mexico has been creating jobs at a record-setting pace and has reduced the number of jobs in the informal economy to 57.2%. Access to social security increased by 17%, which translates to more than 517,000 Mexican workers.

The economy – outside North America

Global CEO confidence fell to a level of 61 in Q2 according to The Conference Board. Only 41% of CEOs anticipate an improvement in economic conditions, which is down significantly from 65% in the last quarter.

Ambition Group highlighted an increase in hiring activity in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia in their latest 2017 Quarterly Market Insights report. Contract jobs in Banking and Financial Services have increased in all three countries. Singapore has experienced an increase in Supply Chain & Procurement, Sales & Marketing, and Technology. Malaysia has experienced a healthy increase in demand for technology professionals.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia reported the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.4%. The government remains confident they will achieve a skilled workforce of 35% by 2020.

According to Labour Market Advanced Release from the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore’s overall unemployment rate in June was 2.2%. Singapore experienced a decline in total employment by 8,400 workers mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders in Marine and Construction.

According to the Census and Statistics Department in Hong Kong, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.1% in June with total employment reaching 3.81 million.

The Employment Index Report released by Zhaopin Limited and China Institute for Employment Research (CIER) indicated a rise in the CIER index to 2.26. A rise in the CIER index is indicative of a more favorable job market in China for job seekers.  

Statistics Japan reported a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.8% in June, which is the lowest it’s been in 23 years. The total number of employed persons reached 65.38 million.

The Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported a decrease in Taiwan’s unemployment rate down to 3.78% in June with the number of unemployed persons falling to 445,000.

According to Vietnamworks, demand for IT professionals in Vietnam will increase next year and approximately 80,000 IT professionals will enter the country’s job market. TopDev, an IT recruitment site, reported a 45% increase in the demand for IT programmers in 2016. In 2018, it is anticipated the country will need 350,000 IT programmers with only 200,000 available.

Approximately 61% of job seekers in Switzerland do not expect growth in compensation according to the PageGroup Confidence Index for Q2. Career confidence has been higher in the German-speaking region with overall confidence reaching 58%.

CBS (Statistics Netherlands) reported the jobless rate decreased to 4.9% in June. This is the lowest unemployment rate in the Netherlands since 2011.

Ireland has experienced healthy job growth in the first half of 2017 according to Irish recruitment firm, Collins McNicholas. The recruitment firm anticipates more demand for technical professionals in the near future from companies like Microsoft and Zendesk. The Central Statistics Office reported the unemployment rate was down to 6.3% in June.

According to Morgan McKinley, Ireland has experienced an increase in professional job vacancies of 19% with continued growth in the ITC sector.

London has experienced a decrease of 23% in the number of jobs available according to the latest Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor. The report also highlighted a significant decrease in professionals seeking jobs in London of 49%.

According to the Labour Market and Professional Research (IAB) of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA) the German labour market continued to develop at a steady pace throughout July.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the euro area (EA19) fell to 9.3% in May according to Eurostat. In the EU28, unemployment went down to 7.8% with the lowest unemployment in the Czech Republic (3.0%), Germany (3.9%) and Malta (4.1%).

IT professionals are leading the job market in India who is considered the largest supplier of online labor according to Oxford Internet Institute. India leads in jobs in software development and technology at 55% market share.


Many large companies have made recent employee cuts, including Microsoft who, in July, announced they may lay off as many as 3,000 employees. Microsoft has cut more than 30,000 jobs since 2014 with the most recent layoffs being attributed to a reorganization initiative. According to a report released by Bloomberg, SoundCloud has cut 40% of its employees and will close its offices in San Francisco and London in an effort to reduce costs and promote revenue growth. It has been reported that despite $2 billion in sales last quarter, Seagate has been experiencing weak financial performance, which will result in more staff cuts throughout the company.

Only 59 data breaches have been publicly reported in Canada according to Risk Based Security in their threat intelligence compilation report. The number of data breaches reported in the US is up to 1,367, which is due to the fact public reporting is more common in America. China has only 22 breaches to report so far however, this includes the largest number of records exposed (3.8 billion).

Europe has experienced a boost in international capital from investors attracted to European startups. Europe’s venture capital association, Invest Europe, reported VC firms raised $7.3 billion in 2016. Investors are attracted to European startups because they can sometimes provide better returns than Silicon Valley-focused funds.

Mobile usage is projected to increase to 5.5 billion smartphone users by 2020 according to research conducted by Forrester Data. In 2017, smartphone penetration has passed the 50% mark and Android currently controls 73% of the market share.


Mitel Acquires Toshiba’s Unified Communications Business

Ottawa-based business communication solution provider, Mitel, has acquired various assets and support from Toshiba’s unified communications business and Toshiba’s Telecommunications Systems Division will be shut down. All existing product service agreements Toshiba has with its customers are being transferred to Mitel immediately. Both companies have agreed to a strategy to maintain business continuity throughout the transition.

Mitel Acquires Shoretel

Mitel has also confirmed it will acquire Shoretel’s remaining common stock for $430 million. The acquisition will help Mitel move into the Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) as they focus on digital transformation. Mitel’s customers will become more cloud-enabled by integrating Shoretel’s enterprise solutions.

Dot2Dot Acquires Pixel Point

Toronto-based digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot is adding sales project management, installation, and customer service expertise to its service offering through the acquisition of Toronto-based Pixel Point. Dot2Dot’s purchase of Pixel Point is the largest acquisition in digital signage since mid-2016.

Cincinnati Bell Acquires Hawaiin Telcom and OnX

Telecommunications provider, Cincinnati Bell Inc. is acquiring Honolulu-based, Hawaiin Telcom HoldCo Inc. for $650 million, made up of 60% cash and 40% stock. Cincinnati Bell has also announced its acquisition of Toronto-based OnX Enterprise Solutions for $201 million in cash. These two purchases will increase Cincinnati Bell’s fiber optic network capacity throughout the US and connecting with Asia.