As we approach Thanksgiving, we take time to enjoy moments of reflection and appreciation, which can seem fleeting in the busy hustle of daily life. Across the country, families are preparing to gather in a celebration of gratefulness, unity, and the bonds that connect us. And yet we also find ourselves facing a world in constant flux. The year 2023 has presented us with a unique set of challenges and opportunities, testing our resilience and adaptability while also opening doors to new possibilities.
Challenges that Tested Our Resolve
The lingering effects of the pandemic, coupled with geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainties, have created a volatile landscape. From supply chain disruptions to talent shortages, businesses across industries have faced unprecedented hurdles. These challenges have forced us to rethink our strategies, innovate our approaches, and embrace change with open arms.
For talent, economic setbacks in global markets, return to office mandates, and the persistent “pandemic hangover” have made the path to recovery a bit rocky. As Emily Stewart pointed out in her article for Vox, “The government supports doled out in recent years — expanded unemployment insurance, the student loan pause, the child tax credit — have expired. The country’s political system is not exactly working spectacularly, not to mention the sense of dread heading into the 2024 elections.” Beyond that, trying to find their footing in the new normal hasn’t been a piece of cake.
- The ongoing economic uncertainty: The global economy was still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2023, and this uncertainty caused anxiety and stress for many employees. Many businesses were still struggling to make ends meet, and there was a threat of layoffs in some industries.
- The rising cost of living: Inflation was on the rise in 2023, which meant that employees' paychecks were not going as far as they used to. This made it difficult for many people to make ends meet, and it led to increased stress and financial strain.
- The skills gap: The pace of technological change continued to accelerate in 2023, and this made it difficult for many employees to keep up with the latest skills and technologies. This skills gap made it harder for people to find and keep jobs.
- The Great Resignation: The Great Resignation continued in 2023, as many employees left their jobs in search of better opportunities. This made it difficult for businesses to retain talent, and it led to increased competition for skilled workers.
Despite these challenges, employees also made significant progress in 2023. They demanded more flexibility and autonomy from their employers, and they were more vocal about their needs and expectations. They also continued to learn and grow, and they developed new skills that will help them succeed in the future. Again, from Stewart’s article: “The past couple of years have been a solid stretch for workers in America. Unemployment is low. People who want to find jobs, by and large, can. Wages are up — even accounting for inflation over the past several months, and especially for people at the lower ends of the income spectrum.”
Managed Services Providers (MSPs)
Like the workforce itself, Managed Services Providers (MSPs) also confronted a number of challenges in 2023.
- The talent shortage: The IT industry is facing a critical shortage of skilled workers, and this is making it difficult for MSPs to find and retain qualified employees. This is particularly true for cybersecurity and AI professionals, as cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and reliance on AI due its rapid adoption has made it a priority for countless businesses.
- The rising cost of labor: The cost of labor is rising, and this is putting pressure on MSPs to increase their prices. This can make it difficult for MSPs to compete with larger companies that have more economies of scale.
- The increasing complexity of technology: Technology is becoming increasingly complex, and this is making it difficult for MSPs to keep up with the latest trends. This is also making it more difficult for MSPs to provide the level of service that their customers expect.
- The changing customer landscape: Customer expectations are changing, and MSPs need to adapt in order to meet these expectations. Customers are demanding more personalized service, and they are also expecting MSPs to be more proactive in identifying and resolving problems.
- The threat of cyberattacks: Cyberattacks are becoming more common and sophisticated, and this is putting MSPs at risk. MSPs need to invest in cybersecurity training and tools in order to protect their customers' data.
Despite these challenges, MSPs are also on the precipice of reaping a bevy of opportunities. The demand for more advanced and nuanced IT services, along with healthcare, is growing; MSPs that can adapt to the changing landscape will be well-positioned for success.
Opportunities that Fueled Innovation
Amid the challenges, we also witnessed a surge of creativity and innovation. As we grappled with new realities, we discovered new ways of working, collaborating, and connecting. This spirit of innovation has been the driving force behind technological advancements, groundbreaking research, and a renewed appreciation for human connection.
A Message of Gratitude
Through it all, we at Oloop have found strength in the support of our colleagues, partners, and communities. As a staffing company, we are particularly grateful for the dedication and expertise of our recruiters, the unwavering commitment of our clients, and the resilience of the talented individuals we help connect to meaningful work.
None of this would be possible in the absence of meaningful relationships. The relationships we forge allow us to make a rewarding living as members of this vibrant industry. And that’s part of the concept behind Oloop—that on a philosophical level, we are all linked by our dedication to the goals of helping to influence the future of workforce solutions, and that our strength rises from our collective contributions.
On behalf of everyone at Oloop, I have the privilege of thanking you for showing consistent confidence in our services. You are truly valuable allies and friends. It has always been a sheer pleasure to support your programs, your missions, and your aspirations. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!