The telecom industry is fast paced. Telecom Operating Companies (opcos) are renowned to embrace pace, change and transformation is the norm rather than status quo, the latter would imply that an organisation is complacent and risks losing market share to the other service providers circulating for the last ounce of incremental revenue in a (mostly) saturated market place.

It is this desire to evolve and ‘be the first’ that has traditionally ensured the industry has enjoyed a lot of hiring. Hiring around 3G/4G rollouts, hiring around BSS/OSS transformations, hiring around best in class customer experience programs have been hallmarks of the industry. Whilst this will continue, transformation is less-intrinsic to the traditional business and decisively focused outside the sector.

The digital domain continues to cause the most waves in terms of career opportunities however within the opco community the focus is enterprise-centric, at the same time the negative indicators such as declining ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) on the traditional business highlights organisational challenges where opportunities lie for people in the industry.

1. Career Opportunities in Digital: Enterprise

The opco’s digital dawn is driving significant demand for talent; in 2014 the main area of focus, in terms of hiring within operators, revolves around predominantly enterprise focused positions:

The consumer digital space is still active however the trend seems to indicate that hiring revolves around the organisations that are starting to dominate, OTT for Online, Banks for MBanking, start-ups and nimble digital entrepreneurs leading the businesses for the consumer space.

2. Career Opportunities in CAPEX / OPEX Management:

Due to revenue erosion positions that manage expenditure are constantly seeking strong candidates, procurement in particular is the primary example. We continue to have an active list of roles in the procurement space for multiple opcos internationally.

Broadly speaking the need to manage cost is being highlighted and underlined in the searches we cover across a number of functional silos e.g. a search BeathChapman undertook Q1 2014 for a CTO who would focus on the Network CAPEX to Sales ratio.

Another area of talent demand ties into the explosion of hiring around Tower Companies which complement the revenue generating and cost optimising areas of focus the network opcos are addressing.

3. Executive Game Changers

Whilst transformation has been a common theme in the last decade it has been generally operational in nature. Operational transformation is important to fix and improve however the demand from the clients we work with is for the innovators, the game changers and the entrepreneurial executives that can fit into the corporate culture. It is this balance of entrepreneurship and corporate management that a lot of organisations thirst for. Key areas revolve around:

(Customer engagement specialists who know what to do with technology, someone who will challenge the norm to break the idea of marketing 5G as 5G)

Generally there is a recognisable trend seen as the prevalent desire to hire executives who represent new ideas, sometimes this comes from outside the industry. Hiring has involved executives from the internet space, the FMCG industry and a large contingent of management consultants who have gone into industry to shape and work at the coalface.

There will continue to be roles in other traditional functional areas due to attrition, up-skilling and general organisational change however these three main themes are where we see the greatest opportunities. Quantifiable visibility in some of these areas will better position your profile and overall career outlook and undoubtedly add value to the appeal of you as a candidate to both the recruiter and the hiring organisation.