Labour Transformation: how multinationals manage IT resource in a rapidly changing market

Sascha Groeger, CCO of NSC.

The IT labour market is in constant flux.

In the 1980s an IT department might have contained spare batteries for calculators.

In 2017, the IT department of a multinational corporation could be 10,000 strong, made up of software engineers, service desk agents, network architects, field engineers, project managers, procurement managers and many more.

IT is now ubiquitous in business: there’s a smartphone in every pocket; a sat-nav GPS in every lorry; a CTO in every multinational.

This is reflected in the amount businesses spend on it: Worldwide IT spending in 2017 increased by 2.4% compared to 2016, to $3.5 trillion.

However, a consistently growing IT spend doesn’t equal workforce stability. Rapid tech innovation regularly make roles redundant, and simultaneously creates new jobs requiring whole new skill sets.

For example, networks no longer need to be serviced by onsite engineers on eye-watering day-rates, but can be fixed remotely with software, for less, by a 24hr team collaborating across continents. And the next development will reduce the demand for engineers further: a technology manufacturer recently launched a network that anticipates problems, self-resolves and evolves.

This rate of technological change, although constant, is erratic. Predictions of what will be commercially achievable in IT in five years are fatuous. So, then, are predictions of the level of human IT support needed.

Tech innovation regularly makes roles redundant, and simultaneously creates new jobs requiring whole new skill sets

The problem for businesses is that an under-utilised workforce is an expensive commodity: a huge liability on the books of any company.

Thus, multinationals face a labour headache: they need a scalable workforce, with a changeable skillset, to overcome challenges and capitalise on opportunities that are still being dreamed up in Silicon Valley.


Multinational corporations are not multinational because they make bad business decisions; on the contrary, they understand that resourcing headaches can be turned into opportunities with the right partner.

So, how do partners help multinationals find opportunities in labour transformation?

Businesses are increasingly divesting themselves of large IT labour forces, and turning to flexible arrangements provided by specialist managed resourcing organisations.


Long tenures, unionised workforces, pensions and expensive terms make it hard for large multinationals to cut staffing levels. This can be problematic if a skillset is no longer needed, leaving an expensive resource lying dormant.

Rather than paying the salaries and pensions for a department working at 25% capacity, the multinational takes the cost burden off their books by turning the operational responsibility over to their chosen resourcing partner.

The resourcing partner finds efficiencies through labour transformation. One element of this is to leverage the previously under-employed staff over multiple clients.

Resoucing headaches become opportunties with the right partner

For example, NSC took over the service desk of a large telco struggling with hitting their SLA, poor performance and matching ticket volumes to resources. As an organisation that runs the service desks for multiple multinationals for a living, we can optimise the environment: streamlining processes, pooling tools, scaling the service across multiple clients, etc.

In this way, the multinational saves on the costs of full-time staff, and can ramp up and down the resourcing level as needs require, only paying for what’s used.


Managed resourcing organisations don’t only offer flexible staffing options at a cheaper rate (NSC typically save our clients 30% compared to fixed-cost resourcing), but can address skillset gaps much quicker and more efficiently than bureaucracy-heavy multinationals.

Through contracts with multiple-clients, the resourcing partner can redeploy under-utilised employees with other multinationals, placing the right skills into the right roles. This provides far more opportunity for insecure positions to be retrained and on-boarded elsewhere.

This is done at scale with junior roles such as Service Desk Agents and Level 1 Engineers, but this flexible approach is just as useful to multinationals further up the seniority ladder …


As well as needing thousands of employees to service millions of customers, multinationals have small teams of experts to design and deliver transformational projects.

Flexibility is no less an issue here: it’s important to have the right skills for the right task at the right time, with a line-up that can change as requirements dictate.

Managed resourcing organisations offer the speed, flexibility, efficiencies and expertise business behemoths need to stay competitive

Resourcing organisations can provide teams of fully-trained experts with vast experience from working with many clients, quickly, anywhere in the world. The multinational has no pension liabilities, no on-boarding and no training to worry about. Many offer fixed-fee project delivery, so the multinational can ensure budgets don’t spiral.

For example, we recently supplied CCIE architects in the oil and gas sector to one client, and we have over 50 project managers installed with a global telco.


As experts in labour transformation, resourcing organisations such as NSC don’t only supply the human resource. We work better and can find more efficiencies when we manage, procure and consult too: we take over operational responsibility.

Planning a recruitment strategy in an unpredictable world is an inexact science, to say the least. Organisations such as ours provide expert strategists and infrastructure architects, helping multinationals plan for their future.


The reality is that if giant multinationals didn’t keep evolving and finding efficiencies, they’d find themselves in trouble.

Only managed resourcing organisations can offer the speed, flexibility, efficiencies and expertise these business behemoths require to stay competitive.

Through our expertise, we provide the labour transformation necessary to future-proof our clients’ businesses.

If this article resonates with your own labour challenges, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us on +44 (0) 20 7808 6300 or, or visit us at