Businesses and governments struggling to hire workers are looking increasingly to technology to address the problem, says the chief executive of CGI Inc. GIB-A-T, a Canadian IT and business consulting services company. In some cases, they’re finding that they didn’t need the employees to begin with.
Labour markets remain tight in several corners of the world and both private and public organizations are wrestling with how to attract employees, George Schindler said in an interview. At the same time, they’re trying to contain costs amid signs that the economic climate is weakening.
Montreal-based CGI is capitalizing on these business conditions, Mr. Schindler said. The company on Wednesday reported a first-quarter profit of $382.4-million or $1.60 per share as revenue climbed 12 per cent to $3.45-million. Bookings grew to $4-billion during the quarter with new business making up one-third of that total. Cash from operations hit a record $605-million.
“They’re looking for efficiencies, because they got open positions they can’t fill,” Mr. Schindler said of CGI’s clients. “It’s actually pretty pronounced in government. We went to one government agency and basically said, ‘Look, we can automate this. We can do this as managed service.’ ”
When the agency responded that it had employees doing that work and said it didn’t want to displace them, CGI showed the agency data indicating roughly half the jobs it was concerned about keeping were actually vacant. “We’re not eliminating people. We’re eliminating positions that aren’t filled,” Mr. Schindler said.
The investor exhilaration in tech stocks that built up during the coronavirus crisis is fading around the world and companies have slashed their payrolls in response to changing circumstances. CGI is bucking the trend. It is one of the few tech companies that still has its pandemic stock-market valuation.
CGI shares gained 4 per cent to