The “Petya” ransomware cyber-attack is set to cost Reckitt Benckiser £100 million
With brands such as Durex and Neurofen under its umbrella, multinational consumer goods business Reckitt Benckiser (RB), has recently been subjected to the Petya ransomware attack. The attack has also impacted large companies, such as Cadbury, Maersk and Mondelez, causing unprecedented disruptions.
The company has stated: “The virus is highly potent - it's being investigated by Government agencies and the major security and technology firms, and there remains only a limited understanding of it and only one firm recommendation on how to cope with it.”
The cyber-attack has led RB to slash its sales forecasts and ability to stock in-demand products, as well as the ability to deliver products on time, costing the company around £100 million in revenue, according to The Guardian.
The company has stated: “We were unable to ship and invoice some orders to customers prior to the close of the quarter. Some of our factories are currently still not operating normally but plans are in place to return to full operation.”
“We expect that some of the revenue lost from the second quarter will be recovered in the third quarter. However, the continued production difficulties in some factories mean that we also expect to lose some further revenue permanently.”
However, operating in over 60 countries, the company has also recently acquired infant and children nutrition leader Mead Johnson, in order to enhance its position within this area. The company will bring two infant and child nutrition brands Enfa and Nutramigen, which is trusted globally.
It is predicted that the acquisition will increase RB’s revenues further by 90 percent, and its developing market scale by 65 percent, which has been calculated using net sales and Non-GAAP EBIT.
The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.