Survey Results from Digital DNA Show an Optimistic Tech Sector

Our friends at Digital DNA have recently conducted a survey of over 100 tech companies in Northern Ireland and have made some interesting and positive discoveries.

Despite a difficult trading environment caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, 91% of companies said they remain optimistic about their future growth potential.

Impact of COVID-19

To say life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures aimed at preventing its spread is an understatement. Life and the economy have been put on hold, but the results of the survey show that the tech industry had escaped the worst of the disruption devasting other industries. Just 30% of respondents have furloughed staff compared to up to 80% firms from all industries.

However, 36% reported a loss of revenue and 22% reported having reduced prices to attract or retain customers. 13% indicated they would apply for government grants or other finance options.

The ‘New Normal’

92% of respondents reported that they have completely transitioned to working from home with some having done so as far back as 5th March and a median date of Monday 16th March. This is a full week before sweeping measures were introduced by the government. This shows that tech companies have been able to make the change quickly and effectively, revealing an inherent ability to adapt.

Respondents have reported increased productivity, improved innovation, better teamwork and communication, and more effective decision making arising out of the need to change their approach. A trend we are confident will have positive and lasting effect when normality returns. RealTime has also seen an encouraging willingness to continue recruitment, with companies still creating new roles.

Companies have been innovative when it comes to keeping company culture alive and keeping team connected. Virtual coffee breaks, Friday night drinks, and more quizzes than anyone has ever witnessed are bringing everyone together.

The Future

There still exists a significant amount of uncertainty as to how long restrictions will continue and what the world will look like when we emerge, with a global recession possible. 60% of survey respondents believed that it would take at least 6 months for activity to return to pre-COVID levels, while 22% were less optimistic, expecting it to be more like 9-12 months.

Startups were the most optimistic of those surveyed, with 90% predicting it would take just 3-6 months to return to pre-COVID levels, while just 40% of FDI companies expected the same timeframe.

Survey results also found optimism in recruitment with 40% of companies having no plan to change their recruitment plans and are continuing to advertise vacant roles. Many companies are adapting with remote onboarding and are benefiting from the best candidates in search of companies who are showing confidence.

Another positive: 60% of companies believed they will benefit from the experience of working from home when they return to their offices.


COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented experience for everyone, but the tech sector is well placed to endure. The results from Digital DNA’s survey show encouraging signs of an adaptable industry with optimism for the future. Tech companies will play a vital role in the economy’s recovery, as well as our general lives in the future, so this is encouraging.

There is no doubt that there is an opportunity to learn and grow from this experience and there is no reason why we can’t emerge on the other side better companies, and better people.

Read Digital DNA’s report on their results: NI Tech community remains optimistic despite concerns over a global recession