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New research says technobabble needs to be stamped out to broaden sector’s appeal.

The technology sector’s widespread use of unnecessary jargon and technobabble is stopping people joining the sector and needs to be eliminated.

That’s according to Babble, which today releases new research1 revealing how companies delay or abandon technology investments when confronted with impenetrable jargon.

Babble interviewed 1,000 UK jobseekers as well as 500 bosses within small and mid-sized British businesses and found:

  • Technology was the number one ranked sector when it comes to unnecessary use of jargon (70%), followed by finance (67%) and law (66%)
  • 60% of jobseekers said they had avoided applying for technology jobs as they were put off by jargon and technobabble
  • Younger people were the most put off from applying for technology jobs because of the jargon used (70% of those aged 16 to 24).
  • Over half (57%) of businesses said they struggled to recruit in technology roles because jargon made it harder to explain a role

With over one million positions currently lying open in the UK technology sector, broadening its appeal is more important than ever.

Confusion delays technology investments 

Babble’s research also discovered that the use of jargon and technobabble is not only stopping businesses from digitising and tapping into the benefits of new technology, it also stops companies growing and takes up valuable time.

  • 76% felt jargon and technobabble used by technology companies made it harder to understand how their firm could benefit from new technology
  • One in three (62%) said not being able to understand the jargon has led to them abandoning a technology purchase or not using a particular supplier; this rose to 74% in the South-West
  • Businesses in the arts and legal industries were the most likely to be thrown by technobabble (91% and 89% respectively)
  • 58% of bosses said they lost time trying to find the right technology for their business when it wasn’t properly explained

The top five most hated phrases and tech terms were:

  1. Internet of things
  2. Synergy
  3. Tech stack
  4. Digital transformation
  5. XaaS (anything as a service)

Matt ParkerCEO of Babble, said, “We work in a sector that is sometimes complicated and sometimes we’re inventing new stuff that needs to be named. But we’re also guilty of using phrases and terminology that gets in the way of people’s understanding. This is totally counterproductive when we’re trying so hard to get fresh talent into the industry. It also means businesses delay decisions around tech that could be saving them time and money.”

Babble is trying to persuade people in the industry to dump unnecessary jargon, commissioning Twitter poet Brian Bilston to produce a series of poems that poke fun at the over-use of jargon.

Parker continues, “As a technology company we’ve been as guilty as anyone when it comes to occasionally drifting into technobabble. But we’re doing everything we can to try and eliminate it from our business and we’re hoping others will also think twice before they decide to ‘reach out’ with the latest ‘Whatever the Latest Thing is as a Service.’ This is a simple change which we can all make but which will make a big difference.”

Mark Latham Hall, Head of IT, Aquavista says, “Keep it simple, we’re not an IT company. Our business is about selling ‘life on the water’ and delivering the basics. One of our guiding principles is to buy the closest fit technology for the best cost and then tailor our process to accommodate. We use storytelling with data visualisation to help non-technical stakeholders to understand and digest what we are doing, without the need for the over complicated language. Enable simple, slick processes and tone down the technical jargon.”

Download Babble’s eBook of Technobabble poems here.