Earlier this year, the UK technology sector was valued at $1 trillion, with the third-largest number (13) of decacorns: companies that have reached £10 billion or more. However, companies are still facing competition in the technology sector when it comes to hiring.
The third-largest technology sector in the world
Following the pandemic, the tech recruitment sector went through a massive supply and demand curve where demand shot up yet supply never followed. There has been a state of disparity for some time now, but it is starting to level out. However, there are still many vacancies and not enough people to fill them – that is abundantly clear.
The UK has done a lot of work over the years to create an entrepreneurial spirit and technology itself has enabled that. If you think back 10-15 years ago, if you wanted an ecommerce website, you needed to spend £10,000-£20,000 or more to have one made for you. Now, you can create a shop on existing platforms like Etsy or Shopify in minutes. Such platforms promote the constant flow of innovation and tech creation, providing entrepreneurs with quick access to consumers and cash flow.
Our tech sector is growing rapidly. If you look at some of the start-ups in London and around the UK, there’s a wealth of exciting companies. Although geographically small compared to the first- (the US) and second-largest- (China) technology sectors, the UK is punching above its weight and that is set to continue.
Even though places like Silicon Valley in the US are synonymous with technology start-ups, we’ve seen their market start to turn fairly rapidly and negatively, whereas the UK is still going strong in comparison.
Bringing movement back to tech recruitment
While companies can address the technology talent shortage in many ways, there is no magic wand – some strategies will take time, some will require using an agency like Reed to gain access to a wider talent pool, and some will simply find it necessary to pay higher salaries.
Firstly, given that the word ‘recession’ has been floating around in the UK a lot recently, we need to give people who are considering moving roles the confidence to do so – reassuring them that there won’t be any ‘last in, first out’ situations. This means working on retention and job security in addition to attraction.
In our webinar ‘Diversity in technology: making your recruitment process more inclusive’, Reed’s Client Relationship Manager Kevin Dainty made the point that you wouldn’t add water to a damaged bucket until you’d filled the holes. The same goes for your workforce: you need to ensure your organisation has a wholly inclusive culture before attempting to attract a more diverse talent pool or addressing granular inclusivity issues within the business.
Diversity and inclusion
Unfortunately, the technology sector is not very inclusive. Reed and many other companies have taken great strides to change this, including founding the Women in Technology Mentoring Scheme, partnering with Black Girls in Tech, and more. Promoting inclusion and diversity is quite simple in theory, but in practice can be hard to achieve. It’s about setting out your values early and sticking to them.
While candidate shortlists should include a more equal split of men and women, the greatest challenge is that the talent pool itself isn’t as diverse as it should be.
Searching further afield
Companies that are struggling to hire skilled technology professionals should look at their strategy for sponsoring candidates from overseas. With many businesses becoming almost entirely remote, geography is no longer such an issue.
Using the current visa system to attract talent into the UK tech sector will help to level out the shortage; allowing highly skilled tech people to enter the country is key. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but you need to at least have a strategy in place to engage with overseas talent markets.
Salaries and benefits
Many companies are paying very high salaries to stay competitive, with increases of around 10-20%. Unfortunately, one of the top motivators for employees to move roles is salary but there are benefits that can help close the gap.
Previously, remote/hybrid working was the biggest USP to joining the technology sector, but now most companies will offer this. Instead, employers should focus on flexibility, whether that’s in terms of time or location. People like to work for companies that trust them, that are flexible, and allow them to do their work in whatever way they see fit.
Companies need a mixed strategy of paying the higher salaries for the people who already have the skills and experience and are important to the business right now – but, at the same time, they should be growing their own talent for the future.
Technology features in almost every job now. Whether you’re in marketing, HR or engineering, you will come across tech systems – but it’s also more accessible than it’s ever been.
Through training and the right support, you can upskill your existing workforce to join your tech teams. This doesn’t have to cost the earth and is a great way to shape future talent, creating the professionals you need within your team. As an example, many IT professionals at Reed started through our graduate scheme and worked their way up. Learning and development is increasingly important to people joining the workforce and on-the-job training schemes are great tools for boosting attraction.
To find your next role in the world’s third-largest technology sector, or to attract the perfect candidate for your tech role, contact your nearest Reed office.