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22nd Jan, 2021

Chris Adcock
Chris Adcock
Job Title
Managing Director, Technology

It is safe to say technology has been the backbone of business success throughout the pandemic, intensifying the need for many companies to bring themselves up to date in the digital world in order to survive.

Not only were teams setting up remote systems, but also working to update security to try and mitigate any additional risks.

At the beginning of the turmoil many companies put IT projects on hold, but after a few months of frantic working and the rapid adoption of digital technology across the UK, the market settled and started to pick up by the end of lockdown 1.0.

Discussions with clients and candidates in the sector have emphasised the heightened workloads of those working in IT through trying to cope with the increasing demand as a result of remote working. But this increased capacity doesn’t always translate into hiring new team members.

Listen to your employees to retain your talent

Companies will need to address this issue going forward, as in a survey Reed conducted at the end of 2020 for our technology salary guide, 36% of IT candidates were looking to move roles, compared to 27% before lockdown.

Those looking to move put it down to their employer’s behaviour during lockdown (38%) and the need for a better work-life balance (38%). Businesses need to act now and address the challenges their staff are facing in order to ensure retention and protect their employer brand.

Technology jobs in demand and industry trends

The onset of the pandemic saw a demand for network and infrastructure-based roles, but as the market begins to settle new trends are emerging, with the top 5 skills in high demand for 2021 being:

  1. Cloud computing (Our guide found average salaries for cloud architects in Scotland increased by 8.2% this year).

  2. Data analytics (BI manager average salaries rose by 5.2%, and MI analyst average salaries increased by 5.3% in the North)

  3. Cyber security (Average salaries for cyber security consultants in Wales have risen by 9.8% in 2021 compared to 2020)

  4. Machine learning (In the South, machine learning engineer average salaries increased from £61,300 in 2020 to £67,400 in 2021)

  5. DevOps (We saw a staggering 11.9% increase in DevOps manager average salaries for 2021 in London)

Challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the technology sector

According to the Worldwide IT Spending Forecast for 2020 from Gartner, IT spending across the globe is projected to increase by 4% in 2021.

Following on from the pandemic, mobile working will become an integrated part of any IT team’s business as usual operations. Companies that were embracing full scale digital transformation were ahead of the curve, but in 2021 those that do not follow suit and transform are going to be left behind.

IT salaries and benefits

2021 is going to be a difficult period for everyone, but good businesses know that this is the ideal time to strengthen teams to aid their recovery from the recession.

Our survey of industry professionals found that the most desirable benefits - along with flexibility and remote working - were generous pensions, performance bonuses, health insurance, and more paid time off. Employers in the technology sector offering any combination of these will help themselves to be more attractive to the most talented professionals looking for work.

According to our technology salary guide data, salaries within the sector continue to be well paid, our research also revealed that 69% of technology professionals are happy with their current salary. Of the 31% who were not happy, 33% said that they felt they do much more than their job role – an issue that needs to be addressed to retain and attract talent.

I reiterate that tech professionals have played, and will continue to play, an integral part in the economic recovery throughout 2021. The heightened stress and increased workload for many in the sector means that all companies should put employee wellbeing high on the agenda. Not only will prioritising the health and wellbeing of your workforce help you to retain the talent you cannot afford to lose, but it will also play a key part in attracting the talented professionals your company needs to secure growth.

Our salary guide enables you to benchmark salaries for some of the most popular roles in the tech industry, including regional differences and insight from our experts. For more information on what you could be earning, or the salaries you should be paying, download Reed's free Technology Salary Guide 2024 now.