In the technology market, new roles are emerging and evolving all the time, we’ve seen this led by the demand for IT staff with artificial intelligence and machine learning skill sets. This is prompting a new wave of professionals joining the sector, but the UK is still facing a major digital skills shortage.
It’s been a very challenging environment across the tech sector, due to supply and demand being so out of sync. We saw demand come down in the second half of 2022, but it’s still well above the supply of candidates currently available in the market and looks to remain that way in most parts of the IT market throughout 2023.
As we navigate the market conditions, there needs to be an increased focus on diversity, as IT teams have been slow to promote inclusive workplaces, and are now so far behind that extra work needs to be done to ensure they remain competitive.
Technology industry trends
The tech sector has seen a variety of trends take shape over the past year, as the workforce transitions to a period of transparency, agility, sustainability, and digital innovation. We’re currently seeing a move towards roles that enable automation in the workplace. The idea of replacing repetitive tasks with technology isn’t new for the industry, but as technology improves, it’s becoming more and more possible, increasing productivity, compliance and performance.
There’s demand across the board, but as is often the case, we’re seeing a huge call for candidates with strong development skills. There will always be a vast number of roles in the infrastructure and security space too, with the top in-demand skills including those associated with data science and IT system architecture.
Statistics, artificial intelligence, analytics and machine learning skills are highly valued, with business and data management and Amazon Web Services also highly sought-after among employers. The manipulation of data is a skill that cannot be overlooked, especially with the rise in awareness of the data technician role.
The biggest challenge remains the lack of candidates available within the market, and the digital skills shortage currently being seen across the UK.
Managing Director, Reed Technology
All tech leaders need to help in discovering the talent required to take advantage of the latest trends, while at the same time, technology companies should be searching for employees capable of inspiring the next generation of innovators.
The need to be responsive
The hiring environment in the last 12 months has been full of challenges for employers and business. But regardless of economic conditions and labour shortages, the IT market is set for another big year in 2023. The massive need for IT professionals to provide tech solutions and grow business isn’t taking a backwards step. The challenge now will be to ensure there are enough high-quality candidates available to catch up with the demand which skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Alongside huge hikes in salaries, the industry has experienced aggressive hiring, and owing to ‘over-hiring’ by some companies, redundancies, all at the same time. However, the landscape remains fruitful and competitive, as companies expand and diversify their teams through hybrid work models. We’re also seeing employers and candidates finding more opportunities further afield to match their expectations.
It’s imperative that employers, in all organisations, stay close to the market and engage with industry professionals to gauge role values and understand the ever-changing recruitment climate. Businesses need to be responsive and attentive to what’s important to employees, stay the course on inclusive initiatives, and continue to nurture talented individuals into senior positions. Hiring a good graduate or promising junior professional is key to long-term success.
The market remains buoyant for tech professionals considering their next career move, though finding an employer that can match specific values and morals can be tough. We’re in an age where conducting sufficient research into potential suitors is a must, while working closely with a trustworthy agency with extensive contacts and sector experience, can open a whole host of new doors and endless possibilities.
Technology is an integral part of every organisation
Salary and benefit expectations among tech professionals continues to play a huge part in talent acquisition and retention strategies, as technology becomes integral in every organisation.
As much as benefits can make the difference when a candidate is comparing two identical jobs, it’s clear that no benefit can top a candidate’s salary – that’s been made abundantly clear over the last 12 months. An increase in salaries across nearly all tech roles, driven by the growth in earnings of professionals with three or more years’ experience, has seen salary pressures mount. Because of these pressures, employers are still leaning towards offering higher pay for more experienced talent.
While tech salaries are on the rise, certain economic factors have meant jobs are no longer solely finance driven, with job security becoming more prevalent and important to candidates as we progress through a period of financial uncertain in the UK. Professionals are also looking for benefits that make them feel valued, driving up organisational standards across the board.
Beyond salary, flexible/hybrid working has become more of a necessity than a perk, while additional benefits such as good pension and bonus schemes are still top of a candidate’s wish list. Rather than offering lots of benefits, companies need to ensure they are providing the essentials, while focusing on attention-grabbing perks such as holiday buyback schemes and paid sabbaticals.
Professionals across the tech space are still willing to leave their current role for a better fit, but they want to work for an organisation that promotes similar values and ambitions as their own, as well as working on projects that excites them. Working in legacy environments is a lot less interesting than working at the cutting edge of IT, with plenty of professionals across the sector constantly looking to challenge themselves.
Retaining talent in this highly competitive market comes down to quality and effective communication.
Managing Director, Reed Technology
Business leaders must start to admit when they’re wrong and create an environment of high trust and high performance to continue to profit in the current landscape.