The UK currently has over 42,000 startups and 10,000 corporate tech companies who are competing for the best skilled and most talented workforce. With 1 in 8 jobs advertised in the UK currently being in tech, we thought it is now more important than ever to stay on top of the changes and trends happening in the job market.
The pandemic unleashed a new wave of innovation and the UK’s tech sector is growing 2.5 times faster than the rest of the economy . This means that demand for tech jobs is currently 42% higher than before the pandemic. Cardiff and Edinburgh are seeing the sharpest rises in vacancies, Edinburgh specifically leading with 30% of all advertised jobs being in tech – the highest percentage out of all UK cities.
Challenges with adequate supply?
Nearly 3 million people are currently working in tech in the UK (this is a 50% increase since 2005).
However, one of the main challenges reported in the current tech job market is that demand outweighs available talent due to fast growth over the past 2 years. In particular, there is an increasing demand for senior level employees. We caught up with Emmanuel Duah from Motability, who spent the past few years recruiting and building data science teams from scratch. Emmanuel shared ‘sometimes they have good intentions and the enthusiasm for the job, but they don’t necessarily have the qualifications and experience you are looking for’. He also indicated recruiting for more senior positions is the most challenging, as the industry is evolving so fast that some of today’s job titles and required skills didn’t exist 5 to 10 years ago.
So…how can we attract talent?
A sudden increase in demand for tech professionals means that employers are enticing potential candidates with higher salaries and better employment packages than ever before. While the average salary for all jobs decreased in 2021, the average tech salary is up to 50% higher than all other vacancies . In 2021, London offered the highest mean salary of £55,000, followed by Edinburgh at £41,250. Front end developers and data scientists have seen the highest increase in salary in the past years, at 34% and 31%.
There was a massive increase in VC investment into startups across Europe in 2021: according to Crunchbase, investment increased by 159% versus 2020: up from $45 billion to $116 billion. Inevitably, that is going to heat up the tech jobs market even more as the number of startups grow and competition increases across all tech disciplines.
2. Brand and Company Values
But in today’s world, pay is not all that matters. According to Emmanuel, candidates are becoming more interested in the company values and mission than ever before. As the current job market has been described as ‘a candidate’s market’, candidates now look for companies who match their values and morals, so it’s important that companies speak about their values, mission, and culture in job adverts. A great environmental focus can also help companies attract more talent.
3. Remote working and Flexibility
The past two years have taught us that we can be a lot more flexible and adaptable than we previously thought. While two years ago working from home was uncommon, nowadays most people (85%) prefer at least a hybrid approach. The Information and Communication and Professional Scientific and Technical industries have the highest percentage of remote working, of 81% and 71% respectively. Offering the flexibility of hybrid or fully remote working means companies can not only attract more talent from a larger geographical sphere, but they can also attract more diverse talent (for example, parents or people with disabilities).
Offering the possibility to work remotely can be one solution to some of the challenges surrounding the availability of qualified and skilled talent, as tech companies can recruit from anywhere in the world. Remote working can also be good for employees, with increased productivity and efficiency among the benefits. Smaller companies and startups especially have a chance to capture some of the best talent by offering candidates the things they care about the most: flexibility and a work environment that suits them best.
But working remotely can also present challenges, especially when it comes to new employees or building new teams. It can be difficult for a new team member to ‘fit in’ without meeting their co-workers in person.
Diversity is Key
The past few years have seen a huge growth in awareness around social justice issues and more and more companies are actively seeking to build diverse teams. Inclusivity may improve an organisation’s reputation, but the benefits usually go beyond this.
Research shows that having different perspectives within your team can drive innovation. Such teams are able to solve problems quicker than cognitively similar individuals. There is an abundance of evidence that suggests you should try to build a team made of people from different backgrounds, whether that’s on the basis of where they grew up, their race, or their abilities to bring more diverse creative solutions.
Organisations who manage this are reported to be more effective, more successful, and ultimately more profitable.
However, solving the diversity issue might not be so easy. When chatting to Emmanuel, he brought up a very real issue: ‘you’re only limited by the number of people who apply to your role’, suggesting that more work needs to be done by universities and schools to encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to study tech-related subjects. In his experience with recruitment, Emmanuel found that many roles in tech are still very male-dominated so it can be difficult to get a diverse team.
This topic was discussed in more depth by Meri Williams in her ‘Beat your competition with this one weird trick: inclusion’ talk at Turing Fest 2019. Watch here.
The job market in the tech and startup world is undoubtedly moving at a fast pace, with the past two years seeing a rapid surge in demand for tech talent. Companies are competing to attract new talent with a combination of flexibility, clearly defined company values, and pay packages. LEVEL UP 2022 aims to bring together tech businesses and startups with tech professionals in a fun and informative one day event. Find out more here.