5 key trends in the software development market

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The demand for software developers is unquestionably soaring. As vacancies continue to rise, companies are finding it increasingly tricky to source the right candidates – making it an ideal time to secure yourself a competitive role in this sector. 

During the peak of the pandemic, the world came to rely heavily on the use and need of software. Where other industries faced significant impacts, with no choice but to alter traditional processes, the software development market rapidly emerged from the hit of Covid-19 with barely a scratch. Our latest market report, in collaboration with data specialist Vacancysoft, identifies the latest trends and growth analysis of the thriving UK software development market.

So, what 5 key trends are defining the market as we phase out of the pandemic?

Developer jobs are bouncing back across tech hubs

Whilst no industry was left completely unscathed by the pressures of Covid-19, the ways in which the world promptly adapted to a new and even more digital normal allowed this market to bounce-back quicker than most; there really has been no better time to land yourself a software development role. Digital transformation is still ongoing, with many businesses for example still in the process of migrating to the cloud, meaning this demand for developers is only expected to continue.

It’s also no surprise that London remains the location of choice for business operations. 70% of development vacancies are based in the capital, as well as 2/3 of businesses that have received VC-funding for headcount growth. The average salary for a software engineer in London has also increased to over £53,000 per year, and with remote working becoming more common, this can be a game-changer for developers living in the outside regions.  

Remote hiring is on the rise

Remote working is not a new phenomenon across the tech landscape. We were already seeing this trend pre-Covid – particularly with ‘digital-first’ businesses whose technical architecture is already set up for remote-working. However, many businesses that were once traditionally conservative in their approach to remote working were suddenly forced to embrace the change – and forced to see how well it can work. For many, this was a long time coming.

With the pandemic as a backdrop, many major corporates and tech firms, from Deutsche Bank to Google, are adjusting to a hybrid working model – opting for two or three days in the office and the remainder wherever the engineer works best – in conjunction with their office reopening.

From the latest analysis, over 6% of tech roles are ‘officially’ being positioned as permanently remote. However, we expect the number of remote or at least semi-remote development roles to be much higher, perhaps as high as 90%. Flexible working is no longer just seen as a ‘nice-to-have’, but as an expectation and key employee benefit for development candidates. We predict many more roles will be advertised as remote in the technology sector going forward, with London-based firms being able to secure talent from across the country by offering a more competitive salary.

Companies offering above the odds for the best talent

Developers remain among the most in-demand roles within the tech community. Engineers skilled in ‘rising star’ programming languages, or mounting candidates in demand, such as DevOps Engineers, are able to command the highest salaries - DevOps job volumes for example are up by 80%. Start-ups are looking to integrate a DevOps model into their business straight away, and consultancies and large technology multinationals are creating new DevOps roles to strengthen their current tech teams. For a DevOps Engineer role based in London for example, you are looking at an average salary of £85,000 - £90,000 a year, dependent on the size of the enterprise. With many businesses in the process of migrating to cloud-based services, the average salary for a Cloud Architect in London is now up to an average of £100,000 - £110,000.

Roles emerging in disruptive sectors

Evidence of ESG (Environmental Social Governance) activity is now seen as vital to understanding corporate purpose, strategy and management quality of companies. In particular, ESG is becoming a prime concern for the VC community, who are looking to invest in sustainable and socially responsible ventures. We're seeing funding, directed in focused areas of SaaS, including GreenTech, CleanTech, EdTech, HealthTech and smart-investing FinTechs. As a result, we expect a wave of development hiring within these ethically engaged sectors throughout the coming year.

The diversity of a company is also vital for a business’s sustainability – many organisations are addressing their diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies more than ever, whilst others are only just beginning to implement them. The industry with the largest share of D&I-related vacancies is technology, media and telecoms (TMT), representing 20.9% of all professional recruitment of these specialists. The majority of hiring takes place in London, with the capital recording 52% of hiring.

Emerging developer skills in demand

While established frameworks like JavaScript and Java generally dominate the vacancy landscape, we’re seeing more versatile languages and faster frameworks enter into the tech scene, particularly among high-growth technology companies.

Emerging languages such as Golang, RUST and React.JS are increasingly in demand but extremely talent short – enabling these candidates to dictate salaries in this market. RUST has grown in demand by 63% (2020 vs. 2021) as it continues to take over a substantial portion of the C/C++ share of the market – yet accounts for just a fraction (less than 1%) of the development talent pool. Vacancies listing these languages as a requirement could be a great opportunity for fitting candidates who are looking for a role that offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

Find your next role in software development

There is no doubt that it is a great time to be looking at potential roles in this sector. While development hiring faced minor impacts due to Covid-19, the industry fared more positively than other areas of tech, with hiring levels quick to return to exceed 2019 levels.

Whilst London remains the central hub for software engineering vacancies, momentum is building in regional cities in the North and Midlands such as Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle, all of which has experienced further job growth despite the pandemic.

Read more about the latest Software Development trends in our recent whitepaper.


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