The technology industry is one of the most dynamic in the UK and as a result, demand for IT professionals is sky rocketing. High-calibre tech specialists are increasingly sought after to support new start-ups and SMEs and provide vital in-house functions for larger firms.
Whilst the technology market is thriving, the industry is also faced with a distinct sector-specific skills gaps. Over 70% of technology employers are experiencing skills shortages this year, according to new industry research, Solving the UK Skills Shortage – Technology.
Robert Walters partnered with totaljobs and Jobsite, surveying over 550 technology professionals across the UK to gain insight into key technology skills in demand, where skills gaps are experienced across the sector and innovative recruitment strategies to combat the skills gap.
Only 11% of professionals believe that the UK technology industry is prepared to compete on a global scale, and over 55% of those surveyed agree that skills shortages in the technology industry will be exacerbated by Britain’s departure from the EU, which is expected to impact on Yorkshire (73%), London (62%) and the North of England (54%) most negatively.
More than a quarter of hiring managers (27%) admit that the high-calibre candidates they do manage to source often receive multiple job offers. In a market is saturated with employers, this is driving salary increases as businesses find they have to compete to secure the top tier professionals. More than a third (34%) are dealing with high salary expectations from candidates, which can be particularly crippling for start-up tech firms and SMEs whose recruitment budgets cannot stretch to the market rate.
More than half of employers find candidates lack the right technical skills necessary for technology positions.
Cyber security professionals remain the most in demand within the technology sector with over 56% of tech hiring managers stating it is a focus this year. However, newer, emerging skills are becoming paramount for organisations. 41% of employers highlight that business intelligence (BI) and data management professionals are most in demand in 2018 due to advances in technology and the benefits of transparent and instantaneous dashboard reporting.
The outlook for software development is positive, with 35% of employers considering software developers to be the most sought after professionals this year.
71% of technology professionals liaise with a recruitment agency when making a career transition. 54% of professionals would consider working in temporary or contract roles permanently, reflecting that contactors are a growing pool of skilled candidates.
Discrepancies are apparent between employers’ and candidates’ recruitment channels. An overwhelming majority of professionals (79%) searching for roles on online job boards, whereas only 28% of employers directly advertise technology jobs on this platform. 69% of candidates were searching for technology positions on LinkedIn in comparison to 38% of employers.
The top challenge candidates experience when seeking a new technology position is the length of the recruitment process following their application. As many technology positions require specific technical skills for roles, the application process can be more complex, with competency tests adding lengthy steps to the recruitment process. As almost half (49%) think the process is too lengthy, it could deter top tier professionals from applying for these positions in future.
There is a degree of dissatisfaction from the current candidate pool around current technology jobs. 47% find companies do not offer high enough salaries, 40% cannot find a suitable company to work for and 32% are unsatisfied with the work-life balance on offer for many roles.
Almost two-thirds of technology professionals think employers should be more open to transferrable skills and promote their opportunities to professionals in other industries.
In addition, 2 in 10 technology employers recognise that more needs to be done to encourage more diversity within the industry and would consider providing gender-specific education to women interested in pursuing a career in the field.
Find out more about key technology trends for 2018, how to attract top-tier technology specialists, and innovative strategies to bridge the industry skills gap. Download a copy of the research today.
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