itecopeople blog
Posted on December 22, 2021  in General
What is the outlook for the tech sector?

What is the outlook for the tech sector?


And how can employers overcome the growing skills shortage?

 

In our previous blog on the ending of the furlough scheme, we discussed the role IT departments are playing in the drive for recruitment. However, with the numbers of vacancies continuing to rise to an all-time high of 3.5 million and one of the most in-demand jobs identified as programmers and software development professionals (both reported by Sky News), what is the current situation for IT recruitment? What challenges are they facing? And what might the future look like?

 

The current outlook of IT recruitment – in the UK and globally

It’s arguably a well-known fact that IT is one of the sectors globally with the biggest skill shortage. A recent report by Skillsoft identified that 75% of employers in the IT sector are facing difficulties recruiting, a 146% increase since 2016. Furthermore, the job market for IT is becoming increasingly competitive. In data collected by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, Totaljobs and Jobsite, over 25% of employers have noted an increase in competition to recruit the best candidates, and over half feel that the candidates applying for IT positions lack the relevant skills.

However, things in the UK look a little more promising. In an analysis conducted by Indeed, UK tech vacancies are “easier to fill” than any other country in Europe. The data identify jobs that are “hard to fill”, that is, have not been filled within 60 days of the job being posted. In the UK, this number was a still significant 37%. But this contrasts with the even more concerning 39% from France, 47% from Germany, 51% from Belgium, and 57% from the Netherlands.

Bill Richards, the Managing Director of Indeed has discussed how the figure 37% may not be as alarming as it sounds, as this is the same figure reported from two years ago, despite the changing societal and economic outlook. The UK has also seen a 34% increase in click rate for IT jobs, and UK-based IT jobs continue to appeal to overseas workers, especially those from outside Europe.

This also comes as firms announce new jobs and expansions in the UK, including IT Consultancy firm BJSS, who have recently announced that 250 new jobs will be created (as discussed by City A.M.), and non-IT sectors in the UK increase their IT profile, such as the power industry, which recently announced a 6.4% rise in IT recruitment. But what hurdles will employers need to overcome before they can hire new applicants?

 

Current issues in IT recruitment

The IT sector globally has faced a skills shortage for a number of years. But what has caused this? Many highly-skilled workers are at retirement age, and a lack of investment and priority in IT training has resulted in a deficit of young talent ready to fill those roles. Furthermore, the rate of IT development has rapidly expanded in the last 12 months, let alone the last five years. So many businesses now rely on tech to run their businesses, meaning the expectations of IT employees has risen sharply, as has the need for more IT staff. With many employers now expecting IT staff to deliver effective hybrid working models, as well as more companies established in the sector of IT with, a lack of investment in IT services, it is perhaps unsurprising that the IT skills shortage globally has grown by so much.

So, going forward, what can employers do to attract new talent and develop their tech teams?

 

The future of IT

IT is developing at such a rate it’s difficult to identify what IT departments will look like this time next year. But IT departments must be valued going forward in the digital world. FE News identifies four ways in which employers could improve their IT skills crisis: Improving IT skills training, employing contractors, improving benefits for employees, and encouraging under-represented groups into the IT industry, all of which could inspire more young individuals to consider careers in IT and, just and importantly, keep them developing in the sector.

Furthermore, employers are now relying on IT staff to help recruit their non-IT roles, as speed and efficiency take prominence in the current skills shortage, something also discussed by Herald Scotland. If employers do not take the steps to actively reduce the skills gap in IT, they may find themselves with skills gaps in other departments, too.

Are you an employer trying to fill your IT position but finding a skills shortage? It would be great to hear from you. Get in touch and let us know your story.

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