Tech talent soars as specialisms thrive in digital age

In this guest blog post Andrew Gardner, senior divisional director at Reed Technology, discusses what technology talent the UK will need in a digital age. 

Although we’re only a few months into 2018, the growth of the tech sector shows no signs of slowing down. The ways businesses are using technology is rapidly evolving, and as such, the need to recruit highly skilled teams to programme, develop, maintain and operate this tech is increasingly important.

What our latest research shows is that as this demand has grown, so have advertised salaries for some roles.  The latest Reed Technology Salary Guides show that potential earnings for some roles soared in comparison to the same time 12 months ago. If candidates have the right skills and employers are able to invest in salaries to attract the right employees, the tech sector can continue to boom.

If you look at the analysis of last year’s advertised salaries across the sector, they actually grew on average by 1.6%. However, this doesn’t tell the true story. Far from it. The real opportunities are revealed by major leaps for specialist roles such as Java Developers, which experienced a massive 9% increase.

These leaps are largely down to a combination of the demand for technical skills being high, with candidates possessing those skills becoming increasingly difficult to source. That said, the trend for these kind of roles isn’t a recent one. For instance, in the last two years Full Stack, .Net and PHP Developers have seen advertised salaries increase by more than 10%.

With more than £6.8bn invested in the sector in 2016 alone, the UK continues to make a name for itself as a tech heartland as we spearhead the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. As a result, this is reflected in advertised salaries and an increase of 12% in numbers of advertised jobs last year.

These figures indicate that the war for tech talent will not be letting up any time soon.

However, this doesn’t mean that candidates can just walk into highly-paid work. With bigger salaries comes greater demand for diversity of skills. Employers are not only looking for highly skilled analysts and developers, they also want people with good management and commercial skills.  Finding candidates with this mix of technical and commercial abilities will enable companies in the sector to continue to grow.

The sector needs people who are passionate, show a real desire to learn and both love and live technology. As Generation Z enters the workforce, we will see a new breed of candidates with a strong appetite for learning. Employers may need to adapt to ensure they attract the best and brightest new talent.

Naturally, having grown up in an era of smart technology, and being able to access anything on demand, Generation Z will be attracted to companies that are successfully using the most up-to-date digital technology. They will not be satisfied with being glued to a desk all day, and will expect an element of mobility and flexibility from their career.

This new generation are not only quick and flexible learners, who enjoy being in a fast-paced environment, but they live and breathe technology and will expect the same attributes in return from an employer. However, while businesses may need to adapt, the challenge for candidates will be to distinguish themselves from the competition.

For employers, to initially attract the best candidates it is important to be clear and manage expectations from the very beginning, offering long term, rewarding and successful careers with the organisation. They also need to highlight fantastic opportunities and the chance to upskill where necessary.

The technology industry is booming, and salaries, jobs and opportunities to expand skillsets are growing every year. The challenge now will be for candidates to take advantage of the opportunities available to them and businesses to not just be an employer, but a brand that is recognised, respected and attractive to those it wants to recruit.

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