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Pressure to find staff increases across the industry

There are not enough people out there to fill jobs in the tech world, but it might help if the focus on technical expertise was taken out of working in the industry

The tech industry needs to emphasise the opportunities for candidates coming from a non-technical background if they are to ease the current volume of vacancies.

The latest KPMG and REC-generated UK report on jobs survey indicated that salaries have been rising because of a significant shortage of candidates. As the world continues to recover from Covid, the demand for talent has been outstripping the number of people available in the market.

Mark Sheldon, CTO at fintech SaaS specialist Sidetrade, said salaries would attract people, but there were not enough opportunities for those looking to take their first steps on the career ladder in the tech world.

“In my view, one of the greatest challenges we face in the industry is not the shortage of skillsets readily available for open roles, but rather the outdated view that to get into a career in tech, you need to have all the technical and academic training under your belt already,” he said. “It is imperative, therefore, that we rethink conventional career routes into tech roles.

“Gone are the days when you needed a university degree or years of experience to get into the tech sector. In fact, some of the best talent we have hired here at Sidetrade in the past has come through non-university routes.”

Sidetrade recently relaunched its Code Academy apprenticeship-style yearly initiative, which is designed to attract people outside the normal recruitment routes.

“Via our free four-week programme in Birmingham, participants with minimal or zero prior training learn to code and gain valuable insight into the world of work at a tech firm,” said Sheldon. “A selection of participants are then offered full-time employment with us at the end.”

Those comments came on the back of the KPMG and REC research, which found that activity across the UK continued to rise sharply as the economy got back on its feet after the worst of the pandemic and both permanent and temporary staff salaries rose at record levels. But the number of potential candidates continued to fall.

The channel has declared attracting and retaining staff as one of its ongoing concerns and the issue was one of the central themes at Synaxon’s online event last month.

“Finding and holding on to good, skilled people is one of the biggest challenges managed service providers [MSPs] face right now and with the rapid growth in security and cloud business, the challenge is growing every day,” said Mike Barron, managing director of Synaxon UK.

Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the REC, said it was a good time for people to be looking for a new job, with rewards on offer for those interested in the tech industry.

“Employers are desperate to find good candidates for the many jobs on offer and this is reflected in starting salaries rising at the sharpest rate since the survey began in 1997,” she said. “This will likely motivate more people to be on the lookout for new opportunities. The same goes for those on temporary contracts, who are also seeing increased pay.

“Recruiters are working hard to fill places for employers eager to build back and recover, but their job is made more difficult by worker shortages across all sectors.”

Claire Warnes, partner and head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, said it was a time for employers to look internally as well as externally for talent.

“Although companies want to invest in their business now that restrictions are lifting, demand for new staff still outstrips supply due to low candidate availability,” she said. “We know that reskilling and upskilling is needed to help people move between sectors.”

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