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Jobs in UK tech sector grow 36% since lockdown peak

The number of advertised roles in digital have increased across the UK in the summer months, according to the government’s Digital Economy Council

Adverts for job roles in technology and digital in the UK have increased by 36% since June 2020, according to research by Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council.

The study, which looked into figures from Adzuna and the Office for National Statistics, found the UK’s tech sector has the highest number of vacancies in the UK, with 90,297 jobs advertised in the second week of August.

“These new figures demonstrate the strength and depth of our tech sector as an engine of job creation kickstarting our economy as we emerge from the pandemic,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden.

“We are a nation of innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors, and technology will underpin our infrastructure revolution of national renewal to unite and level up the UK. This government is backing people to succeed by investing heavily in cutting-edge research, digital skills and digital infrastructure to support our economic recovery.”

Recruitment in the tech sector during the pandemic was a mixed bag, with an initial dip in hiring followed by an increase in advertisements for certain roles.

Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council found digital jobs have increased by 40% in the UK over the last two years, accounting for 9% of the UK workforce and employing around 2.93 million people.

But these figures represent both people with non-tech specific skills working in the tech sector, which were made up of over one million people, and technical workers in roles across industries which made up around 1.9 million people.

Non-technical roles

According to Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council, there has been an increase in the number of tech-based firms advertising non-technical roles such as delivery drivers, citing firms who have made recent hires such as Amazon and AO.com.

Software developers are in high demand across the UK, and are in the top five most advertised roles in many UK cities alongside roles such as nurses and social care workers.

Firms are also on the lookout for people with cloud skills, with roles looking for people with these skills increasing 22% since 2018, and year-on-year from 2018 to 2019 demand for people with cyber skills increased 22%, while demand for people with skills in artificial intelligence (AI) grew 44%.

There was also a 31% year-on-year rise in the number of advertised roles demanding skills in data ethics between 2018 and 2019.

Many have speculated that a shift to home working caused by the pandemic may lead to more remote working in the future, and a shift away from firm’s hiring solely in the London bubble.

Outside of London, technology roles across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Newcastle, Leeds, Bristol, Reading and Cambridge make up more than a fifth of the UK’s tech workforce.

Demand for roles varies by region, but many roles have seen increased demand across the UK – for example demand for Python developers in London increased by 15% year-on-year between 2018 and 2019, while the demand for DevOps engineers in Bath increased 125% in the same time period.

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In Bristol, demand for field service engineers increased by 50% year-on-year from 2018 to 2019, with demand for DevOps engineers in Bristol increasing 48% in the same time period.

Bristol also saw the biggest increase in digital tech salaries in 2019.

Nigel Toon, CEO and co-founder of Graphcore, said: “Having formed and grown our business outside of London, in Bristol, we know the advantages of starting a tech business outside the capital. Bristol and the West of England continue to be exciting clusters for technology and advanced engineering and we continue to attract talent from across the world that wants to work here.” 

Advertised jobs as quality engineers in the Birmingham area increased by 229% between from 2018 to 2019, and demand for infrastructure engineers in Manchester during the same period rose by 38%.

But the median salary for people working in digital and tech roles is still higher in London than elsewhere in the UK – the median salary for a digital tech worker in the capital in 2019 was around £55,000, whereas across the UK as a whole the median salary for these roles was around £39,000.

The median salary for tech roles in 2019 was higher than that of non-digital professionals in the UK, whose median salary was around £27,840.

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