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Pandemic prompts interest in career shifts into tech

Many people considering a career change have chosen to shift their focus to the technology industry since the beginning of the pandemic, according to CWJobs

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, a large number of people outside the technology sector who have chosen to move jobs are now considering a tech career, according to CWJobs.

The job board found that more than half of the non-tech workers they asked who are looking for a career shift are now thinking about, or in the process of, pursuing a tech role.

And just under 10% of non-tech people wanting a career change have already made the move into the tech sector.

Nimmi Patel, policy manager, skills, talent and diversity at TechUK, said: “Having played an integral role in supporting business and the public throughout the pandemic, when it was most needed, tech skills and roles are now more valued than ever.

“As the benefits of working in tech are widely recognised by those outside the sector, these new findings from CWJobs indicate we are likely to see more people turn their careers towards tech.

“Now is the time for the industry to seize on the enthusiasm from those interested in different careers and grasp the opportunity to tackle the UK’s skills gap and create a more diverse tech sector.”

The UK’s first lockdown at the start of the pandemic sparked an interest in developing digital skills for many.

CWJobs found that 22% of all workers have done some sort of online tech training during the pandemic to make them more employable in a digital world, and about 45% of IT workers said their company is looking for tech-based talent.

Recruitment during the pandemic has been a mixed bag, with some sectors struggling with job losses while others continue to increase their workforce.

The coronavirus has also affected how people are thinking about their careers, with CWJobs finding 12% of people said the pandemic has accelerated their plans to shift careers.

Work motivations have also changed, with a quarter of all workers saying that going forward, they would favour security and stability over salary.

According to 20% of IT workers, stability is one of the main advantages of a tech career, and 19% said companies prioritising tech as a result of the pandemic is another advantage of a tech career.

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Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs, said: “Our new research reveals that jobs in IT and tech are likely to offer a sense of security for those looking to enhance their employability and ensure they are adaptable and resilient to the new world of work.

“As businesses try to emerge from the pandemic in the best shape they can, it is clear that technology is key to achieving long-term success. The tech skills supporting innovations, services and companies across the UK remain the most important factor, feeding demand to an industry that already experiences an obvious skills gap.”

Many people also said one of the advantages of moving into the tech sector is its ever-shifting nature, which means there is always an opportunity for learning.

The tech industry often bemoans its skills gap, with companies saying they have more roles available than there is talent to fill them.

The pandemic has also shone a light on the types of tech skills needed in firms, with 33% naming IT support and 23% citing cyber security as the top-billed skills as a result of the coronavirus.

Almost 30% of tech workers said they believe their company needs new talent because of increased remote working, and 28% of tech workers said talent moving into the sector from outside would be welcome because it would help tackle the skills gap.

The soft skills of people from outside the technology sector, such as problem solving and teamwork, were also cited as a beneficial addition to the sector.

CWJobs’ Harvey advised firms to offer training and support to those who might want to upskill, in order to plug skills gaps in the industry.

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