UK technology job creation nears two-year peak

Pace of recruitment accelerates and optimism reaches highest level since 2014, according to KPMG

Technology recruitment in the UK is at its highest pace since 2019, according to a quarterly index of UK tech sector performance by consulting firm KPMG.

The UK tech sector continued to hire during Q1 2021, despite a jolt to activity at the start of the national lockdown in January 2021, the report noted. Growth resumed in February and March, resulting in a positive quarter for tech recruitment.

According to the research, the resiliency seen in the tech sector led to the fastest rise in employment since the second quarter of 2019.

Separate research from recruitment firm Robert Half and global labour market trends expert Burning Glass has found the technology industry has also seen a surge in remote working job postings since the start of the pandemic, with a 149% rise in the number of remote working technology jobs posted since March 2020.

Moreover, technology firms are more optimistic about near-term growth prospects than any time since the second quarter of 2014, the KPMG report says.

The index measuring growth expectations in the sector rose from 77.3 in the first quarter of 2021, from 74.7 in the fourth quarter, hitting the highest level since Q2 2014.

According to the KPMG report, the high level of optimism is often linked to the progress in the vaccination roll-out and the prospect of high economic growth once restrictions are eased, as well as expectations of greater investment in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and e-commerce.

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As well as recruitment trends and business confidence, the KPMG report also noted the sharpest increase in tech sector input prices for nearly four years in the first quarter of 2021. According to the research, this is driven by rising costs for staff, transportation and electronic components.

The report noted that prices charged by technology firms rose at the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2019, as companies sought to alleviate the squeeze on margins from higher costs.

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