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Tech sector hiring reaches highest level in five years

The number of job vacancies in the UK tech sector has reached the highest level since 2016, with massive expansion of remote working opportunities and growing demand for software developers

Hiring in the tech sector has reached its highest level in five years, with more than 100,000 job vacancies opening per week since February 2021, industry figures reveal.

Tech sector job vacancies now make up 12% of all open positions in the UK, with the number of open tech jobs reaching 132,000 per week in May, according to figures from search engine Adzuna and data provider Dealroom.

This means vacancies are now running at their highest level since 2016, and seem to have recovered from a pandemic-induced trough of 43,490 in June 2020.

Almost one in four tech jobs (22%) are now also categorised as remote, meaning they can be done from any location in the UK. This number has almost doubled since September 2020, when the number of general remote vacancies was 47,300.

According to the figures, while South East England is still leading when it comes to tech and IT vacancies (with 43,529 in total), the sharp increase in remote working options has facilitated an expansion of vacancies in other areas of the UK.

North West England, for example, now has the second-highest number of IT job vacancies overall by region, and Manchester has the highest number of IT vacancies outside of London at 6,260, or 18.4% of all available jobs in the city.

“These new figures show our booming tech sector is helping the UK build back better, bringing well-paid jobs and exciting opportunities to people up and down the country,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden.

“We’re investing heavily in digital infrastructure and skills to help create a golden age for UK tech and to help this vibrant industry soar to even further heights.”

During the pandemic, key areas such as retail and healthcare have also become increasingly digitised, creating greater demand for tech products and services, and therefore those that can develop them.

E-commerce spending, for example, is expected to account for more than 30% of the UK’s total retail sales in 2021 - up from 21.8% in 2019.

As a result of this increasing digitaisation, the most in-demand tech roles for companies across the UK are software developers, web designers and data analysts.

In April 2021 alone, there were 9,783 for software developers compared to 5,630 at the same time last year. However, software developer roles currently only make up 1.05% of all advertised UK jobs.

“UK hiring has strongly recovered, with advertised vacancies back to the levels we saw before the Covid-19 pandemic. The tech industry, in particular, is surging ahead, with over 100,000 tech vacancies available every week since February,” said Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna.

Confidence is spreading out across the UK’s regions, with Manchester and Birmingham in particular reporting strong hiring.”

Yoram Wijngaarde, founder and CEO at Dealroom, added that it was clear that startups in particular are a driver of job growth in the UK.

“Startup hiring remained resilient, and even accelerated in many places, through the height of the pandemic. Now with record levels of funding being raised in the UK and the rest of Europe in 2021, scaling startups have received a big confidence boost to invest in talent,” he said.

In May 2021, it was revealed that the UK’s technology sector has seen a tenfold increase in both venture capital investment and the number of billion-dollar “unicorn” companies over the past decade

Between 2010 and 2020 investment in the UK’s tech industry grew from £1.2bn to £11.3bn, with most of this increase taking place since 2015 when investment was £4.1bn, according to figures from the government’s Digital Economy Council and Dealroom.

For example, in 2017, 2019 and 2020, the UK attracted record levels of tech investment, and despite a 28% dip in venture capital funding during 2018 – which was largely attributed to the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit at the time – UK tech firms still managed to raise £2.49bn

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