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UK tech job opportunities at 10-year high

Rapid adoption of digital technology, along with the sector’s growing success, has driven tech hiring to heights not seen since the London Olympics

From January to May 2022, there were approximately 870,000 technology and digital job vacancies open across the UK, as an explosion in demand for tech products and services drove hiring in the sector to heights not seen in a decade, according to newly published data.

The data, collated by job search specialist Adzuna and analysed by Tech Nation on behalf of the UK’s Digital Economy Council (DEC), reveal that tech roles now make up 14% of job opportunities in the country, up from 11% just prior to the pandemic.

And even though the number of open roles has adjusted down slightly in the past month, hiring remains 42% higher than it was in 2021, as the job market sprints to catch up with the UK’s tech ecosystem, which is now the third-largest in the world, raising £12.4bn in venture capital funding this year to date, and cities including Bristol, Oxford and London ranking in the top European tech hubs for funding.

But the good news is not confined to the south of England, as data also revealed tech jobs are now increasingly spreading around the country. During the analysed period, Northwest England had the highest number of open jobs outside London and the Southeast, while the highest average tech salaries outside London and the Southeast are to be found in Scotland.

“The UK is enjoying a golden age in tech,” said digital secretary Nadine Dorries. “Not only are we one of the best places in the world to start digital businesses, but there are countless opportunities for people to enter the sector and flourish in their career.

“We’re working hard to open doors for people from all walks of life so that they can gain the skills and knowledge needed to make the most of our booming tech industry.”

The most in-demand tech roles in the UK are currently in software development – up 56% compared with 2019, with more than 56,000 developer roles, or 8% of the total, advertised so far this year. There has also been a surge in demand for business analysts, up nearly sevenfold on 2019, data analysts, up fivefold, and product managers, up more than sevenfold. Meanwhile, cyber security roles are increasing at a rapid pace, with demand for engineers in particular doubling since 2019, and security now in the top five most in-demand skills when hiring.

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In terms of other skills, the somewhat nebulous concept of data is currently the most in-demand, growing over 1,000% since 2019, with engineering dropping from first to third. While technical skills are important, there is also a growing demand for softer skills, with management, client expertise and communication climbing upwards.

The data does, however, show a disconnect between the roles available and the roles people are capable of filling. Currently, there are approximately eight senior roles open for every entry-level role advertised, even though there are far more STEM graduates in the UK than there are entry-level roles available – showing that on-the-job training and upskilling are essential elements of ensuring UK organisations have the skills they need to succeed.

Tech Nation data and research director, George Windsor, said: “The UK is continuing to be the leading light for tech in Europe and the scale of exciting job opportunities across the country is a reflection of that. It’s interesting to see how companies are responding to changing challenges, such as the rise in the demand for data skills and an increase in security skills across the board.

“It’s not just technical skills that can make a difference – communication and management experience are increasingly important, too. For anyone looking to enter this fast-paced and innovative industry, there is a role for you if you want it,” he said.

Adzuna chief customer officer Paul Lewis added: “UK tech has consistently been one of the fastest-growing industries for job opportunities over the past few years as companies compete for skilled staff to enable them to grow in a competitive environment.

“Though we are starting to see the impact of the wider slowdown begin to affect the wider tech landscape, the rapid rise in digital tools and services since 2020 means that roles for software developers remain the most in-demand by companies across the board,” he said. “Security specialists are also in hot demand as companies adapt to changing business challenges like increased cyber threats.”

The full report, Tech Nation people and skills 2022, is available to read here.

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