Tech jobs in review 2020
Throughout the pandemic employers have continued to recruit people for digital roles and techUK has seen a huge increase in people looking to acquire new digital skills, as employers have come to view digitisation as critical to their survival. As we live through another national lockdown, more than 1.6 million people are currently out of work in the UK, and the unemployment rate has hit a three-year high at 4.8%. Despite this worrying situation, the tech sector continues to be strong.
According to the Recruitment and Employment Federation, the number of active job postings in the UK topped one million in July, with a particular spike in job adverts for IT professionals. Similarly, Tech Nation’s skills and jobs report has shown the number of advertised tech job vacancies increased by 36% in the summer, between June and August 2020.
The tech sector saw a further rise in business activity in the final quarter of 2020, according to KPMG’s quarterly survey of UK technology companies, though the pace of expansion softened amid a wider slowdown across the UK economy. In Q4 of 2020, the rate of tech sector job creation was the steepest since Q2 2019 and contrasted with a further steep decline in employment across the UK as a whole,
techUK has launched The Tech Jobs Barometer in partnership with CWJobs, the UK’s leading tech job board to share key tech hiring insights and trends to help employers and recruiters navigate the tech jobs market.
Just under a quarter of a million jobs (222k) were posted on CWJobs site in 2020. The top 10 job roles advertised in 2020 on the site include:
- .NET Developer
- Java Developer
- Front End Developer
- DevOps Engineer
- Full Stack Developer
- Developer C#
- Business Analyst
- Software Developer
- Developer .Net C#
- PHP Developer
The job roles with the most applications on the platform was ‘Business Analyst’, followed by ‘Java Developer’ and ‘IT Support Engineer’. CWJobs found that the top 20 job roles with the most applications were consistent month on month. This shows that there is strong competition for certain skills. The top keyword searches of the year were: Business Analyst, Project Manager, C#, Java, Remote.
‘Remote’ was the fifth most searched for keyword in 2020, showing how strong the trend of remote working was and will continue to be in tech. The long-term trend of increased reliance on digital tech will reshape job opportunities across the economy – accelerating the shift from manufacturing-based jobs to tech sector and service-based jobs, in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, and the healthcare sector. Remote and flexible working in some form is here to stay, potentially enabling one to work for any firm in any location from one’s home, or to continue working at one’s current job while moving home to a new location – potentially increasing job satisfaction and quality of life, as well as job choice due to many no longer being geographically restricted.
Although applications and jobs posted across all disciplines naturally dropped throughout the year, the Software Development sub-discipline is consistently the top performing on CWJobs, demonstrating they are a trusted source in connecting employers and candidates in that discipline which requires niche specialisms. Infrastructure and support disciplines came in second and third, reflecting companies’ primary needs as they and those in their supply chains adapted during pandemic.
The most in-demand tech skills featured on the site include:
- Cyber security
- IT support
- Data analytics
- Artificial intelligence
- Web designing & UX
62% of UK business executives say that their tech talent pool does not have the capability they need to deliver their digital strategy. New technologies such as AI and Machine Learning are creating requirements for specialist skills that the labour market is struggling to supply, leading to intensifying competition for talent and upwards pressure on tech salaries.
South East England had the most jobs published on the CWJobs site in 2020 with 119,217 jobs being featured. North West England was the second highest in-demand region with 19,865 published jobs. LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report UK finds that over 44% of professionals working in the emerging roles in the UK are based in the city of London and surrounding areas. One such area is the London borough of Hillingdon, which has seen year-on-year growth of 41%. Smaller cities are having their say too. Though the focus is still London, cities like Belfast (+39%), Cardiff (+35%), and Nottingham (+35%) had the largest year-on-year growth in these emerging jobs.
techUK has found within our Nations and Regions work that building 21st century skills for an inclusive workforce is essential to tackle the immediate challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing the Local Digital Capital gap would transform the UK, boosting economic output by as much as £145 billion and creating 2.7 million new jobs in the process.
For what comes next
In 2020, CWJobs recorded some of the highest application-to-visit rates, showing that candidates were focused on their job search and had clear career goals in mind. As we enter an uncertain economic situation, we will see groups of newly unemployed who will need help retraining for new roles, and those motivated to refine their skill set for jobs of the future.
The Tech Jobs Barometer will show the changes in the demands in the digital technology employment market over time and also how sought-after skills have evolved due to the changing nature of this digital world. The Barometer will be updated quarterly, presenting real-time data and techUK will also showcase the work our members are doing to create a diverse pipeline of talent to meet this demand.
Nimmi Patel is the Policy Manager for Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.
She works on all things skills policy, focusing on upskilling and retrain. She is committed to embedding diversity in the UK tech pipeline from classroom to boardroom working with partners such as the Tech Talent Charter and the WISE Campaign. Nimmi also leads techUK’s immigration work, collaborating with techUK members and stakeholders to create an environment that attracts the best talent to the UK.
Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and is currently studying MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.